How to stay safe when running.
When the nights draw in, you need to take some steps to make sure you stay safe when running.
To ensure it stays that way it is worth taking a few precautions that will help keep you safe and sound.
No matter how much excess weight you are trying to shift it is unlikely that you are bigger than a truck or have big enough ‘love handles’ to absorb the impact of being hit by a car.
So wear clothing that ensures you can be seen. Many running shoes have reflectivity, as does a lot of the clothing. Wear brighter, lighter colours in the dark or low light conditions and consider a reflective running bib which you can put over the top of anything. Shop with visibility in the back of your mind.
Think flourescent clothing. Black may be cool but think about it, if you were driving would you see someone running out in front of you? Wear bright clothing and be seen.
Running on the edge of a busy road where there is no footpath is no fun. You dodge the car mirrors as they flash past your elbows, those on the lorries whiz by your ear. The pot holes are no fun for your ankles and you suck in air full of petrol/diesel fumes. There’s usually somewhere better to run.
Know your route
If you are running alone knowing where you are going means you won’t suddenly find yourself in an ‘unsavoury’ area or having to run along the edge of some busy road, country lane or rutted field.
Women may feel the need for this type of measure on personal safety grounds more than male runners. But everyone should think about staying safe when running, so it's worth telling someone of your intended route.
Run with a partner
This is great socially but also adds safety. Whether you are talking about having someone there if you turn an ankle or avoiding some of the comments from cheeky young hoodlums two is better than one.
It gives you more opportunity to experiment and explore on runs, having fun and staying safe.
Stay in contact with base
It might be worth considering taking your mobile phone with you. If you need help it pays to be in contact. There are plenty of mobile phone cases for running available on amazon, ebay or from your local running store.
Stay on your guard and trust your instincts. If something or someone looks dodgy trust the alarm bells in your head and go the long way round. Better to add half a mile to a run than to go past them if you have any doubts. You will feel safer. Feeling safe makes for happier running and you will get fitter.
Headphones are great but in the dark, they make you less aware of dangers from traffic and others, other people or even that trip wire dog lead! Keep the volume down if using them.
If you are running with a phone, iPod or any other valuable item keep them discreet. Some kit has specifically made pockets to keep them out of sight. If you have an iPod you may want to buy a pair of cheaper headphones so the value of your personal entertainment system is not being advertised.
Vary your routes
Sadly some would-be attackers may take advantage if they get used to knowing you will be in a certain place at a certain time. If your routes are safe this is not such a problem. But if you are going through more remote areas where people may be able to know where you will be and when it raises the chances of them being able to plan something unpleasant.
Varying your routes or when you run them makes training more fun as it is more varied and safer.
Have an alarm
An attack alarm can buy you those valuable seconds you need to escape, summon the attention of people nearby and put any attacker on the back foot. Having one will make you feel safer and more confident.
We how you found our advice on how to stay safe useful - and not too scary! Remember, staying safe when running will make your running more enjoyable, and the more you enjoy it the fitter you get.