Tips to Being Safe While Running
Unfortunately, tragedy strikes when we least expect it, and when it occurs it is often a surprise. While we can’t plan for every unfortunate event in life, we can be safe about the things that we enjoy, helping to prevent tragedies from happening. Recently I heard about a jogger that was killed while running in the early hours of the morning. While it is sad to have happened, it could have been avoided if the was better able to see the runner. And the runner, while focused on their run, probably never heard the car coming that hit them. This is a scene that happens more often than you might think. While driving to work every morning I often see people out for a run, either before work, or just to get in a run before it gets warm. I see many mistakes that make me want to shout at them from my car (I don’t), and most of them can be avoided.
Safety Concerns that You Need to Know
People want to get out there and get their exercise, but they need to think about what they are doing before they hit the road. If you are thinking ahead when you are running, you can avoid several mistakes and keep safe while out for your run. One big concern for runners at night or the early morning hours of the day is that they don’t want to get hit by a car. This is easy to avoid if you stick to running on the sidewalk, and you include some basic equipment into your wardrobe. A car has lights, and will have them turned on, but they only go so far in front of the car. If the car is traveling faster than forty miles per hour, it won’t have time to see a runner if they are wearing all black, until it is too late. Early morning hours or late night hours could also mean tired drivers, which can make it dangerous for runners to be out, especially on single lane roads.
Other concerns that runners need to be aware of are predators. There are two kinds of predators to be aware of, and both are animals. The difference is that the true animals act out of hunger, or fear, while the human predators are more aggressive. Knowing the area, you plan to run in is the key to being safe. If you know what is in the area, and how likely a crime or an attack is possible in that area, the safer your run can be.
Know where your water source is. If you can carry a bottle of water with you when running, you should do so. The early morning hours and the late-night hours could mean that shops are closed leaving you thirsty and dehydrated. If you plan on running during hours where you can’t get to a water source, at least run close enough to home to hydrate yourself when you get back, or keep a bottle in your car to get back to. Whenever possible keep a small bottle of water on you.
Things to Avoid While Running
There are three major things to avoid while running, and avoiding them will keep you safe from many forms of danger.
#1 When running in the dark, make sure that people can see you.
- Don’t run in the street, even if it happens to be in a bicycle zone. You are a pedestrian which means you are on your feet and only weigh a certain amount. While a car weighs a ton or more and can flatten you like a pancake. (True a pedestrian has the right of way, but argue that from your hospital bed or coffin.)
- Wear bright colors or reflective patches when running in the dark. When a car’s lights hit down the street they catch on these patches. The bright colors stand out more, and make you easier to see.
#2 Don’t run alone when you are in the dark.
- Run in a group if you are going to be running during the dark hours. This helps as it could mean there is a witness if something bad happens to one of you. It also deters attackers or predators from approaching if there is more than one of you running
- Even if the area seems safe, or you know it quite well, be sure that people know you are running at that time. Let your loved ones or family be aware of your routine in case something happens they will know where to find you.
#3 Use your senses when you are running in the dark.
- Running is a great form of exercise and for many people they need a little music to motivate them. Only put a headphone in one ear though so your other ear can be aware of sounds around you. This could alert you to cars approaching, footsteps or running from behind you, or odd sounds from an animal.
- If you have a cold and are having trouble breathing through your nose it could stop your sense of smell. Your sense of smell will alert you to gas leaks, skunks, or scents that are out of the ordinary for the area. These scents could be dangerous if you are not careful.
- Make sure you can see where you are running. A mountain path with steep slopes is no place to run at night.
Make Your Run Fun and Safe
By keeping safety in mind when you are running you will always have a safe run. However, being safe doesn’t mean you must be boring or not have fun on the run either. Talk with your friends if you can while running as the noise will alert predators that you are coming. So long as everyone is paying attention to the path you are running on there will be no problems for the entire group.
Early morning runs are a must for many people so they can get themselves motivated for the day, and start fresh on their path to success. By following these guidelines, you will not only be safe, but find yourself enjoying your run a little more, knowing that you have a few things less to worry about.