Hello, there. I hope your Thursday has been amazing so far!
Today’s post is something I hope can serve as a reminder when you are running (or walking) alone. Most of us understand the general safety rules, like “trust your instincts” and “be aware of your surroundings,” however, it’s easy to become a bit lax with our precautions because we feel the odds of incurring danger are low. Unfortunately, the reality is that we should never let our guards down, especially women. Many runners have at least one or two scary moments to share, myself included. So, I hope these five tips will be useful to you or a loved one.
5 safety tips for runners
1. Try to tell at least one person that you are going for a run, and if possible, where you will be running.
I usually let Matt know where I’m headed and how long I think I will be so he knows around what time to expect me back. Our neighborhood backs up to several winding trails which eventually loop right back to my house. This allows me to easily run long distances yet stay within a five-mile radius of our house. Having quick access to so many walking/running paths was one of the reasons we bought our house!
My Garmin forerunner has a feature called LiveTrack which allows you to connect and pair your watch with mobile devices. Friends and family can easily track my location and workouts in real-time. Most phones are enabled with GPS tracking as well.
2. Avoid running alone in the dark unless it’s a place that is well lit and you feel comfortable.
I know this can be tricky for people who run early in the morning or at the end of the day. When I was training for my last half marathon, I had no choice but to run at 5:00 a.m. some days just so I could get my long run in before Matt left for work. This wasn’t the best idea since our neighborhood streets are extremely dark and in some spots I was running in total darkness.
If you need to run in the dark, be as cautious as possible and follow these guidelines:
- Always wear a reflective vest.
- Do not run on trails or roads with shallow shoulders.
- Stick to streets you are familiar with.
3. Turn music off or lower the volume in a secluded or dark place.
Your hearing is invaluable and could save your life during a run. Wearing headphones makes you vulnerable not only to attack, but to collision with cars and cyclists. I know how essential music can be while running (Motivator #1!) so you don’t need to forgo music altogether, but be sure to turn the volume off in heavy traffic areas and secluded places. I would also refrain from listening to music while running in the dark.
4. Always look directly at passer-bys and make a mental note of his/her appearance.
I know it may feel slightly rude to look squarely at a stranger, but try adding a wave or saying “hello” to make it less awkward. Not only does this let the other person know you have noticed them, but it keeps you alert, too. I try to make a short mental note of a person when I run by them, such as “black hair, green shirt, etc.” After you pass someone coming in the opposite direction, be sure to turn around to check that they are still moving in the other direction.
5. Keep your phone with you.
It wasn’t until I became a parent that I started taking my phone with me on my runs. I loved feeling unplugged from the world and I kept most of my music on my iPod. Now I have my phone on me most of the time in case someone needs to reach me about the girls, but it’s also helpful in case I am hurt and/or I need to call for help.
I created this safety tip sheet below for easy reference. Safety should always be our number one priority.
Safety products for runners:
What tips would you add?