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Tips for Runner Safety and Running Alone

Running is a safe sport, right?  It is non-contact, you choose your intensity level, and the biggest threat can sometimes be a patch of black ice or a loose dog.  However, there is more to safety than many runners realize.  Listed here are safety tips for all types of runners and weather conditions. 

In the Dark
If you primarily run in the dark it is important to wear reflective clothing, such as a vest.  Never assume you can be seen by oncoming traffic, which is also a good rule to follow at any time of the day. 

Additionally, be wary of where you run.  Isolated areas are especially unsafe in the dark.  Avoid the use of headphones when running alone outside, which can hinder you from hearing footsteps or traffic sounds.

Alone

Whether you are male or female, running in the daylight or at night, there are certain rules you should always follow when running alone.  Let someone know where you are running and how long you will be gone.  Wear a RoadID.  Download a safety app that can alert the authorities if certain criteria are not met, such as frequent check-ins. 

 

On Trails

The trails are a great place to get lost in your head, but also lost in general.  When exploring a new trail always pack a map as well as water and a snack, in case you get lost.  Avoid running on isolated trails by yourself, and always let someone know which trail you plan to run and how long you intend to be gone.  A trail injury can be dangerous to even veteran runners, so carrying a phone is also a good idea.

 

Summer
In the summer you should always plan as though the weather is warmer than it actually is.  Pack extra water, carbohydrates, and salt tablets for your long run.  It is certainly better not to need these items than to be left without them.  Sunscreen is a must, as well as sunglasses if you have sensitive eyes.

 

 Do not attempt to push too hard during your workout or long run when the temperatures are extreme and take walk breaks if you need them.  Heat stroke can hurt your fitness far more than conservatively running your intervals!

 

Winter
Ice and frostbite are a runner’s worst enemies during the winter.  Be mindful of the weather conditions and go indoors if you are unable to find a clear path.  You won’t regret a treadmill run, but you might regret taking a nasty spill that results in injury.  If you live in a snowy or icy part of the country, consider YakTrax or screw shoes

Similar to the summer, dress as though the temperatures are colder than predicted.  It is always better to remove layers than be left requiring more clothing.  The right investments into good gloves, a hat, a buff, and a windbreaker are important.

On a Multi-Use Trail
Always use caution when running on a multi-use path, one that allows walkers, runners, cyclists, dogs, skateboarders, etc.  Even though these trails are typically considered safe, do not wear headphones or else you may not hear the warning of someone behind you. 

Also use caution when turning around.  First slow to a walk and then glance over your shoulder.  Many cyclists and runners are injured annually in bike path collisions when a runner abruptly turns around.