On the most basic of levels, running is a fairly simple sport, and compared to other athletic pursuits, like for example, football, it's considered to be relatively safe.
That is until you consider some of the often overlooked factors, like visibility, traffic and, unfortunately, even attackers.
Before you lace up and head out for your next run, don’t forget these five important safety tips that every runner should absolutely know.
1. Get the right gear.
Especially if you’re going to be running at night or when it’s still dark during the early morning, make sure to gear up with apparel that can increase your visibility, like shoe lights from Night Runner and outerwear with built in reflective strips. Headlamps can be helpful, too.
For extra safety when running in an area you’re unfamiliar with, you might also consider carrying something like a personal safety horn or pepper spray.
2. Always notify a friend or family member.
Simply let them know that you’re heading out for a run, where you’ll be running and when you expect to be back. That way, if something goes wrong they’ll know where to look for you if you’re not back on time.
Whenever you can, run with a buddy or a group. As the old saying goes, there’s safety in numbers
It’s also a smart idea to download an app like Yank, which will instantly call an emergency contact in your phone if the plug to your earphones is removed from the jack.
3. Stay alert and run against traffic.
Running against traffic ensures that you will be able to see oncoming cars and puts you on the opposite side of the road as traffic moving in the same direction as you. Running can be relaxing, but don’t check-out entirely. Remain aware of your surroundings, only run with one earphone if you absolutely need music, and make sure to also pay attention to the ground in case of uneven terrain.
4. Carry an ID.
In case of an emergency, having an ID on you will allow first responders to easily identify you. Instead of carrying your actual license, consider investing in a wristband or pendant ID.
5. Don’t always run the same route.
Habitually running the same course could make you a potential target for attackers. Switch up your routine on a regular basis to ensure your total safety, just in case.