When running outside, it is really important to use common sense. I do most of my training in Central Park where I don’t have to worry about vehicles. However, some of my long runs are in the suburbs where there are other things to be aware of besides other amazing exercise fanatics and really freaking cute dogs! I know these safety tips may sound monotonous but each one stems from an experience I have encountered in the past or from an issues I encounter often (or have read about and never want to happen to me but thought was important to add to this list).
- Make sure you are visible. I know black clothes are much more flattering, but they also make you less visible to cars. When running in the early morning, night, or dusk, make sure you have some sort of reflective gear on. Most running attire is accented with it anyway! Also, neon is so much better – and stores are loaded with it right now.
- TRY not to run alone (especially at night) I have come across a lot of people who look like they are trying to be friendly but just are not. There are too many horror stories. Use the buddy system.
- For emergency situations – Carry cell phone, identification and insurance card. I bring my driver’s license and wear my Road ID bracelet (which has my name, city, emergency contacts and any known allergies). Who else is excited for the Bia Sports Watch one-touch safety alert!?!?!
- Carry cash or ATM card (and if in NYC, bring your Metro Card). You may need a drink (water or alcohol), you may get lost or tired and need transportation.
- Don’t make assumptions about drivers. Don’t assume they can see you. Run opposite of traffic and run behind cars that are pulling out of parking lots (or make eye contact with the driver before crossing a street or intersection). The last thing you want to do is run in front of a car waiting to pull out of a parking lot and have them gun it into your body because they were looking the other way and you were too trusting.
- Watch out for cyclists. They ride really fast. Just get out of their way.
- If you run with music, don’t have it on too loud. You need to be aware of your surroundings when you are on the roads.
- Most importantly, trust your instincts – if you do not feel comfortable with the area you are in or a person or group of people you are around, run in the other direction and get out of there!
Here a few articles with great safety suggestions as well for future reference!