Tips for Safe Running
Whether you’re training for a marathon or enjoying a weekend run, here are six rules and suggestions you can use to avoid injury and stay healthy.
- When running outdoors, try to leave your MP3 player and other listening devices at home. If the volume on a headset or ear buds is too high, you may not hear outside noises such as car horns, cyclists, or other runners behind you. If you must run with your device, the volume should be at a level so that you can hear outside noises.
- The second most important rule while running outdoors is to run against traffic. A bicycle is considered a vehicle when on the road, so bicyclists must follow the applicable laws and guidelines. However, runners are not vehicles, and are much more vulnerable and harder to see. Many drivers are already distracted by cell phones, the radio, or trying to read street signs. If possible, run on the sidewalk instead of the road.
- To make sure you are visible to others, no matter what time of day, wear light-colored or reflective clothing. A good rule of thumb is to wear a reflective vest, which can be purchased at almost any sporting goods store.
- Beware of vehicles making right turns. When you come to an intersection, always let the car go first. Never try to beat the car to the intersection, especially if running on snowy or wet roads. Remember that cars take longer to stop and have less control in inclement weather.
- When possible, try not to run alone or at night. Write down where you are running, or tell friends and family the routes you like to run. If running while on vacation or out of town, ask the hotel manager or local businesses where it is safe to run. If you do run alone, have identification with you and an emergency contact number. Try to bring your cell phone with you, if at all possible. It is also a good idea to carry a small amount of cash or an ATM card, just in case. Running belts are good to hold your ID, phone, and other essentials in case of emergency.
- If it’s cold outside, especially this time of year, do not ignore shivering. It’s the body’s first sign that it’s losing heat, and may lead to hypothermia and frostbite. If you drive to a trail or running route, be sure to have a change of clothes in the car.
These safety precautions, combined with the right knowledge and common sense, can make your training or running experience a safer and more enjoyable one.