As we embark on our personal running journeys of 2019, we will all set goals and train for them. Here are a few safety tips or "rules" if you will, that will help keep you safe out there.
Running with Traffic
Runners should always run the opposite direction of the flow of traffic. Doing this allows you to see what is coming and make sure the cars see you. The only exception to this rule is on a blind curve; in this case you want to stay on the side of the road that is the most visible. Avoid running with your back to traffic at all costs! If you cannot run against traffic, run on the sidewalk (if possible) to maximize space between you and moving vehicles.
Running in the Dark
Going hand in hand with running with traffic, running with no visibility creates lots of risks when around cars. When running at night, or low light conditions, always bring reflective/illumination gear. Having a reflective vest, bright colored clothing, and even a headlamp/lights increase your visibility to make sure cars can see you. Some shoes even have more reflective versions for runners who run at night! It is shocking how many runners will go out and wear all black clothing when it is dark- this is a big “Oh-No-No” that is very dangerous!
Running with Music
Now, running with music is not inherently dangerous. However, many runners do not take safety into consideration when they listen to their music. When you run, make sure you are able to hear your surroundings - especially when running alone! Many runners will put headphones in both ears and crank up the sound to drown out the world around them. When this happens, someone could come up from behind and attack or injure you, whether it is a dog, a car, or even another person! So, when you are listening to music, make sure you still have the ability to hear what is around you. Lots of workout headphones allow the ambient noise to pass through to keep you safe. An even better option is to only put one headphone in, allowing one ear to hear clearly.
Tell Someone Your Route
It's always a good idea to let someone know what route you are planning to run and when you expect to be back. A quick note or text letting someone know your plans is a good idea. Things can happen out there such as muscle cramping or sudden feeling of illness that can slow you down or strand you during a run. It would be a very welcome sight to see someone show up with a ride home should you need it.
Running Emergency Plan
In the digital age we run in, many runners carry a smartphone with them, providing a way to contact someone in an emergency. However, technology can fail, so it is a good idea to have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. Here are some suggestions-
Know some local spots (parks, convenience stores, etc.) where you can get water/food, have shelter, or use the bathroom when necessary.
Carry some emergency money, just in case you need to buy a snack/drink or call a cab when you are traveling.
Memorize at least two phone numbers of someone you can call. With smartphones, most people do not have to remember a phone number anymore. Keep a couple of emergency numbers with you in case you need a ride.
Keep any important medical information with you. In case of a medical emergency, make sure you have any important details with you- allergies, emergency contacts, etc. Find out what your local emergency personnel do when they respond to a call. For example, some personnel will cut the laces of your shoes if they need to remove them, which would mean any information stored there will be lost. Many first responders know to look for medical bracelets/dog tags- these are great products to research.
Hopefully some of these tips will keep you safe in the New Year. Remember- safety comes first!