Running Safety Guidelines
To me nothing beats the feeling of running outdoors, feeling the wind in my face, and breaking away from the walls of my office and my house to reconnect with my mind and body. And even though there are sad cases and incidents, I do believe we can still enjoy our runs outdoors while following these safety guidelines. Here are some recommendations for a safe and productive run.
- Plan your run ahead of time. It’s always a good idea to have a route in mind before you hit the trail. Knowing where you are going will let you focus on your workout and help you stay on track to avoid getting lost. This is especially helpful if you are visiting new cities.
- Alter or vary your running route pattern; run in familiar areas if possible. In unfamiliar areas, such as while traveling, contact a local RRCA club or running store. Know where open businesses or stores are located in case of emergency.
- Write down or leave word of the direction of your run. Tell friends and family of your favorite running routes. You can also use MapMyRun app. Using the Live Tracking feature of MapMyRun is a great way to let others know where you are. Your spouse or friends can follow your progress in real-time.
- Only use one earbud. How many times have you been startled by a cyclist passing by you, or sirens you don’t hear until the truck is right behind you? We know that music can enhance your workout, but be aware of your surroundings – including noises from other runners, cyclists, cars and even animals.Always stay alert and aware of what’s going on around you.Your ears may help you avoid dangers your eyes may miss during evening or early morning runs.
- Run against traffic. Running against traffic gives drivers time to see you far enough in advance, especially on roads with trails with bends and curves. If you are running on the sidewalk or multi-use trails, travel on the right and pass on the left.
- Be visible and wear bright-colored or reflective clothing. Wear reflective material if you must run before dawn or after dark. Light accessories work too.
- Obey traffic signals. Follow basic traffic law. Look both ways before crossing. Be sure the driver of a car acknowledges your right-of-way before crossing in front of a vehicle.Do some research if necessary and be aware of shoulders along the road and traffic. It’s best to be a defensive runner. Always look out for cars turning right (and looking left) – just because you can see them doesn’t mean they can see you. Don’t blow through stop signs and be sure to cross in crosswalks when possible.
- Carry identification or write your name, phone number, and blood type on the inside sole of your running shoe. Include any medical information. If you run with a phone that has a case, slip a driver’s license or ID in the back cover. In the unfortunate event of an accident, it’s helpful to have proper identification on you. Road ID is also a great option and provides a line of various identification tags.
- Carry a cell phone, CALL POLICE IMMEDIATELY if something happens to you or someone else, or you notice anyone out of the ordinary. It is important to report incidents immediately.
- Trust your intuition about a person or an area. React on your intuition and avoid a person or situation if you’re unsure. If something tells you a situation is not “right”, it isn’t. Use discretion in acknowledging strangers. Look directly at others and be observant, but keep your distance and keep moving.
- Make it social - Run with a partner if possible. Working out with friends can make time pass quicker, help you meet your goals and provide an added element of safety in the case of emergency. This tip rings true for pets as well – dogs can make great running partners!
- Avoid unpopulated areas, deserted streets, and overgrown trails. Avoid unlit areas, especially at night. Run clear of parked cars or bushes.
- When using multi-use trails, follow the rules of the road. If you alter your direction, look over your should before crossing the trail to avoid a potential collision with an oncoming cyclist or passing runner.
- Avoid rush hour. It’s important to get your workout in, but try and be mindful of the best conditions. If you can avoid it, don’t run or bike during the busiest hours of traffic. It pays to wake up 30 minutes earlier and enjoy an open road.