Continuing with our mission to share safety tips during National Running Safety Month, today we hear from two Endurance Coaches at Fitness Formula Clubs - a Chicago-based company that has several programs for runners. If you're interested in learning more about the running clubs and training programs - check out the links below!
Running Safely - Tips from FFC Coaches Chris Navin & Cassidy Wall
November is National Running Safety Month and Fitness Formula Clubs' (ffc.com) Endurance Running Coaches want to provide you with some great tips to keep you running safely as the weather gets colder and sunlight becomes sparse. 1. RUN BRIGHT!
Wear bright clothing to make yourself highly visible to vehicles, cyclists and other runners. There are many great innovative products on the market now that feature highly reflective materials including shoe laces, shirts, jackets, belts, gloves, vests, hats, arm bands, cell phone pouches, etc., as well as products that even feature integrated LED lighting systems. It can get dark quickly so be sure to check weather.com or Google local sunrise and sunset times to avoid running unprepared in the dark! You might even want to consider rescheduling your daily run to your lunch break if you live in an area with less daylight in the mornings or evenings. If you do choose to run in the dark, consider wearing a headlamp so that you don’t stumble over any hazards in your way!
2. RUN SAFE!
Run with a reflective race belt that includes a pouch where you can store your whistle and SABRE pepper spray. SABRE is one of the leading Law Enforcement sprays out there, and weighs less than half an ounce. You can even purchase a practice spray to familiarize yourself with how to use a pepper spray product safely! The biggest advantage of pepper spray is that it provides the ability to protect at a safe distance. SABRE even has a “Safety Chick Kit” that includes a personal safety alarm - great for deterring strangers!
3. RUN SMART!
Use a smart device that can allow friends or family to enjoy live tracking of your runs. Timex (One GPS+) and Garmin (Forerunner 620 and 920xt) both have new running watches that can send live tracking updates so someone can always see where you are. If you don’t have a fancy watch or cell phone app, be sure to tell someone whenever you go out for a run, where you're going and when you expect to return. Be careful of posting publicly on social media, however, as that can allow predators to stalk your running schedule.
4. RUN TOGETHER!
Run with a friend whenever possible, perhaps even with a larger group, to leverage strength in numbers so that you are not an easy target. Join a running group or coordinate to run with a friend so that you never have to run alone. Your local health club or running stores are popular places to find running groups. In Chicago, be sure to check out our RunMonster Club at ffc.com/running - a running group that features several weekly run workouts at the various FFC health clubs across the city.
5. RUN QUIET!
Ditch your headphones so that you can hear noises in your atmosphere, whether it be other people, cars or cyclists. As it gets darker earlier, your sense of sight is hindered, so leverage your sense of hearing to be able to hear things around you before you see them. Running without headphones also allows you to better listen to your breathing rhythm and pay attention to your running form. Try to run with softer steps to minimize the impacting force of every stride, and you might even start running more efficiently and avoid stress-related injuries as an added bonus!
Want more tips? Join our FFC RunMonster training group all winter long! One of our favorite fall and winter running routes in Chicago is our weekly Sunday 8 am long run from the FFC South Loop location because the running paths from there are safe and typically plowed year round. We run past many popular landmarks including the Museum Campus, Lakefront path, Soldier Field and Navy Pier, and for longer runs we stretch the route up north to the water trough in Lincoln Park along Cannon Drive near Diversey (one of the few water fountains that you will find turned on and running year round in Chicago thanks to the Chicago Area Runners Association!). After the runs, we enjoy socializing while stretching out at the wonderful club named “Best Gym in Chicago
” and then our “BeerMonster” runners end up refueling with brunch and beers at The Scout Waterhouse + Kitchen - a popular spot for runners from many other local running groups including Fleet Feet Sports and the Scout Run Club.
Always remember to run safe, run smart and have fun out there! Coach Chris Navin is Head Endurance Coach of Fitness Formula Clubs, an 11-time Ironman, and a Level II Certified Coach for USA Triathlon. Chris is also a sub 3:30 marathoner with 19 marathons including 6 Chicago marathons under his belt. You can follow Coach Chris’ TriMonster group online at twitter.com/trimonsters and fb.com/trimonsters
Coach Cassidy Wall is a running coach for the FFC Half and Full Marathon training program as well as a Top Three Illinois Finishers in the Chicago Marathon last year with a time of 2:49:30. She finished the Boston Marathon 2013 as Top Female Finisher in Illinois and she was an All American athlete ranked 5th in the nation at the Foot Locker Nationals.
For more information on FFC’s Endurance Running programs, please visit ffc.com/runningor contact firstname.lastname@example.org