In the wee hours of the night or before the crack of dawn you’ll always find someone running in Track Town, USA. With many people looking into ways to exercise without accessing gyms or group exercises, running is an easily available form of exercise. At face value, running is also pretty simple. You just… run. One key component to running that shouldn’t be overlooked is running safety.
If you’re new to running, there are things that may not be completely obvious that can go a long way in keeping you safe. Even if you’ve been running for a long time, it never hurts to have a running safety checklist in place to make sure your next run is a good one.
- Let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back – This one is often overlooked, but it is important. If you end up getting injured and can’t make it back to your house or car, you want to make sure someone knows where you’ll be.
- Bring your phone – Most phones have the ability to track your run so you can get some useful measurements, but the basic function of a phone is for communication. If you need to call somebody, it’s good to have it on you during the run (and not have left it in your car).
- Bring water/fluids – The weather is warming up after all! Even if you’re only planning on doing shorter runs, it doesn’t hurt to have fluids available in case the weather is warmer than you expected. There are many different kinds of water bottles/carriers that can be used that don’t have a major impact on your running gait. Some are smaller bottles that attach to a belt, and others are larger backpacks with bladders that can carry a liter or more of fluid. Pick one that works for you and how long you’ll be running.
- Wear the right gear – Consider the time of day you’re running. Regardless of time of day, at least make sure you have reflective or bright colored clothing. Headlamps and visibility lights can help you see and be seen when it’s darker outside. During the day time, having clothes that have contrast to them can make you more visible.
- Be cautious with headphones/music – If you’re running in a new area, having headphones makes it harder to hear what’s around you. Cars, bikers, other people, and animals are all things that you want to be aware of wherever you are. If you’re more familiar with the area, it still doesn’t hurt to have at least one ear open when you’re running around. If it’s a busier area, listening to music on a speaker isn’t especially considerate to others but you can definitely get away with it in lesser populated areas.
- Plan your route – You should have some idea of how long you are going to run before you go. Knowing that distance gives you a way to map out your run so you don’t end up completely exhausted several miles from home. Pick areas you’re familiar with if you can. If you aren’t familiar with the area, get an idea of the roads/trails that you’ll be near. If you need to change your route you don’t want to get lost!
There are a number of ways to improve safety when it comes to running, but this list is a great starting point. Taking care of these allows you to focus on the run itself.
***The above information, including text, images, and all other materials, is provided for educational purposes only, and not as a replacement or supplement to professional medical advice. Please contact a certified healthcare professional or your primary physician for any personal concerns.