The horrific events at the Boston Marathon have shaken us all. Running is meant to be simple, healthy and safe. But in truth we sometimes take our own running safety for granted when we tie our shoelaces and head out the door.
I tend to run a lot on my own, simply because my pace is a bit slower than my training group and we end up separated. I also find I can’t always run at the times the local running groups go out. As a busy mom with two jobs and schedules to meet I need to run when I find the opportunity to do so which can be at quite odd times. However, safety is always first so if I can’t squeeze in a run that had to be squeezed in that day because it would cause me to run late on empty streets … that run is forgone.
I asked my wonderful community of online fitness bloggers what they do to keep safe and most people do similar things: they are aware and they are seen. So next time you lace up, think of these things to take ownership over your own personal safety.
Choose Your Route Wisely: Though we love exploring new places, if you are going to run by yourself stick to places you know and that are popular amongst runners. This way you don’t get lost and you will have contact with other people who can report they saw you should something happen.
Mix It Up: Don’t go for the same run, the same route, at the same time, all the time. Someone might be paying attention and you will be easy to track. Also, don’t check in on social media letting the world know where you will be. Brag about it when you are done!
Communicate: Let someone know when you are leaving, what your route is and when you are expected back. This way if you are not back in time, someone knows you are missing and can ring the alarm bell.
Make Yourself Visible: Try to do your running in daylight, it will always be safer. If you must go out in the dark, don’t be afraid to blink like a Christmas tree and wear as much reflective clothing as you have. No one is going to judge your wardrobe, but they will remember you and they will see you.
Skip The Music: Solo? Enjoy the sounds of the world around you instead of those coming from your iPod. This will prevent you from being swept away into lala-land and will keep you aware of your surroundings. If you cannot fathom a run without music, then plug just one ear in.
Take Your Phone: It is a hassle, I know. But if you are running solo and something happens, it is always best to have a way to reach help.
Carry a Surprise: A whistle can startle an assailant or a dog. It will make you heard and give you a chance to run off. Some runners also carry mace spray or similar.
Be Aware: Look around, be conscious of your environment and if something feels odd just follow your gut and cut your run short. No workout is worth the risk.
I know it is awful to think that something can happen whether it’s an assault or a car that doesn’t see you. Yet unfortunately it sometimes does. You may not be at fault but you will still have to deal with the consequences, so take your personal safety seriously. We owe it to ourselves, to our loved ones, and to the entire running community to take care and be safe.
What do you do to keep yourself safe?