Tag Archives: running

Getting Fit This Spring? 5 Tips to Keep You Safe While Running

The weather is warming up, the days are getting longer, and it’s time to get out there and get in shape for summer! If you’re one of the millions of Americans who run, either competitively or for fitness, make sure you’re staying safe while getting fit with these five tips:

1. Run with a buddy
If you can avoid it, try not to run alone, because being alone makes you an easy target. If you don’t have a neighbor or friend to run with, see if you can join a local running group and run with them.

2. Run out in the open
If you are running alone, avoid trail running or any other kind of running that’s not in the open. Running on a busy road sucks, but at least you have a lot of people around who provide a deterrent to anyone with bad intentions! Also, running in a neighborhood or business district means you have homes or businesses to turn to should something bad happen.

3. Run in the daylight
Many people have to run after dark because of their work schedules, but avoid that if you can. The more daylight, the more safety! If you do run after dark, try to partner with a running buddy to prevent being attacked. Also wear reflective clothing and some kind of light or lamp to help cars see you.

4. Run with your ears wide open
Music makes running better! But when your ears are plugged up with your playlist, you can’t hear cars—or a potential attacker. Now, if you’re running with a buddy, you’ll probably be talking and you have the safety of numbers. But if you’re running alone, keep at least one ear bud-free so you can hear what’s going on around you.

5. Run with your eyes wide open
Also pay attention with your eyes. Don’t assume the passing cars see you. Try to make eye contact with drivers if you’re not sure, and still assume the worst. Only cross the street in designated areas. Be careful driving past parked cars when a door might suddenly swing open. Watch the sidewalk for cracks and the height of the curbs to prevent falls. Yes, you want to go into a zone, but you still must stay aware of what’s going on around you and under your feet.

You want to be fit, but you also want to be safe. These five tips should help. Happy running!

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

Safety on the Run: Ways to Keep Yourself Safe While Keeping Yourself Fit

Running is a popular way to stay fit for a multitude of reasons. For one thing, you don’t need any special equipment or facilities. You can run anywhere at any time. And therein lies the danger: You’re also at risk to predators while out running.

I used to run a lot, before we moved to a farm. And looking back, I see that I put myself at risk most of the time because I didn’t put any of this advice into practice. I ran on trails. I ran by myself. I ran with music blaring in my ears…

I got lucky, but how about you don’t take those same risks? How about you read through this advice and put it to use instead? Much of this advice applies more to women than men because—sadly—women are more vulnerable to an attack while out running. Men, however, would do well to read through this advice to be on the safe side (pun intended), and to know how to suggest running safety tips to female friends.

Remember too that we’re talking about prevention here. As with any kind of personal safety and security, the key is to take steps ahead of time to prevent danger in the first place.

Safety in numbers
Don’t run alone. This can’t be stressed enough. This is the number one best kind of protection you can give yourself while out running. It’s not easy though! Finding a running partner who runs at your pace, is doing the same kind of training, and has a schedule that meshes with yours might sound impossible. But try! Also consider contacting your local running store about running groups you can join. For me, a running group was the only way I could run in the winter after work when it was dark. (Note: There’s another benefit to running buddies. You’re less likely to skip a run on a bad day if you know someone is counting on you to show up!)

What about four-legged running buddies? If you think running with a dog is protection, it can be but it depends on the dog. My dog weighs over 100 pounds yet at that first sign of trouble, he’s outta here. On the other hand, he is tuned in to danger and would notice trouble before I did, and his size might be a deterrent…but I wouldn’t bank on it. No dog? No worries. You don’t have to own a dog to run with a dog. Plenty of people have dogs that need exercising! Ask around.

Practice commonsense
We often make ourselves more vulnerable to danger in little ways, including getting distracted by music. If you do have to run alone, leave your earphones or buds at home. Don’t groan! I know music helps with the running. I used to make playlists for my runs, with slower music for warming up, faster when the warmup was done, really fast for speedwork, and then slow again for cool down. I had different playlists for different lengths of runs. Back when I was a serious runner, I don’t think I could have stuck with it without the music to train by. However, I was also jeopardizing my safety. Wearing earphones signals to a predator that you’re not paying attention, and it decreases the chances of you hearing his approach.

Be smart about when you run. Running in the early morning or late evening (or even at night) is risky when it’s dark. Sure, you can wear your reflective vest so cars will see you, but will you see your attacker waiting behind that tree? Something tells me he won’t be wearing a reflective vest. Try to run in broad daylight. If your work days mean running in the dark is your only option, see our first piece of advice about not running alone and be willing to make compromises. For me, for quite a while that meant getting up at 5:00 in the morning to run because that was when my running buddy wanted to go. Ugh!

Be smart about where you run. When I lived in the suburbs, I would drive to a nearby trail that offered a beautiful and pleasant 8.8 mile run, and I did that every Saturday morning—by myself. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. I didn’t have a running buddy who wanted to do the same distance or pace so I just risked it. Don’t do that. Run where people will see you, where you have homes or businesses you can duck into for help, where someone will notice if you’re attacked.

After the run, be car smart
If you drive to your running place, use caution when approaching your parked car, especially if you’re parked at a trailhead with few people around. An attacker doesn’t have to get you while you’re out running. It’s just as easy to strike once you’re back to your car.

Good for you for running and keeping fit! Whatever you do, keep running. Just remember to keep yourself safe and fit at the same time. That’s all we ask.

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