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Running should be a wonderful experience. It’s a medium where you can socialize, explore new places, think and lose a couple of pounds. However, there are a lot of things that could harm you if you’re not careful. Distracted drivers, obstacles, and assault are just a few of those things.
But don’t worry! You can do it safely by following these running safety tips.
Running safety basics
- Plan your routes
- Bring an ID
- Don’t bring too much cash
- Run with a friend or in groups
- Learn basic self-defense
- Dress for the weather
Plan your routes
Plan your route ahead of time and choose a route that is already familiar to you. That way, you can easily navigate home, go to a police station or ask for help from people you know when there is trouble.
Bring an ID
Having an ID makes it easier for people to help you when you lose consciousness or get involved in an accident. In addition, some IDs have medical information such as blood type or emergency contact.
Don’t bring too much cash
It’s easy to drop your wallet or your cash when you’re on a run. So don’t bring more than you expect to spend. That way, when you lose something, it’s not a lot.
Run with a friend or in groups
Running with a friend or in groups reduces the chances of getting attacked or robbed. In addition, your friends or group can help you in case you’re hurt.
Learn basic self-defense
This is important not only for runners but for everybody. Learn basic self-defense. You may not need to use it ever, but if you do, at least you know how to defend yourself.
Dress for the weather
Before you run, check the weather. Wear cool clothes on hot days like shorts and a shirt and warm clothes on cold days like jogging pants and long sleeves.
When running on the road
- Don’t run in the dark
- Avoid main roads
- Obey traffic rules
- Use the sidewalk or the shoulder of the road
- Run facing the traffic
- Wear bright-colored clothes
- Skip the earbuds, or wear only one
- Don’t run on rush hours
Don’t run in the dark
Although cars have headlights, it can still be hard to notice people running at the side of the road when it’s dark
To lower the risk of getting side-swept, run only when there’s daylight.
Avoid main roads
Main roads are often the busiest streets of the town. So, when planning your route, avoid main roads. Run only in parks, alleys, and side streets.
Not having to dodge cars, people and obstacles will also allow you to focus on your run.
Obey traffic rules
Even if you’re running at a high pace, you must always respect and obey traffic rules not only for your own safety but also for the safety of others.
Using pedestrian lanes and following the traffic lights are the most basic rules you should follow.
Use the sidewalk or shoulder of the road
Avoid running on the road as much as possible. Use the sidewalks if they’re available. If not, run on the shoulder of the road.
Run facing the traffic
According to studies, facing the traffic decreases pedestrian accidents by 77%. That’s because running against the flow of the traffic allows you to see incoming cars and react accordingly.
Wear bright-colored clothes
When running on the road, you have to dress for drivers to notice you easily. Neon orange, yellow, green, pink, and bright red are some of the most noticeable colors you can wear.
Avoid dark and neutral colors such as dark blue, black, white, and grey.
Skip the earbuds, or wear only one
Wearing earbuds, especially when it’s noise-canceling, makes you unaware of your surroundings. That is why I highly recommend ditching your earbuds when you’re running on the road.
Or if you can’t survive a run without music, consider wearing only one and use only 70% of its maximum volume. That way, you’ll hear incoming cars and horns easily.
Related: Should I Run Without Music?
Don’t run on rush hours
When the streets are busy and people are in a hurry, that’s when you hang up your running shoes to avoid accidents.
When running alone
- Tell someone
- Run only in places you know
- Greet people you come across
- Bring an emergency whistle
- Bring pepper spray
- Bring your phone
- Turn on the GPS tracker
- Stay in populated areas
When running alone, it is important that you inform someone of the route and the time you’ll be running. That way, he/she can easily notify the police in case you go missing.
Run only in places you know
Skip exploring when you’re running alone. Stick to areas you’re already familiar with. That way, you can easily call for help or navigate the streets in case you’re running away from someone.
Greet people you come across
Greeting people along the way with a simple smile or nod makes them familiar with you. That way, when you get in trouble, they’ll be more likely to help.
Bring an emergency whistle
Emergency whistles allow you to call for help easier. Consider bringing one if you go for a run alone.
Bring pepper spray (or any self-defense product)
In case somebody tries to assault or harass you, make sure you have the means to defend yourself. A pepper spray or any self-defense tool will come in handy in such situations. Just make sure you know how to use them.
Bring your phone
Aside from sharing stories on Instagram or taking photos on cool spots, your phone can also come in handy in case of an emergency.
You can use it to call or search for directions. Just make sure your route has good coverage and your phone is charged.
Turn on your GPS tracker
Turn on your GPS every time you run. That way, you and your phone can easily be pinged.
Stay in populated areas
Dark alleys and unpopulated areas are very susceptible to crimes. So when you’re running alone, stay in populated areas. Anyone who has ill intention towards you will think twice about making you a victim in front of dozens of people.
- Run with a friend
- Join clubs
- Mix up your routes
Run with a friend
A good training partner not only pushes you to achieve your goals but also keeps you safe. So, whenever possible, invite a friend to run with you.
Running clubs are a fun and safe way to work out with like-minded people. A quick search of ‘’running clubs’’ on Facebook groups will reveal dozens of them. Also, you can try visiting a running specialty store and ask about running clubs. They usually know groups or host one themselves.
Mix up your routes
Mixing up your routes prevents anyone from catching on to your routine. That way, those who have ill intentions cannot plan their attack.
You can arrange different sets of routes and switch them up daily. Aside from that, you can also switch up your workout time.
When running on trails
- Wear the right trail shoes
- Wear longer clothing
- Bring a first aid kit
- Bring enough food and water
- Beware of snakes
- Don’t touch plants you don’t know
- Don’t approach wild animals
- Slow down on downhills
- Always follow the trail
Wear the right trail shoes
Trail running is fun, but without the proper gear, the trail itself could be the danger you’re trying to avoid.
Sure, you can use a road running shoe, but it doesn’t provide foot protection, stability, and grip like a trail shoe does. If you’re enjoying the trails, invest in a proper trail running shoe.
If you want to know more about the differences between road and trail running shoes, check out this article.
Also, if you’re looking for a good pair of trail running shoes, check out the Salomon Speedcross 5. It has an amazing grip and comfort which will surely give you a good time on the trail.
Wear longer clothing
Longer clothing protects your skin from forest debris, thorns, and other elements that could scratch your skin. It also adds an extra layer of protection to your skin in case you trip on the trail.
Run with someone who knows the trail
Getting lost in the trail without a signal or civilization nearby is one of the scariest things that could happen to a trail runner. If you’re trying out a new route, consider running with a local or a friend who already knows the trail.
Bring a first aid kit (if you’re far from civilization)
It’s easy to get injured when you’re trail running. So, if you’re far from help, consider bringing a first aid kit. You can easily stuff it in a running vest or a belt bag.
Bring enough food and water
Unlike roads, there are rarely stores or houses in the middle of a trail route where you can buy or ask for food and water in case you stayed longer than expected. So make sure you bring extra every time you go on a trail run.
Beware of snakes
Avoid stepping on piles of leaves or running through bushes. You never know what’s lurking under.
Don’t touch plants you do not know
Snakes aren’t the only dangers in the wild. Sometimes, plants bring harm too. In case you’re running in a deep forest, avoid touching plants you’re not familiar with. They may have thorns and toxins that can harm you.
Don’t approach wild animals
Bears look cute and cuddly, but when you approach a wild one, it could end your life. When running in the wild, don’t approach any animal you come across. Some of them may be territorial and will attack you if they feel threatened.
Slow down on downhills
Adrenaline junkies love the thrill of running downhills, but without proper training and gear, it can be dangerous.
So unless you’re trained or confident about downhill running, don’t do it. Especially on an unfamiliar trail.
Always follow the trail
When you’re out for an off-road run, make sure to follow the trail and watch out for trail signs.
Running should be a time to unwind, enjoy the outdoors, and reap the health benefits of exercise. If you follow these running safety tips, it will lower your risk of experiencing negative things happening.
Don’t get intimidated by the dangers of running. It doesn’t take too much to ensure your safety. All it takes is awareness and a little bit of common sense. So put your shoes on and keep running outdoors.