Do you really need running safety tips..?
What, with the wind in your hair, enjoying a 6 mile stint in the woods and I want to talk about running safety as soon as you get through the door? Nah, I hear you say, I’m enjoying myself too much!
Well… I hate to spoil the mood but as with many things, running has certain pitfalls when it comes to safety. This page is intended as a quick heads-up on running safety tips and what to look out for - a list you can scan through to see if you are doing all you can to stay safe.
- Stay positive and just take some of these ideas on board – that’s all we ask :)
Reflective Running Gear
Running off road, on road, daytime or night… make yourself visible! Choose vibrant colours such as luminous green, orange or yellow and select gear with reflective properties on jackets, running vests etc.. something that lights up in the night and a bright colour for the day. As a motorist I often catch a glimpse of something shinny or colourful, giving me plenty chance to see a runner or cyclist.
Face Oncoming Cars
If running on country roads without a pavement, it is usually safer to run and face the oncoming cars – this allows you to keep an eye on approaching cars. This way you can dive out of the way if a driver fails to see you and doesn’t pull out for you. The exception to this rule would be on narrow, bendy roads in which case you should run with the traffic coming from behind you.
Avoid the open road when it is dark and consider safer options on where to run (why run on roads?)
Give Way To Traffic
Watch out for road junctions… I have been caught out once or twice running along busy roads. Never assume a driver has seen you and try to make eye contact with the driver if possible. Often they wave you on but otherwise stop running and let them through. Running lights are always a good option for safety.
Run With A Buddy
As running safety tips go, this one is not always doable, but if you can find someone to run with that’s great! You can look out for each other and you are statistically less likely to be attacked if you are with another runner. Finding a running partner who runs at a similar pace might be challenging, maybe joining a local running club could help?
Running With Dogs
Your dog can become the ideal running partner! Dogs will often run with you by your side - they seem to know what to do as soon as you start running and they are good little body guards as well!. I run with my two Jack Russells and you should see them kick off if someone is being unfriendly – they’re not called terriers for nothing! Running with dogs is a great deterrent for any would-be attackers.
Lesson In Self-Defence?
OK a martial art might take too much time to learn but a few self-defence lessons can work wonders for your confidence. This is one of those running safety tips you just might never get round to but learning the basics could get you out of a tight corner one day. Or you could carry a whistle or personal alarm? If you have to resort to violence, aim for the vulnerable areas – throat, eyes, nose, knees and groin – but… if you are like me, you might want to leg it to safety towards a house or main road :-)
Change Your Routes
Avoid routine patterns – same time of day, same route every time? You can become more vulnerable to attackers, especially at night. They can plan to attack you if they know the "wheres" and "whens" – so mix up your routes, find 3 or 4 different ones and alternate the days. You could also alter the time you go out for a run, if you are flexible.
One of the most neglected running safety tips - wear a runners id. You can wear a bracelet, id tags on your running shoe or a pendant. Engrave your name and address, phone number and any medical details (blood type, medication, illnesses etc.). You can write on the inside of your insole which is also common practice. If the worst happens and you are found unconscious, someone can contact your friends or family; and if you are put in an ambulance the paramedics will know what medication you take, if any, or any allergies to certain drugs etc.
Take Cash With You
If you run long distances and happen to injure yourself, having cash with you can be a huge help – you could catch a bus or ring a taxi home. This is better than walking on an injury and making it worse.
Cash comes in useful so stash a couple of notes in your backpack. If you run out of water you could nip to a shop or if you fancy a quick snack half way through a long run?. Be careful though – I find pubs become more visible with money in my pocket :-)
Tell Someone Where You Are Going
Live with friends or family? It might be a good idea to let someone know where you are going and what time you are due back. This might seem unnecessary (especially if you are wearing a runners id!), but think about it, if you are running on trails or anywhere slightly remote the authorities could be alerted to your absence by the person who is expecting you and they would know where to look – otherwise there may be a chance of you remaining undiscovered while still unconscious.
Keep On Running
You may hear heckles from time to time - (“keep those legs up!”) - but resist the temptation to answer them back. Before you know it you will be exchanging insults which could then escalate to confrontation – best to put the blinkers on and keep on running!
Running safety tips often recommend running without music (WHAT! I hear you cry) - I can understand this to a degree, but if you are sensible, listening to music while you are running is fine. Personally though, I would not run where there is traffic, I like to hear that!
Avoid earphones which go inside your ear unless you plan on using only one earplug as these tend to block out all environmental sound. Instead choose headphones which fit loosely on the top of your head.
I have a pair of Koss Headphones, bought them in 2010 (below) and still going strong as I write this today, Dec. 2017.
They’ve been rained on, sat on, squashed into my rucksack and seen me through 4 sweaty marathons, so trust me here, if you want headphones which will last these bad boys are just the ticket! They also have excellent sound quality while still letting environmental sounds be heard. Water resistance is very good and they weigh only 60g.
Take Your Mobile
Ring a taxi to take you home if you injure yourself or feel ill. Phone a friend and ask them to pick you up or let them know you will be late. Call the police if you are threatened or you see someone else in trouble
Watch Out For Others
Running along canal paths and cycle paths removes the danger of traffic, but still be mindful of cyclists and other runners. Walkers in groups often don’t notice runners, in my experience, so give out a big, “EXCUSE ME!” to grab attention to yourself and if you are ignored shout again, only louder, and they soon notice you - if you are running down narrow canal paths this could be one of those running safety tips which could keep you safe and dry!
I told you all this talk about running safety tips might get you down – but don’t worry!
Like I said earlier, it is easy to get yourself down with the negatives - think of it this way…
You Can Feel Safe
...in the knowledge that you are a runner and therefore not an obvious target – if you are running, a would-be mugger would have to catch you, first and foremost - to a teenager this is surely too much bother and effort! – plus they might show themselves up in front of their mates when they can’t catch you!
So be mindful of running safety tips, yes – the rest of the time you should be enjoying your running ;-)