More runners are coming out of hot-weather hibernation and are hitting the streets and trails to train for fall marathons and 5Ks. And with darker mornings and shorter days on the horizon, now is an important time to re-evaluate your running safety protocol.
Lisa Reichmann and Julie Sapper of
Run Farther and Faster offer their best tips to keep you safe during your fall workouts.
Keep one ear open
While out on a run, it’s incredibly important to be aware of your surroundings, Reichmann says. These days, most people exercise listening to music or podcasts. The distraction makes the minutes go by quickly but could also make you less aware of what’s going on around you.
(Getty Images/John Howard) Reichmann says a simple thing to do is turn down the volume and run with only one earbud in. Some companies even make headphones with a single bud . (Thinkstock)
Stay off of social media
Lots of runners turn to social media for inspiration or to inspire others. But Sapper says think twice before you post something about your next run.
“It’s important to know that every time you run, you take a picture and you check in, you’re letting hundreds or thousands of people know that you are out there on a specific trail, on a random Wednesday,” she said.
Don’t feel like you can’t share your progress. Sapper says just be mindful before doing so, and maybe adjust your social media settings to limit the population seeing your posts. (Thinkstock)
Switch it up
There are a number of reasons why varying your running route is a good idea. Different terrains work different muscles and mixing up your course offers a change of scenery. But switching up your workout is also smart when it comes to safety.
“You don’t need to run the same route every day, and if you feel that it’s the safest route, reverse it. You just never know if someone is watching where you’re going, and to have that variety is always a good thing for safety,” Sapper said. (Thinkstock)
Text or tell someone
Sapper knows that running with a buddy doesn’t always work in a world where workouts are crammed into packed schedules. If you run alone, consider taking your dog or a neighbor’s dog. If a four-legged companion isn’t an option, let someone know when you are leaving for a run and when you intend on returning – especially if you live alone.
Looking for a running partner? Sapper says you’ll likely find one if you join a local running group.
“You’ll meet people who run your pace and do your workouts, where you can find someone to run with.”
But a buddy doesn’t make you invincible. Even if you run with a friend or two, Reichmann says stick to well-lit paths. (Thinkstock)
Don’t run with anything that can be turned against you
You may think running with pepper spray is a good defensive move, but Reichmann and Sapper say it can be turned against you in an attack. Instead, run with an alarm or a whistle to alert others should you not feel safe.
Apps such as
(Getty Images/iStockphoto/LDProd) bSafe and Road ID will set off an audible alarm at the push of a button and even alert others in your network that you’re in need of assistance. (Thinkstock)
Reflective gear is important for all aspects of running safety – especially as it starts to get darker, earlier. Reichmann and Sapper say there are easy and inexpensive ways to make yourself visible to cars and other pedestrians this fall.
Lots of runners have ditched the reflective vest for simpler products such as
reflective armbands and bracelets. RunLites are gloves that are light in weight and contain rechargeable, built-in lights for early morning and evening runners. If your route is on the street, remember to run toward traffic, not with it.
“Always make eye contact, acknowledge the driver before you run in front of the car, because that happens quite often where the driver just doesn’t even see the runner until it’s too late,” Sapper said.
WASHINGTON — August was a scary month for runners and walkers on Loudoun County’s popular Washington and Old Dominion Trail.
One woman reported an
attempted sexual assault, and just a week later, another was approached by a man with a box cutter.
These attacks come at a time when more runners are coming out of hot-weather hibernation and are hitting the streets and trails to train for fall marathons and 5Ks.
Lisa Reichmann and Julie Sapper of
Run Farther and Faster said predatory dangers aren’t limited to the W&OD trail – they can happen anywhere, at any time. And with darker mornings and shorter days on the horizon, now is an important time to re-evaluate your running safety protocol.
Here are some of Reichmann and Sapper’s best tips to keep you safe during your fall workouts.
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