Words that describe how running makes you feel: alive, strong, independent, healthy, happy, vibrant. How about super human? We might also fall under the impression that we are invincible as well. Well, as Dwight Shrute would say - FALSE. There are cars and collisions with bikes or other runners, and that whole stranger danger piece. There are so many potential hazards out there for runners and we often times put ourselves in very vulnerable positions, despite our super human runner invincibility shield. Here are a few of my favorite safety tips for my super hero running friends.
BE IN THE RIGHT GEAR
Wear reflective clothing and blinky lights if you run in the dark. Even with lights, it’s best to avoid running on the street when it is dark.
Carry identification that includes your name, phone number, and blood type and any medical information. The Road ID is a great tool for this.
Carry a cell phone. Check out the flip belt to stow your phone while you run.
The best safety accessory is a running partner. Dogs make great partners too!
BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Remove the headphones! Yes, that tip sucks. I love the beat too but, we need both eyes and ears to be fully aware of surroundings. Your ears will pick up things that your eyes miss, particularly when it’s dark and visibility is reduced. The more aware you are, the less vulnerable you are.
Trust your gut. Use your intuition and avoid people or areas that make you feel uncomfortable. Your gut knows things before your head figures them out!
Choose smart routes. Run in familiar areas when possible, but do not always run the same route on the same days. Know where open businesses are located in case of an emergency. Avoid unpopulated areas and overgrown, unused trails. Avoid unlit areas, especially at night
BE TRAFFIC SMART and TRAIL SMART
Always run against traffic so you can see what’s coming your way and you can react quicker than if traffic is coming from behind.
Be sure the driver of a car acknowledges you before crossing in front of a vehicle – regardless of whether or not you have the right away. Give a little wave or nod and make eye contact. You will not win a car vs. body accident.
When running on a trail, follow the same rules as the road. Run on the right and let people know you are approaching or passing. If you need to turn around and cross the trail, look over your shoulder before crossing the trail to turn around.
Let someone know when you’re running and what route you’re taking.
There you have it. Continue being a strong, independent, fearless super human runner, but please add "safe" to that list of attributes.