Running Safely: What Every New Runner Needs to Know from Running Safely: What Every New Runner Needs to Know

Running Safely: What Every New Runner Needs to Know

Shutterstock

Running Safely: What Every New Runner Needs to Know

Shutterstock

Fall is one the best time of the year for running – the weather is just right, the environment is more colorful, and there are fewer people on the streets because many prefer to stay home or go to the gym when the temperature drops. Fewer crowds, however, don’t make your run safer. Neither does daylight. Just because you can see far ahead of you doesn’t make you invincible. Wearing headphones, taking unfamiliar routes, or never changing them can be as dangerous as running in the dark with no reflective gear.

Know your route in advance

Shutterstock

The last thing you want to be doing during your run is wondering where to go. Knowing your route ahead of time means you’ll know when it gets dark, if it’s a safe area, and whether a lot of people pass by. Ideally, you won’t go too far from home. Sometimes, though, you want to hit the trails and explore new places for motivation. If this is the case, always follow the signs.

Lower the volume

Shutterstock

In a perfect world you won’t be wearing headphones at all. Realistically, however, this is difficult to ask of people. At least keep the volume low enough so you can hear what is happening around you. If the music is too loud you won’t be able to hear a potential attacker approaching you because you are too distracted.

Run against traffic

Shutterstock

Always make sure you are running facing traffic so that you can see the cars coming at you. That way if for some reason the car does not see you, you have time to react. Try to stay on the far side of the road. If it’s really busy, run on the edge in the grass. This is easier on your legs as well. Softer surfaces do more to aid in the absorption of the shock of each step.

Run with a partner

Shutterstock

Even if your partner is just your dog, take him or her with you. Regardless of where you live and how well you are familiar with the area, you never know who is around. Join a running club, for example. You’re guaranteed to have a partner anytime you run. Bonus: He or she will motivate you to hit the road, even if you don’t feel like it.

Have an emergency plan

Shutterstock

When a strange car approaches, runners usually start thinking about what they would do and where they would go if they started to feel threatened. You won’t panic if you have a plan and know what to do. Be prepared to think on your toes. There are several phone apps you can use as well that will instantly call an emergency contact in your phone if the plug to your earphones is removed from the jack.

Wear the right clothes

Shutterstock

This doesn’t just mean to not wear clothes made of cotton because they don’t dry fast and keep you cold. Make sure you have high-visibility, brightly colored clothing that can be seen from many feet away. Reflective gear is an absolute must, especially when you are running around sunset time. Put on a reflective vest at least if you don’t have anything else.

Change your routes

Shutterstock

Running the same route all the time is a bad idea not just because it kills your motivation. Change it up to prevent potential stalkers. Going different routes makes you harder to track. Also, running a different route forces you to be more aware of your surroundings. This increases your chances of escaping a possible attack. You can never be too careful.

Carry a noisemaker

Shutterstock

Mace and pepper sprays are not legal in every state, but nothing can stop you from carrying something that makes a lot of noise. It can be useful if you are attacked. The loud noise will likely scare the bad guys away because it will attract more people who will probably hear that someone needs help and come to the rescue.  

Bring your cellphone

Shutterstock

You need to be able to call for help immediately – whether it be from the police or a friend – if something happens. Looking for a payphone can take a long time, and chances are you won’t even find a working booth. Make sure your phone is always fully charged before heading out. The battery dies quicker in cold weather.

Leave word

Shutterstock

Just like in hiking, always make sure someone knows where you are going and has an idea of when you will return. That way, if you don’t come back in time, friends or family will know right away that something may have happened and will look for you.