You can never be too safe while running. While having a good run might feel like the most important goal, staying safe is even more important. It’s getting darker earlier which means there is less time to run in daylight. Here are a few tips to keep you running safely during the winter months:
Run against traffic
It’s important to run against traffic so you can see drivers and drivers can see you. Remember, if you can’t see a driver they probably cannot see you either. Be extra cautious when running around blind corners or on roads with small shoulders.
Always run with some sort of identification. Whether that means you’re running with a cell phone, road ID, or your driver’s license, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. There are many products that aren’t big or bulky to hold identification.
Don’t run the same route at the same time
We are guilty of having our favorite running routes. Changing up the route is good for your training, but it’s also good for your personal safety as well. You never know who is watching or who notices where you are running.
Wear reflective clothing or gear
If you are running at dawn or dusk, you need to wear reflective gear. Without reflective gear, you’re only visible about 100 feet away. That isn’t enough time for a driver to see you. Even if you’re in a quiet neighborhood, if it’s dark you need to be wearing reflective gear.
There are many different options that aren’t vests. Many jackets, shoes, tights, and hats have a reflective piece built in. Many companies have also created clip on lights or headlamps. The brighter you are, the better!
Be aware of your surroundings
If you are running with headphones, make sure the music is low enough that you are completely aware of your surroundings. It’s best to run without headphones but make sure you are easily able to see and hear what’s going on around you. Not just with running but everything else, it’s important always to be aware of your surroundings.
Stop running when it hurts
Heroes are not made during training runs. If something hurts, stop. It’s better to stop during a training run versus being injured during a race. Most overuse injuries develop slowly from a small ache or pain that develops during a training run.
For instance, stress fractures are caused by repetitive motion. Stress fractures usually start from a small ache that a runner might ignore (I’ve been guilty of it). As you continue to run on it, the small pain begins to hurt more until the bone breaks.
There is no point in running when something hurts. Running while injured does not make you a hero.