Running is an enjoyable way to get fit and lose weight. I, myself, do my early morning runs when my hectic schedule permits. As my running techniques improve, it became a pleasurable activity to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
However, running outside has its cons, too. I was startled to read from fellow runners Sir Amado and Jonel about their own share of bad experience during their early morning runs. Sir Amado describes in his blog Runnning Safe how he was almost hit with a “flying paper bag” of “what have you” inside by some noisy guys in a speeding FX. Jonel’s blog entitled Cheap Shot relates his chance meeting with a “wingless chick” which left a red mark on his upper chest. Jonel thought he was having another time of his day taking his 4:20 a.m. run when somebody threw a raw egg at him hitting him in his chest.
What are these persons up to, anyway? Is that their idea of “fun” – harming innocent runners?
Though I didn’t encounter the same fate with Sir Amado and Jonel, still I should be concerned with my road running safety. Regardless of the time of the day, how can we feel better and generally safe while doing our outdoor running? Here are some safety running tips to consider.
1. Be alert when running alone. Many runners are verbally assaulted or physically harassed by motorists and cyclists. It’s equally important to pay attention to your surroundings for you to have a quicker time to react.
2. Take your runs in well-lit, well-traveled areas during night time. For night jogging, have someone accompany you or run with a group. You can bring along your dog because dogs bark and make noise. More so, consider carrying a whistle or pepper spray, especially for women.
3. Avoid playing loud music using your headphones. Especially in isolated areas and while running alone, you will not be able to hear somebody approaching you.
4. Be friendly with strangers but use your own discretion in acknowledging them. Turn back or prepare to yell for help when somebody feels suspicious. If you think you are being followed, run as fast as you can to a safer place or to a nearby police officer!
5. Avoid isolated paths that have lots of trees or unpopulated areas like parks, bike trails, non-residential streets or deserted tracks especially at nights. It’s easy for someone to hide around corners, in the trees or bushes and parked vehicles.
6. Check out for loose clothing like jacket or sweatshirt hood. Attackers will look for something to grab on their victim. Also, it’s easier to attack victims who have ponytails.
7. Let somebody know where you will be running. Inform them the route you will take and how long it will take you.
8. Wear light colored clothing so that you will be visible to motorists, cyclists and other runners. Light colored clothing reduces your chances of being hit by a passing car. However, don’t assume that the drivers can see you especially at nights. It’s still wise to stay off the roads or take the side of the street where cars are heading opposite your direction.
These safety running tips seem like common sense. It’s very seldom that you will encounter something dangerous while on the road but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
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