Safety. It's an unfortunate topic that has become all too familiar with runners across our nation. You're out for a run, and you get that uneasy feeling that something is not quite right. Perhaps an individual abruptly changes their route to match your direction, or maybe you've spotted a vehicle that has passed one too many times.
Safety while running is a serious topic that isn’t discussed enough. General awareness of your surroundings is a good starting point, but having a specific plan in place could help you if you find yourself in an unsafe situation.
1. Tell Someone You're Going For A Run
This may seem like an obvious point, but with our busy schedules, it can be easy to head out the door without sending a quick text to a friend or family member. At least one person that you are close with should have an idea of when you left for your run, the location you plan to be running, and an approximate time you'll be returning.
Fortunately, with the use of technology, there are helpful options that can act as your assistant to get the word out to loved ones that you've headed out for training. Apps like Run Buddy provide a quick and easy solution to notify family or close friends of your location, when you began your run, and when you've returned home from your workout. Run Buddy acts as a "personal alarm system for the endurance community."
2. Bring Your Cell Phone With You
In this day in age, we’ve become nearly tethered to our cell phones. And though there is a push for us to distance ourselves from our devices while we‘re running, it’s best to keep them on hand, especially if you’re running alone.
Fortunately, with the wide variety of running belts or accessories like the Koala Clip, you should be able to find something that’s comfortable and allows easy access to your cell phone if needed.
If you’re running on trails, we suggest downloading the AllTrails app if you get turned around.
3. Run Routes That You Are Generally Familiar With
Not that you always have to stick to the same loop, but when it comes to safety, the best practice is to run in a location you are familiar with.
If you’re looking to change things up, do a little planning in advance. Most cellphone GPS picks up sidewalks and greenways if you turn on satellite mode. Another great option is to download MapMyRun or RunGo to plan your route.
Recently apps like Strava have integrated a new feature to hide your location and regular routes so no one else is able to determine the locations you train.
4. Wear Reflective Gear And Bright Colors
Let's face it; we live in a driving world of distractibility. According to the CDC, a pedestrian gets hit and killed by a passing vehicle at a rate of 1 every 88 minutes.
Reflective gear and bright colors are NOT just for night running. Dawn and dusk can be some of the most dangerous times for runners, with drivers battling the glare from the sun and morning or evening fatigue. If you aren’t seen, you may, unfortunately, become a statistic.
5. Carry Items To Help Ward Off Aggressive Individuals
Unfortunately, this makes the list. No, you do not need to rush off to get a carrying permit. There are alternative options available that are easier to carry while running, like the Go Guarded Ring or pepper spray.
Also, we advise you wear something that has your emergency contact information and health info easily accessible, like the Road ID.
Additional safety points to consider:
Run on the sidewalk or shoulder of the road against traffic, so you are aware of vehicles coming in your direction
Trust your gut instinct
Carry a noisemaker or emergency whistle
Run in well-lit and well-traveled locations
Your training is for you, but your loved ones count on you to return home.