TEN TIPS FOR SAFE RUNNING
1) FIND A RUNNING BUDDY
There is safety in numbers. If at all possible, run with a friend. A dog is also helpful, if you have one. And keeping your furry friend fit is a bonus!
2) KNOW YOUR ROUTE BEFORE YOU GO
Don’t just head out and make choices as you go. Plan your route before leaving. Take into account time, distance, traffic, and lighting.
3) TELL SOMEONE YOUR ROUTE AND EXPECTED RETURN TIME
Once you decide your route, make sure a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member knows where you are going and approximately when you expect to return. In an emergency situation, every minute counts, and the sooner someone is aware that you need help, the greater your odds of safety and survival.
4) MAKE YOURSELF VISIBLE
If you must run at night, stay in well-lit areas and wear reflective gear. Even though you take steps to be visible, never assume you are seen by others – runners, bikers, or drivers may be distracted. Be sure to make eye contact and prepare for evasive maneuvers if necessary.
5) CARRY IMPORTANT ITEMS
Phone: While you don’t want to be distracted by looking at your phone, it is a good idea to keep it with you. If you find yourself off course and lost, or need help in an emergency situation, you must have the ability to make a call – fast.
ID: Never leave home without an ID on you. Should something go wrong – a medical emergency or other unanticipated event – it will provide essential information.
Weapon: No, I am not saying you should be running with a gun. If that’s your choice, based on experience, lifestyle, and personal circumstances, go for it (as long as you are legal, trained, and prepared). But think in terms of everyday items that can be used as “weapons” – a cell phone is a good striking tool, as are certain key chains or sprays designed for self-defense purposes and can be comfortably carried (again, if trained and prepared).
6) BE UNPREDICTABLE
Don’t take the same route every time. Besides the boredom of not mixing it up, you may be giving advance notice to would-be attackers. But remember, you still want to decide ahead which route you will take and let someone know what it will be.
7) DON’T SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
I don’t want to rain on your workout selfie parade, but make sure you are not broadcasting your whereabouts during your run. Check privacy setting on apps and post those sweaty pics after the run – the “likes” can wait. Safety comes first.
8) ALWAYS STAY ALERT AND AWARE
If you simply can’t make it through without the music or podcast, just use one earphone, and keep the volume low. Aside from brief glances at phones or watches, keep your eyes on your surroundings.
9) LOOK LIKE A HARD TARGET
Run with confidence and communicate your awareness. Be ready to run, not jog, if necessary.
10) ALWAYS TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!!
This is an absolute, hard line, no-wiggle-room rule for all situations. We are too quick to discount our intuition about people, places, or situations when they warn us of danger. Intuition is knowing that we know something, but not knowing how or why we know it. It is a built in self-protection system. On some level, our mind senses a threat. It doesn’t happen by accident. Even if we are wrong, it does less harm following the advice of that warning voice, than dismissing it and suffering the potential consequences.
While this may look like a daunting list, don’t be discouraged. Once you implement the practices, you will realize they are easy, empowering, and even freeing. Taking the fear and anxiety out of running gives you that much more energy to devote your fitness! Happy, and safe, trails!