Eleven Ways to Make Your Run Safer

Run­ning is sup­posed to be a release; a great way to expend ener­gy, work through prob­lems, meet goals, find moti­va­tion, and just enjoy some time doing some­thing healthy. So, the occa­sion­al sto­ry about some­one being attacked or hurt while run­ning, whether by some­one else or through their own care­less­ness, harsh­es our mel­low. How­ev­er, it’s an ugly real­i­ty. There are always peo­ple out there who want to ruin someone’s fun, and there are many of us who have just grown com­pla­cent about safe­ty on the run.

It’s time to rem­e­dy that. Here are a few easy things you can do before your next run to help ensure your safety—please give them a try!

Tell some­one your route—and stick to it
Whether you ver­bal­ly describe your route, leave a note, leave the mapped route up on your com­put­er, text a friend, or any com­bi­na­tion of these, it’s essen­tial to let oth­ers know when you’re out run­ning. Items to include in that note include approx­i­mate time you left and where you were head­ed (how long the run will last). If you’re late com­ing home, help will arrive much faster when there’s some­one who can pin­point these impor­tant details.

Dou­ble knot those laces!
It takes approx­i­mate­ly two extra sec­onds to dou­ble knot your shoelaces. It could take any­where from two days to two months to recov­er for tak­ing a face plant on the road from trip­ping over an untied lace. Think about it.

Stretch
This may be the most well-known and obvi­ous way to avoid get­ting unnec­es­sar­i­ly hurt on your run, yet so many run­ners skip this step. Don’t. Again, the few extra min­utes are more than worth avoid­ing hav­ing to take weeks or months off due to a pulled muscle.

Invest in a Roa­d­ID or iden­ti­fi­ca­tion bracelet of some kind
Whether it’s a bracelet, a met­al clip on your shoelace, or a piece of paper with your name and a phone num­ber to call shoved in your pock­et, this infor­ma­tion is invalu­able and could save your life if you are in an acci­dent that puts you unconscious.

Cell Phone
No one walks out the door for a run expect­ing to fall and get hurt, get lost, or get the creepy feel­ing some­one is fol­low­ing them. Hav­ing a cell phone in your waist pouch, back­pack, or jog­ging stroller is an easy rem­e­dy to all of these issues; it keeps help just a sim­ple call away.

Pep­per Spray
A small hand-held tube of pep­per spray can be pur­chased for a few bucks at any sport­ing goods store. This can eas­i­ly fit into a run­ning belt or sim­ply in your hand. Be sure you know how to work it before bring­ing it with.

Bring $20
It weighs prac­ti­cal­ly noth­ing and can fit into an old tube of lip balm. This lit­tle bit of cash is enough to pur­chase emer­gency food/drink if you take a wrong turn and end up run­ning far­ther than intend­ed. It will also like­ly pay for a taxi ride home if you real­ly got lost and are too far to run home.

Don’t Run Alone
Of course, there real­ly is safe­ty in num­bers, so if you can find a run­ning part­ner you enjoy, do it! While many run­ners pre­fer run­ning alone, do con­sid­er bring­ing some­one else along when try­ing out a new route in an unfa­mil­iar area. If you’re one of those peo­ple unwill­ing to share your run­ning with anoth­er per­son, then con­sid­er the next suggestion.

Bring a Dog
The pres­ence of your hairy com­pan­ion is a nat­ur­al deter­rent to most would-be scary cir­cum­stances. If you don’t have a dog, or your dog is one of the few that doesn’t enjoy run­ning, con­sid­er your neigh­bor’s. Many peo­ple pay good mon­ey so some­one else can run their dog. The ini­tial con­ver­sa­tion might seem weird, but will like­ly be greet­ed with excite­ment and grat­i­tude (just make sure the dog is some­what trained to run straight and not chase every­thing that moves — run­ning with a dog that can’t run straight is a total pain, but that’s anoth­er article).

Wear Bright Clothing
Com­mon sense tells us to wear reflec­tive cloth­ing at night, but many peo­ple don’t con­sid­er it dur­ing the day. Bright col­ors nev­er hurt any­one and it might just save your skin if run­ning on a trail with oth­er hik­ers, campers, or hunters.

Wave
at every­one. A per­pe­tra­tor is far less like­ly to pick you as a vic­tim if you’ve made eye con­tact, smiled, and acknowl­edged them, as that also means you could iden­ti­fy them in a line-up.

No run­ner should take his or her safe­ty for grant­ed. Have fun, but take care of your­self out there!