Pounding the pavements on a long outdoor run is one of the most exhilarating ways to blow off steam at the end of a working day. But as the nights draw in earlier, running in the dark can present a new set of challenges in itself.

Heading outdoors on a winter evening can feel a little daunting, but the change in seasons shouldn't put you off running altogether. A bit of smart thinking can help to keep you street safe...

1. Wear reflective gear

First up, think about your running uniform. Dark winter evenings can make you vulnerable to cars, even if you're running on an adjacent path towards the traffic. Invest in some pieces that will help you to get noticed by oncoming vehicles in low-lit environments, which means plenty of reflective strips and hi-vis materials.

2. Ditch the loud music

A great playlist can help to supercharge your run, but if you're running in the dark, you'll need your ears to stay alert and aware of your surroundings - the last thing you want is to be caught off guard.

If you do use headphones, keep the volume low so you can hear the sounds of cars and other pedestrians.

3. Have a GPS tracker

Most smartphones have an option to share your GPS location with a friend, via maps or messaging platforms like WhatsApp.

4. Wear a headlamp

If parts of your run aren't well-lit, it's a good idea to take a head torch so you can always see the track ahead of you - you never know when the ground might become unsteady.

As well as safeguarding against potential trips and falls, it will also alert oncoming traffic to your presence.

5. Run with a buddy

As the old saying goes, there's safety in numbers. Running with a friend can boost your confidence during evening running, especially if you live in a quiet area.

If don't have any pals that run in your postcode, try to find a running group so you'll always have a big bunch of people to join at night.

6. Always tell someone you're going for a run

Staying safe starts with letting others know that you're leaving for a run in the first place. A simple text to a friend or family member before starting your route can help to act as an extra level of security when it's dark outside. Make sure to include details of your route and how many miles you'll be covering.