There are so many things to remember while running, but your safety needs to be at the top of that list! I have had my fair share of incidents while running that have scared me. My hope is that by sharing these tips you will be able to take the right safety precautions and just enjoy your run!
1. Tell someone you know when and where you plan on running. I always tell my husband when I am going running and what my route is. I recently bought a Garmin Forerunner 220 that has a feature called “Live Track” which tracks me as I run. I have my watch set up to Live Track me to my husband’s phone so he knows where I am throughout my run. This alone makes me feel much better about running alone.
2. Run during sunlight. I have made the mistake of running in the evening during the summer due to temperature. Big mistake. I was chased by a group of men while running through a nearby park. It was a very scary experience, but luckily I out-ran them. That was about two years ago, and that was definitely the last time I ran at night! If you can, try to run during the morning or during the day. I usually run around 5 am, so it is not full daylight when I run, but normally the sun comes up as I run. During the winter I actually run indoors on my treadmill during the week due to the cold and darkness. I look forward to the weekends when I can sleep in and run outdoors!
3. Keep earphones out of your ears! This is completely a personal choice, but I have found that running without earphones in makes me more alert. I am able to hear if there are bikers or vehicles behind me. Also, I don’t say this to scare anyone, but you have a much better chance of hearing if someone is trying to sneak up behind you. I am a little overzealous with my safety I know. If you’re wondering, I do listen to music. I have my iPhone with me (another safety tip) and am listening to Pandora through the stereo.
4. Run with a phone. There are many times that I do not want to take my phone with me on a run. However, I always do. You never know when something will happen and you will need to get ahold of someone. One time I stupidly took off for a run during a blizzard. Thank goodness I had my phone to call for a ride to come get me before hypothermia set in! I also like that my iPhone has a tracking system on it- another added safety perk.
5. Run with a partner. I am not always able to run with a friend due to timing and distance, but I always feel much better when I do. I do however run with my dog, Charlie. Not only does he provide me some type of entertainment, he serves as my body guard. Plus he loves to run!
6. Wear reflective gear and flashing lights! If you choose to run early in the morning, or in the evening you should heavily consider getting a reflective vest. Cars will be able to see you much better with reflective gear. I also recommend fastening a flashing light to your gear. It may sound dorky (and kind of is) but I have a running fanny pack that I got at a race and actually use! It is great for storing my house keys and phone. I can also attached a light to the belt.
7. Try to run on the sidewalk. If possible try to run on a trail or sidewalk. I don’t know how many times I have almost been hit by a car while running (even on sidewalks!). People are not always paying attention to the road for whatever reasons…texting, talking, checking emails… (hard to believe, I know) so it is your job to pay attention! If running on a sidewalk or trail is not possible, run on the opposite side of the road. You will be able to see oncoming traffic this way. With that being said, always be respectful of traffic and do your best to avoid it.
(Running along my town’s trail system early in the morning)
8. Run in populated areas. When I plan my runs I always run through neighborhoods or on our local levee system that is constantly being used. I feel much safer when there are a lot of people out and about.
9. Stay hydrated. Making sure you are hydrated is important! If you become dehydrated you put yourself at risk for cramping up or worse. I plan my longer runs around local water fountains, or I run several loops that allow me to stop home and get a drink.
10. Watch the weather. It may sound silly, but it is important to pay attention to the weather before you head out for a run. I mentioned above that I got stuck running in a blizzard before. That was very stupid and dangerous. Now I check the forecast before I leave for a run to make sure nothing serious is coming my way.
11. Change up your route. Changing up your route can prevent boredom, while also keeping you safe. Again, not to sound creepy, but if someone has familiarized themselves with your route that could be a potential danger. By switching up your routes it will be difficult, if not impossible for someone to find you.
I don’t mean to scare or frighten anyone with these safety tips, but I do believe they are very important to follow! With that being said, there have been very few times that I have been concerned during a run. Now get out there and go for a run 🙂