Running Smart and Safe

I never liked running.

Sure I compete in triathlons, but running was not my thing. Until I hired my coach. Then I finally found a new love of hitting the pavement. Now I crave it like a preschooler craves candy; I just can’t get enough.

The feeling of my heart thumping in my chest, sweat dripping from my brow, and my feet pounding the pavement…it’s a symphony to the senses. On the treadmill I was safe and cozy, but running outside was a different story.

When you run outside there are so many things to consider and one of them is safety, especially as a woman. I hate the fact that because I am a woman I have to worry about running in the dark, running after dark, running on a secluded trail, and all sorts of other stuff.

However, I’m not going to let this worry keep me from running. It just means I’m going to run smarter.

Here are a few of my tips on making the most of your run and still staying safe.

 

Run Smart Run Safe

 

Don’t run alone.
For me this is truly an unrealistic option. There’s no one I know who wants to get up at 5:15 am every morning and run with me. However, if you are lucky enough to have a friend that will rise with the sun and lace up her shoes and hit the pavement with you, keep her forever and buy her presents so she will keep running with you. If you have a dog, consider making it your running companion as well.

Bring your phone and download an app.
I never leave home without my phone, and my run is no exception. Make sure you have your ICE {In Case of Emergency} person listed in your contacts in case there is an emergency and you are unable to communicate.

I’ve also downloaded the Road ID app. This app is a literally a lifesaver. It includes an eCrumb feature which allows your friends and family to track you in real time, on a map, when you head outdoors for an adventure (run, ride, hike, walk, etc). It also has an optional “Stationary Alert” that can notify select contacts if you stop moving for more than 5 minutes. The site says to use this app in addition to their Road ID bracelet, which I still need to order.

Show yourself.
If you HAVE to run in the dark (come October I’ll have no choice as I try to avoid the dreadmill as much as possible), make sure to illuminate yourself. While we know black is slimming, it’s also horrible when running outside, even during the daytime. The brighter the better…match your shirt to those new hot pink running shoes! If you are running in the dark, try using a headlamp or knuckle lights to illuminate your way and warn you of any dangers like raccoons or those pesky uneven sidewalks.

Headphones: friend or foe?
I’m the first to say that I NEED music to run. The sound of my own huffing and puffing is the most discouraging sound ever. Music is my friend, and while many safety tips will tell you to ditch the headphones, I’ll be a bit more realistic. Keep the volume low enough so you can hear what’s going on around you. You should also do this anyway to prevent hearing loss. The one bud trick also works, in which you only wear one ear bud.

Stay alert.
It’s easy to get into “the zone” while running. In fact, “The Zone” is a great place to be: there’s no knee pain, or fatigue in “the zone.” However, don’t spend too much time there, because you could be missing something. Like the car that didn’t yield or the neighbor’s dog who likes to chase runners, or that guy, the one who gave you a weird feeling in your stomach. Yeah, it’s good to pay attention. Whenever I pass someone while running I make eye contact, let them know I saw them. Then try to remember distinguishing characteristics, just in case. If something doesn’t feel right, then it’s not right. Don’t be embarrassed or think you are overacting. I know it sounds scary, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Armed with these tips you will have a safe and sweaty run, and the only thing you will need to worry about is your next race.

If you are looking for some inspiration and want take that first step, join Shari over on the Blogger Dash Couch to 5K Facebook Group.

And don’t forget there’s still time to sign up for the Blogger Dash in October!

Brook {without the "e"} is a spunky faux redhead and former UI grad who has decided to call Iowa City her home for over 10 years. She met her husband on the internet, and they spend their days playing superheroes with their two boys, Edison (2007) and Grant (2010). She juggles mom life with a full-time job as a marketing consultant, competing in triathlons and writing her heart out on her personal blog www.redheadreverie.com. She believes life is a journey, not a destination.

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