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Essential Personal Safety Tips for Runners

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 2 6

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.


How do you keep yourself safe when you're running? Log-in or join to comment.



Feb 19, 2012 8:51pm
Great advice to anyone who plans to take up running, especially on public roads and streets. A lot of this is also good advice for long distance walkers, and bicyclists ... for example turning down your ipod. Helpful article!
Feb 19, 2012 9:06pm
Thanks Deborah! I'm glad you found it useful.
Feb 28, 2012 8:59am
Agree with you on ipod and running against the traffic. It really annoys me that cyclists ride with the traffic. That is why so many are hit and killed because they cannot see how close someone is to them so they can avoid being hit.
Also know a bit of self defense would help as well. good advice you have given in this article.
Feb 28, 2012 4:11pm
Thanks Eileen!

Self-defense training is something that I recommend for every woman! Learning martial arts is a life-changing, empowering experience.

The odd thing about bikes and the law here in the US is that, legally, bikes are a vehicle. By law, they're supposed to ride with traffic on the road. I'm not a cyclist - I really don't have an opinion on it but when I do ride my bike I'm always afraid of traffic. Right or wrong, I wind up pedaling on the sidewalk and pull off to grass when I see pedestrians.
Feb 28, 2012 1:47pm
I am not a runner but this is excellent advice for runners, joggers and walkers. I have started to let a neighbor know that I am heading out for a walk if I don't have company with me and I always take my cell phone. Better safe than sorry. Great article.
Feb 28, 2012 4:11pm
Thank you E, I'm really glad that this was able to help you!
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