Personal safety is a topic that every runner should keep in mind. While running is a fantastic workout there are inherent dangers to be aware of and prepare for before hitting the road.
Make yourself visible. Mind the rules of the road.
Wearing a reflective safety vest or bright clothing and running in the opposite direction of traffic will help drivers see you. Stay on the sidewalk or as close to the edge of the road as possible and never run with your back to oncoming traffic.
Inexpensive reflective vests, small strobe lights, reflective tape are all great options and for under $20 can help save your life. This link for running safety accessories shows a list of items available from Amazon that can help you stay safe.
Avoid dark, desolate areas.
If you’re running alone, try to plan your course around well-populated, well-lit areas. Even if you live in a relatively safe neighborhood or suburb, never take for granted that your area is crime-free.
Change up your routine.
Running the same route on a predictable schedule is dangerous. You never know who is watching or waiting. Plan out several running routes in your area and rotate between them.
Turn down the iPod.
There are a number of very good reasons to NOT listen to your iPod while running alone. If you’re listening to music, you can’t hear what or who is coming up behind you. Dogs, stalkers, faster runners, vehicles and any variety of things can come out of nowhere during a run.
Always carry your cell phone and identification.
In case there is an emergency on the road or you become incapacitated, you will need both your cell phone and your identification. Either wear comfortable running pants or running shorts with zipper pockets or wear a runner’s utility belt.
Run with a partner or tell someone where you’re going.
While running is a solo sport, going the track solo is not ideal in terms of personal safety. If you don’t have a training partner handy, let someone know where and when you plan on running.
If you’re strapping on the sneakers at the last minute, leave a note on your counter or coffee table that says where you’re going. If the worst happens and you disappear during the run, the note would at least provide a clue to whoever was trying to help you as to where you were going.
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