As I’m just about to start running outdoors again, I’ve become well aware that I need to acquaint myself with some safety tips for runners. There have been multiple posts from women in various groups I’m in asking for advice which made me think about things I could do personally to keep safe.
So here are some simple safety tips for runners that you can implement pretty easily…
Aim For Daylight Hours
If you can, aim to run during daylight hours. Running in the daylight will help you be more aware of your surroundings. Violent crimes such as muggings or assault are also more likely to occur after dark.
Early mornings and evenings during the summer months are a great time to avoid excessive heat and sun exposure. During the shorter winter days, try heading out for a run on your lunch break instead.
Change Up Your Route
You should also change up your running route so you don’t become too predictable. If you run in the same place at the same time every day, people will know where and when to expect you. Find a few different routes that you enjoy and vary up your schedule.
Choose Busy & Well-Lit Areas
Whether you’re running during the day or night, try to stick to busier areas. Avoid deserted streets or unmarked trails. If you prefer street running, choose a neighbourhood where you know other people will be around and where local stores and businesses are open. Or if you like running in nature, head to a park that is popular with runners, cyclists, and dog-walkers.
For running safely at night, avoid poorly lit areas. Sticking to well-lit paths will help you be more aware of your surroundings and avoid any unwanted surprises lurking in the shadows. Try to wear as much reflective clothing as you can so that drivers and cyclists can see you.
Run Towards the Direction of Front Car Lights
Another tip forrunning in the night safely is to face oncoming cars. Running against the traffic will help you observe approaching vehicles. This is where your reflective clothing or reflective vest will come in handy too.
Use Bone-Conducting Earphones
There’s nothing wrong with listening to music or catching up on your favourite podcasts while you’re out running. I’m a big fan of doing this myself. Just make sure that the earphones or headphones you wear are notlessening your awareness of your surroundings.
Noise-cancelling headphones may be great for wearing around the house or for reducing distractions in the office, but they’re a big no-no for runners. Invest in some Aftershokz or bone-conducting earphones instead. I’ve got the Aftershokz OpenMove which are affordable and great quality. These earphones will allow you to listen to music while still hearing people and cars around you.
Don’t Use Public Sharing Apps
Some people enjoy using running apps to track their progress and connect with other members of the running community. However, many of these apps also make your location public and allow you to be tracked by other members. If you’re regularly running alone, it’s best to turn off public sharing or limit who can see your location.
This running safety tip also applies to posting your live location on social media apps such as Instagram or Facebook. If you regularly run in the same area, you should avoid posting photos that give away your location.
Share Your Location With a Friend of Family Member
While it’s advisable not to share your location publicly, you should always let someone know when and where you are going, and that you have arrived back home safely. Try sharing your live location on WhatsApp with a housemate, friend, or family member for the duration of your run. Sharing your location with someone close to you will give you both greater peace of mind.
Run With Others
If you don’t feel safe running alone, you don’t have to. The term “safety in numbers” rings true here. Find a running buddy who lives near to you or join a local running club. Not only will you feel safer, but running with others can be much more fun and make the time pass quicker. You can also motivate each other and hold each other accountable in order to meet your goals.
Join A Local Online Running Community
Even if you don’t enjoy running with others, it’s still a great idea to connect with your local running community via a Facebook group or text chain. Local running groups will help you find out where the safest routes are and make you aware if anyone else has any issues in your area. Joining a local running community is also particularly useful if you’re new to an area and haven’t figured out the best places to run yet.
Carry Safety Items For Runners
There are a few items you can choose to carry with you on your run that can help you feel safer such as a personal alarm, a whistle or an I.D band. Take your phone out with you regardless of whether you use it to track your run or not. I usually keep mine in a pocket on my leggings or in my flip belt.
You can also consider getting yourself a running headtorch and other lights like the MoveVisible LED Band – you can read my review of it as well as learning how to layer for running in cold weather.
Stay Alert & Trust Your Intuition
Perhaps the most important safety tips for runners is to always be fully aware of your surroundings and to trust your intuition.
When you’re out running on your own, it’s easy to zone out and lose track of what’s going on around you. But this is exactly when something is most likely to happen. Stay alert and make mental notes of your surroundings, including any people, vehicles, or bikes in your general vicinity.
If someone is acting shady or making you feel uncomfortable, cross the road, turn around, or alter your route.Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
I hope you’ve found these safety tips for runners useful, and if you have any others to share please leave them in the comments below.
We really shouldn’t need to be thinking about all these things, but until the world becomes a safer place, we need to look out for ourselves and each other…
Great article! Safety when running is not always the first thing that is discussed, but is totally necessary. Thanks for sharing your ideas.