Thursday, August 23, 2012

5 Tips For Running Safely

Running can be a great form of exercise - and a lot of fun! Just be sure you stay safe on your run. When you run there are two primary dangers. These dangers include animals and people. Yes, animals. Every year runners are hit by deer, or even cows (!), and bitten by dogs. However, people are generally a much bigger threat. Here are a few simple running strategies to stay safe when you run.

Morning Jogging Session
 (Photo credit: Ikhlasul Amal)
#1 Run with People

Running by yourself, particularly if you are a woman, can be dangerous. Running with others is much safer. However, if you do run by yourself make sure to carry mace or pepper spray, wear identification, and always tell other people where you are running and when you’ll be back. And if you run by yourself make sure you run in a populated area during the light of day. Running at night or in an isolated area is dangerous.

#2 Stay Out of Traffic

It’s tempting to run in the road. The asphalt may be softer than the cement sidewalk. However, it’s probably not worth your life. Drivers are distracted and it’s easy to get hit. And in the early hours of the morning and at dusk it can be difficult for drivers to see you. If you are running in the road, make sure you’re facing oncoming traffic.

#3 Be Visible

Run in brightly colored clothing when you’re on the trails. Some runners have been mistaken for deer or elk and shot by hunters. When running at night make sure to wear reflective clothing. You may even want to wear a headlamp or carry a flashlight.

We carry our cellphones when we jog
We carry our cellphones when we jog (Photo credit: Ed Yourdon)
#4 Be Prepared for Emergencies

If you’re going to be out running for a while consider taking your cell phone and some extra cash. A cell phone makes it easy to call someone if you have an emergency and the extra cash can be used to purchase hydration. Road ID bracelets or identification necklaces or shoe ties are also a good idea. Finally, if you’re going for a long run you may want to take a few first aid items or at least keep a first aid kit in your car.

#5 Limit Your Distractions

Many runners enjoy listening to music when they run. This is fine as long as you can hear what is going on around you. If you cannot hear cyclists or cars it’s easy to find yourself sprawled on the ground.

Finally, trust your instincts. If something or someone doesn’t seem right, avoid it. Running should be a safe and enjoyable form of exercise, not a life risking endeavor. Stay safe and get fit - and have fun!

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