Friday, November 18, 2016

7 Tips for National Running Safety Month

With November as National Running Safety Month and the sun setting much earlier now, it's easy to equate safety with darkness. However, and unfortunately, it's much more than that.

You may recall back in August hearing the deeply sad news of three women who were killed while running. I know of at least one other incident around the same time period of a woman who was seriously injured when hit by a car while running. Not to mention the harassment and physical assaults women have regularly reported over the years. It's not just women either, men also are at risk out on the roads.

And let's not forget, dangerous situations aren't always caused by someone else. We are running, and with that can - unfortunately at times - come injuries or other situations that require us to seek help.

Oiselle Team Run

We run to find peace; to clear our heads; to connect with friends; to go after tough goals. I'm going to take a wild guess that based on the millions of people who go out for a run every day, the vast majority end without any incident. But, that doesn't mean we should take precautions to be safe.

Here are my top running safety tips that I hope all of you will adhere to.

Tell someone where you're going and how long you think you'll be gone. Then let them know you've finished. Matt and I don't always run together, but we always tell each other where we're going. Whether it's someone you live with or a friend several states away, it's good practice to have someone you trust keeping track of where you are.

Mix things up. By running the same route day-in and day-out, not only will you get crazy bored and probably start to loathe running, but you'll make it easy for others to know when and where you'll be. Mixing it up is good for your safety, your mind, and your body.

Run with someone. Power (and safety) in numbers. It's as simple as that. Bonus: it's a great way to catch up with friends and plot out your next running adventure!

Be aware. This can be hard to do listening to music or deep in thought, but it's important for us to be aware of our surroundings. We have a better chance of protecting ourselves if we are alert and not caught off guard.

Take your phone & list someone as ICE in your contacts. I know, a lot of people don't like running with their phones, but especially if you're running somewhere new, far from home, or will be out for hours, it's good protection in case you get in any trouble. Did you know ICE stands for "In Case of Emergency"? Having an ICE contact in your phone is helpful for first responders. Let's hope you never need it, but good just in case.

Wear a Road ID. This is even more important if you refuse to run with your phone. Road IDs are inexpensive and can save your life. There are several styles to choose from and mine is so lightweight I usually forget I'm wearing it. Go here to get one.

If you're running at dawn, dusk, or in the dark, wear lights & reflective gear! I would be rich if I got a dime each time we saw runners at dusk that were hardly visible. If you're at all questioning if you need reflective gear or a light(s), do yourself a big favor and wear them. It's incredibly difficult for drivers to see us during these times of day, and they're not often looking for us, so just don't risk it. A hand lamp not only makes you visible, but also helps you see the way and avoid cracks and holes that could derail your training.

Lisa wearing a reflective vest
You can find many more great tips here. Please, use your common sense and enjoy your run!

How else do you stay safe on the run?

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