While it’s not our favorite topic, the fact of the matter is that running can be a dangerous sport. From dodging cars driven by distracted drivers to putting ourselves in a vulnerable position by venturing out solo, to the potential for injury to strike and leave us stranded miles away from home, it’s important to recognize the possibilities associated with what is typically a very fun and safe activity.
We don’t mean to stop you from hitting the pavement — in fact, we’re here to do the opposite! There are a ton of safety features available and precautions runners can take to ensure that every experience on the road ends with a rush of endorphins versus a cry for help.
Here are five safety measures runners can take on their next run.
When it comes to runner safety, technology is a beautiful thing. Strava’s ‘Beacon’ setting allows you to share your real-time location with family and friends so that someone will always know where you are during a run. While a great feature — especially if you plan on running in unfamiliar territory — Beacon is only available to Strava’s Premium members at the moment. The free alternative, however, is simply notifying a friend or family member where, when, and how long you plan on running so if you don’t return in a reasonable time frame, they know where to look for you.
Although no one wants or expects this to happen, the grim reality is that sometimes, illness, injury, or accidents can strike during even the most uncomplicated outings. By wearing a Personalized Identification Bracelet (like a Road ID), your emergency contacts can be easily notified in case you encounter an unexpected obstacle during your route.
Just because you’re an aware and conscientious runner doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone else on the road is being as careful. To help make yourself as visible as possible, especially during dusk or late-night runs, gear up with a pair of Night Trek Tactical Shoe Lights. With easy, clip-on attachments to your shoes, Nike Trek safely lights your way from dusk until dawn. Featuring hands-free, ultra-bright lighting, Night Trek illuminates any cracks, crevices, and obstacles in your path, so you’ll avoid missteps (and potential twisted ankles!) while making yourself more visible. Paired with reflective activewear, you’ll be easily seen by drivers, cyclists, and other runners alike.
For some, running is a time to completely zone out and reset your mind. While ditching technology can be tempting, bringing your phone along for the ride is always a good idea. You’ll want it in case of an emergency, if you get lost, or if you realize — three miles from home — that you actually can’t run through nagging pain in your knee. There’s always the opportunity to turn your phone on airplane mode if you need a technology break — and on the other hand, you’ll be able to take a selfie if the mood strikes. Just remember: Keep earbuds out of your ears so you can listen for oncoming traffic, wildlife, and/or unwelcome visitors.
The grim reality is that running alone can put you in a vulnerable position, no matter how careful you are. In addition all of the above tips and making your profile private on any running tracker or app that you have, another thing you can do to protect yourself is to mix up your route and routine fairly often. By doing so, it’s more difficult for outsiders to predict your schedule or pinpoint a time you’ll be outdoors, alone, with very little resources. And even with an unpredictable routine, it pays to maintain a heightened sense of awareness whenever you’re on the roads.
For more running tips, check out Night Trek’s other articles.