Did you watch the game?! I’m in firm belief that the day after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday. First order of business when I’m president. Moving on…
Yesterday my knee felt good enough for a run so I headed out around 6:45 a.m. That’s not too early for most people (especially runners) but I try to limit my time spent running in the dark. Especially on the weekend when I’m not in a rush to finish.
Also, there’s the issue concerning safety. Not the “I can’t see in the dark, I’m going to trip” issue. The “sketchy people could be around and I’m alone” issue. I see many articles about running safety that focus on not falling, running in the snow or rain, looking out for ice, etc. Yet no matter the weather, running in the dark can be dangerous. Heck, just running alone can be dangerous. I don’t always like to think about it, but being a college female (and a female in general) it’s something I’m forced to pay attention to.
Am I going to stop running in the dark? No. Am I going to stop running alone? No. But am I smart about where and when I run? Absolutely.
I think a lot of running safety is common sense. Don’t take the candy from the stranger, obviously. But what about that dog heading toward you without its owner? Sometimes your immediate reaction to a situation isn’t the safest option.
In no particular order, here are a few safety tactics I follow:
1. When you’re alone (and especially in the dark), run safe routes where other runners frequent. Sure, I love exploring new areas and going on mini “adventure” runs, but I do those with other people. There are a few popular routes in my area that have designated running paths and I never feel alone.
2. Assume the worst. Assume the car can’t see you, assume the dog is not friendly, assume people won’t just move to the side when they see you. I don’t take any chances running in front of cars, even when they’re stopped at a light, unless I’m 100% sure they see me. Better to run behind them or wait for the cross walk to change than the alternative.
3. Don’t wear headphones OR only wear one ear. I enjoy running with music but I never let myself get fully immersed that I ignore my surroundings. That is for the treadmill. I keep my volume low so I can hear when/if there are people behind me or cars coming.
4. Run with your phone. I’m going to stand in this unpopular camp but for safety reasons. Sure, it’s great running without any gear and feeling “free,” but phones are for more than tracking distance and listening to music. In case of an emergency, whether you’re hurt, feel unsafe or are stranded without a bathroom, a phone is a literal lifesaver. I guess a phone could be used as a weapon too…?
5. Alter your route. Runners are creatures of habit. Same time, same route, same days of the week. As much as I hate to think about it, there are creepers out there who take notice.
6. Go with your gut. Plain and simple. If you feel like something or someone isn’t safe, make the smart call. Runners may be tough, but we aren’t invincible.
-Get a Road I.D.
-Run with pepper spray (I haven’t done this but I know it’s recommended. Does anyone have any experience with this?)
-Find a running group
-Wear reflective gear/headlamp if running in the dark.
Whatever you do, be the smart runner/woman/person I know you are.
What do you do to stay safe while running?
Do you run with your phone?