10 Tips for Running Safety
Most runners are drawn to the simplicity of throwing on a pair of shoes, darting out the door, and leaving their troubles behind. Whether that’s before the sun rises, or long after it’s gone down, running embodies a certain free spirit. At it’s core, it doesn’t require much planning.
For the past several months, I’ve become more intentional before darting out the door. We’re expecting our first child any day, and it’s not surprising my paternal safety instincts are kicking in. These days, I always run with my phone, wear more reflective gear, and sometimes actually wait at cross walks for the light to change.
Although a comparatively safe sport, we runners need to protect ourselves from three major forces;
- Acts of God (storms, heat waves, diarrhea).
- Accidents. (pulled muscles, stupid drivers).
- Bad People (rare, but we do live in a city).
It seems fitting on April fools day to be talking about running safety. If you don’t want to be a fool when you run, here’s a list of 10 ways to stay safe.
1. Wear a RoadID
RoadID is a bracelet you wear with critical contact information embedded. If you’re found unconscious, you’ll get the help you need. They cost about $30 and worth every penny.
2. Carry a Cell Phone
The easiest thing you can start doing (if you don’t already) is to run with your cell. True, we’re in a highly populated area, but it’s so easy, why not? This little pack or others work as a perfect multipurpose carrying pouch.
3. Run with a Friend
An obvious one. It’s not only fun, but much safer to run with a friend of better yet, run with a group.
4. Run on Trails vs Roads
Whenever possible, run on the vast trail and parkway system we have here in MSP. When that’s not possible and you have to run in the road…
5. Run against Traffic
When possible, run on the opposite side of the road so you can see cars coming at you. It’s much easier to anticipate what they’re going to do.
6. Don’t Run in the Dark
If your schedule allows, run when the sun is at least mostly out. As a morning runner this is impossible for me in winter. In the summer my favorite time to get out is right as the sun is coming up. If that’s not possible…
7. Wear Reflective Running Gear
Most running clothes have some reflective tape built in. You can also get a variety of detachable lights and other blinky stuff that will alert cars you are near.
8. Tell someone where you’re going
If you’ve seen 127 hours, you know why this is important. If you live alone or your partner/roommate is away, just shoot off a text to someone telling them your route and when you expect to be back.
9. Find an Oasis
Have at least one business or other landmark you can retreat to should trouble arise. Anything from a horribly pulled muscle, bathroom stop or worse. Dunn Brothers is great for this.
10. Know your Surroundings
Don’t run in un-familiar territory alone. Stay away from dark trails, or places where there’s lots of nooks for people to hide.
What things, not included on this list, do you do to stay safe while you run?
For more runner’s saftey tips, check out Olympian Carrie Tollefson’s episode about Safety on the Road.