The weather is getting warmer, daylight savings is officially behind us, and runners everywhere are jumping for joy about the nicer weather for an outdoor run. Whether you’re a leisurely jogger or a serious marathoner, there are a lot of factors that affect a successful run, but they all have to do with safety.
While it’s impossible to eliminate all of the injury and personal safety risks while running, there are precautions you can take for a more enjoyable workout or training session. These five tips will help you have a safer run no matter what distance you choose to go in your outdoor exercise.
1. Listen to Your Body
Running can take its toll on your body. Start your runs with a warmup to help prevent injuries, and if you’re a beginner training for a big race, build up your stamina by following a training plan. Carry salt tablets or energy chews with you for hydration and energy on your runs. You can also prepare for your run on your rest days. Getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and eating healthy foods to fuel your body are just as important as your warmup.
2. Get the Right Equipment
Like any sport, the right equipment will help you be successful. Get running shoes that are supportive and fit for your feet, invest in a fitness tracker to keep track of your heart rate, and if you need extra joint support, buy a knee sleeve. A foam roller for recovery can also help you prevent an injury and feel less sore after a run.
3. Have a Safety Plan
You may not like to think of personal safety when you think of running safety, but it’s just as important as injury prevention, especially for young women. 60% of women reported being harassed while running, and 1 in 4 women reported regularly being subjected to unwanted sexual advances while running.
We spoke with running influencer, Lisa ( @runhappymama on Instagram), who has run 17 half marathons and plans to run the 2022 Chicago Marathon and asked her about her best safety tips as a woman in the running community. According to Lisa, it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings. She says that if you’re running the same route often, you know what’s normal and what’s not. Be aware of suspicious activity that looks out of the ordinary.
You should know what to do if a threatening situation arises. Plan your route ahead of time and check it for nearby police stations or hospitals that you can go to if needed. If you use apps like Strava, Map My Run, or Garmin to track your runs, Lisa says you should never post your routes online for the public to see. Only share your routes with individuals that you know.
You can also consider carrying a personal safety device. Running pepper sprays and pepper gels come with a hand strap for easily accessible protection at a moment’s notice. Lisa carries the SABRE Clip-On Personal Alarm with LED Light and recommends testing your safety device once per month to ensure it will work properly if an emergency arises.
4. Stay Visible
Depending on your schedule, you might still be running early in the morning or late at night even though the sun stays out longer. Wear bright, colorful clothes whenever you can, and consider reflective accessories like an LED armband or personal alarm with an LED light to ensure you're visible to oncoming traffic cars, bikes, and other runners.
Tip from Lisa: If you’re a mama running with your little ones in a stroller, make sure your stroller also has a light on it or reflective tape for visibility. The stroller is also a great place to store a safety kit with snacks, band aids, and more.
5. Run With a Group
Running with a group will motivate you when you don’t want to commit to your run, and there’s also safety in numbers. Find a local running group on Facebook or ask your local running store for a recommendation or if they have a group you can join. “This is also a great way you can look at for each other,” Lisa says. “Even if you’re not running together, if you’re running the same routes, you all can let each other know if something looks suspicious.”
Have fun and stay safe on your next run with SABRE running outdoor safety products. Run Confidently!