November is National Running Safety Month, a time when awareness is raised over the importance of promoting safety in your running routine. Whether you prefer to run on city roads or backcountry trails, we've compiled a list of the best running safety tips to enhance your physical safety and mental peace of mind. Find out how you can start building your safety toolkit so you can mitigate the inherent risks of running outdoors.
For the early birds or late evening runners, visibility is paramount, not only so you can see where you’re stepping but for others to see you as well. Whether that be cars, passersby or animals that are more active before sunrise. Using a headlamp and wearing reflective apparel is standard, but there are many types of gear worth exploring such as blinking vests or reflective adhesive. It’s important to consider visibility one of the most crucial safety measures you can take.
Plan Your Route
Trails can intensify the need for safety strategies, requiring more forethought and extra preparedness skills. The same visibility rule applies here, but knowing your route will prevent you from veering off your path. It’s a good idea to utilize GPS trackers that will trace your movements. As a safety measure, many platforms like Strava, and gadgets from Coros and Garmin, have the option to preload your route.
Take care to mind the weather forecast when you are planning your run so that you can pack the appropriate gear, such as a rain shell, buff, or hat and gloves. Be prepared for a surprise storm by carrying an extra layer and enough water to reasonably last you in the event of an emergency. Running in the right gear for the weather will increase the likelihood that you’ll stay safe.
Another simple way to increase your awareness is to lose the earbuds. Having the ability to listen for hazards is a critical safety component. If you love listening to music or podcasts while running, consider bone induction headphones which are built so you can hear background noise and your favorite audio simultaneously.
Safety in Numbers
Try not to dismiss the idea of running in groups or with a friend. Run clubs are undoubtedly safer than running alone. Respect the principle of safety in numbers, especially if you’re running in new neighborhoods or trails. If you prefer to wholly focus on your run and having company sounds like a run wrecker, seek a running partner with a similar disposition.
Share Your Location
Designate a friend or family member who will always know your running plans, where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone. This way, someone will come looking for you if you find yourself needing help. Injuries are common and can impair your ability to help yourself. Depending on someone to look after your whereabouts while running outdoors could be invaluable in case of emergency.
Trust Your Instincts
If something feels off, trust that it is. Your instincts are an evolutionary faculty designed for survival. If you notice early signs of an injury or feel suspicious of others, make choices accordingly to protect your safety. Call a friend, change direction and seek open or populated areas.
National Running Safety Month is not only about taking preventative measures to ensure your safety but it’s also about honoring your love for the sport. Celebrate National Running Safety Month by organizing a group run with friends this month or begin sharing your location with a friend or family member. You can also support your local running store by purchasing a new piece of personal safety gear.