Running is a great sport. Many of us like to run alone and get out there for “me time.” However, even when taking precautions, it can be dangerous.
It’s always important to take steps to keep yourself as safe as possible. You don’t have to stay inside or run with groups all of the time, but you should take steps to keep yourself safe.
Here are 10 tips to keeping yourself as safe as possible:
- Tell someone the route you are planning: That way you have someone expecting about the time you should be gone and if there are any issues they know how to find you.
- Stay on visible and well-traveled roads: This doesn’t mean stay off trails, but it does mean don’t go through dark, dimly lit areas.
- Wear bright clothing: Make sure you can be seen in whatever circumstances you are running. If it’s dark, make sure to wear bright clothing and multiple lights.
- Run facing traffic: As runners, it’s crucial for us to make ourselves safe and visible to cars. The proper place for a runner along a road is facing traffic. You are able to see cars coming towards you, and they are able to see you. While yes, it is the driver’s responsibility to stay engaged and alert to the road, it is also the runner and athlete.
- Don’t run the same route every day: Running the same path, at the same time makes you very predictable. You never know who is watching from a neighbor to a creep that saw you once and can see you every day.
- Be alert: This means either use headphones that don’t go in your ear all of the way or don’t wear headphones. Did you know some headphones don’t go entirely into your ears? This allows you to hear your surroundings but listen to your music or podcast. Stay alert of everything around you.
- Bring your cell phone: If you don’t like carrying a phone, buy a pouch, clip or something to keep it on you at all times. Along with safety, you might find yourself lost and need directions. Siri has told me how to get back home a few times.
- If you feel uncomfortable, get out of the situation: Go inside a building, or get yourself away from the area. When I lived in Alabama, I was chased by someone on a run clearly trying to catch up to me. I quickly removed myself from the situation and got myself into a public area. If I hadn’t, I don’t know what would have happened.
- Be prepared: Take a self-defense class or know basic skills. This isn’t just for running, but something every person should know. You never know when you’ll find yourself in a situation that you need it. Another item to stay prepared is pepper spray or mace. Most local running stores carry it!
- Finally and most importantly, trust your instinct: If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Sure missing a run or stopping a run stinks, but finding yourself in a bad situation is far worse.
These are just a few tips to keep you safe. What are yours?
Hollie Sick is an avid runner who’s completed more than 40 half marathons. Read her blog, or follow her on Facebook.