Monday, March 16, 2015

10 Tips To Stay Safe On The Run

Runners like to focus on the fun and the challenge that come with logging miles. Which makes sense as those are two reasons why we start running. Unfortunately sometimes we have to get real and talk about things that aren't so fun but could make a huge difference, not only in our run, but in our lives. Safety.

Over the past week or so in Denver, a guy has assaulted at least eight women running in the City Park neighborhood - a pretty popular, busy area of the city. The most recent was last Wednesday at 11:30am. In broad daylight.

Not City Park

With this guy still out there, it's a good time to keep in mind some basic things we can do to stay as safe as possible out on the run.
  • Run with others: You know, the whole safety in numbers thing - whether you're out with a running buddy or your dog. I run alone often, so I definitely don't follow this piece of advice, so don't do as I do with this one.
  • Let someone know when you're going and where you're going: Especially if you are going out on your own, make sure someone else knows what your plans are.
  • Leave your headphones at home: Not only can you hear car horns easier, but you can hear footsteps coming up behind you. If you're hooked on a podcast or convinced you can't run without a driving beat in your ears, try a run without it anyway. You'll be much safer without it, and if you're running with a friend you'll want to chat with them anyway! This is one thing I've learned to do and now I can't imagine running with headphones!
  • But take your phone: Program in two numbers that are easy to dial quickly - 911 and your "in case of emergency" contact (and label them in your contacts as ICE). If you need to get hold of someone quickly, you can.
  • Run in populated areas: Whatever time it is when you run, choose routes where there are other runners or walkers, cars passing by, or houses within earshot. 
  • Run against traffic: This is a pet peeve of mine. When running in the road, run against traffic so you can see the cars coming and they can see you. It's always best to be able to see what's coming towards you.
  • Avoid solo night running: Sometimes we have to get miles in but our work and life schedules keep us from doing them during the day, but aim to get your miles in when it's light out. 
  • When running in the dark, make sure drivers can see you: It amazes me how often I see runners wearing all black early in the morning or late at night. It's practically impossible for drivers to see us running down a sidewalk at night if we don't make ourselves seen. Don't risk it. Wear reflective clothing, a headlamp and other lights. There are lots of great options available now. Also, seek out routes with lots of street lights and where home owners tend to keep their front porch lights on.
  • Carry mace, pepper spray or a whistle: There are products created specifically for runners so they're easy to carry. Any of these can help fend off attackers. (Mace and pepper spray aren't legal in all areas, so check out your local regulations)
  • Stay Alert: Running is often our time to "check out" but it's also really important to stay alert. Pay attention to who is around you - people and dogs - and what the situation is. The more you can capture in your memory about the people and things around you, the better.
Cheesman Park, Denver

Most of these tips are common sense, so just be smart and don't compromise on your safety. Have fun, challenge yourself, and get home safe!

What did I miss?


Lisa said...

yikes that guy has been busy! Great tips and stay safe!

Lisa said...

So scary! Be careful, friend. I learned in a self-defense class that in case of emergency you're not only supposed to yell help, but describe the perp. It's more alarming for that person to hear you say "help, this tall man with a mustache wearing a blue hoodie is attacking me" because they feel put on the spot...however, I can't say that I'll remember to do that in the case of an attack. Not sure how effective it is if one doesn't remember to do that!