Saturday, January 17, 2009

Safety on the Run

No matter what your experience level, all runners should take some time to think about their safety while running. In general, running is pretty safe, but depending on the time of day you're running, the time of year, and your location a variety of safety concerns may need to be addressed. It's the runner's responsibility to make himself/herself visible especially when it's dark.

Running in the early morning or in the evening can be especially hazardous. If at all possible, try to run in well lit areas. If that's not possible or you have intermittent areas of darkness, try wearing a headlamp. With the dawn of more powerful batteries and LED bulbs, these handy contraptions are very effective and affordable. The price range varies greatly, but I actually purchased mine for around $25 at Target and have used it for the past two years with great results. Also, wear reflective clothing and/or a reflective vest. Eastbay currently has a Running Safety Set from Nike for $6.99 (reg. $21.99). The set includes a pullover reflective vest and an armband light that can be set to flash or steady beam.

The best case senerio is to never run alone. Not only is it safer, it's usually more fun. But, running with a buddy is not always realistic. So, if you're running solo, there are a few precautions to take. Just like a pilot submitting a flight plan, runners should let others know where they'll be running. I have several different routes I run. Some are in my neighborhood, some are at the local park, and my longer runs take me down a nearby greenway. Each time I run, I make sure someone in the family is aware of where I'm running. I also try to tell them approximately how long I'll be gone. This way if I don't show back up at home by a certain time, they'll know something may have gone wrong as well as where to start looking for me.

A company called RoadID makes a variety of running identification products that provide your name, address, and other vital information. The IDs are sold in a variety of formats—Wrist ID, Ankle ID, Necklace ID, Shoe ID, Shoe Pouch ID. In the event of an accident, if you can't speak for yourself, the RoadID will. They also have a new version of the product called RoadID Interactive which allows you to build a fully updateable, secure Emergency Response Profile (ERP) that is available to first responders 24 hours a day 365 days a year. To check out all of RoadID's products, just click on the RoadID icon on the right-hand side of the blog.


butcept said...

Excellent Post!

I usually have others who I run with but two things happened to me last year that were very bad decisions. Both times, people knew what I was doing, but still, NOT SMART.

One day, rain was forecasted and I hadn't run my morning run. I tried to get my run in BEFORE the rain started. I went to a greenway that is not really a great place to go solo, but it was 3ish in the afternoon, so I expected more people.

They were not there. And I went out four miles, turned around and a lighting storm hit. There is no shelter (I knew this), it's isolated, flooding happening and a tree was felled by lightning. I book to get back, which "book" is relative to your weather conditions and barriers on your path (water, tree, sheets of rain blocking your view).

I made it back to shelter (underpass) and met one biker who got caught in the rain. I left him to get into my car that had been broken into while I was all alone. Shards of glass everywhere and my so-called-hidden purse GONE.

Second time: not as bad but just as stupid. Hit another greenway that is isolated, but often-used. Hit it at 4:30, thinking I can get my five miles in before darkness hits. Again, go out 2 1/2, then darkness hits and I run a total, pitch black greenway back to my car.

THINK...THINK...THINK. I hope those are my last two stupid acts of running-without-a-net.

RunnerDude said...

Thanks! Man, those were some close calls. I've had a few of them myself. I've run a few times down our greenway by myself too, and I often get this creepy feeling of what if... We had a scare with rabid animals in the area a few summers ago. I was running once in the park and this unusual dog-like creature ran across the road in front of me about 20yds ahead. It stopped in the middle of the road and looked at me then sauntered on across. Another runner was coming towards me about 20yds on the other side of the animal. After it passed and the runner and me passed we both said, "What was that?" I emailed the park ranger to see if there were any coyotes in the park. I definitley wasn't a dog and too big for a fox. He said there were none in this area. Two weeks later on the news I saw where a lady was attacked in the park by a rabid coyote! There was also the time I got too close to a female Canadian goose sitting on her nest (not knowing it) and the father didn't like it and attacked me in flight! Almost knocked me down. Then there was the time I ran by a loose bull and the time I got stung in the mouth by a bee and ended up in the urget care place with a swollen throat! LOL!! And I live in the city. Ain't running fun!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I came here to post that I just ordered the running vest and arm band and to thank you for the heads up on that. But after reading the running adventures of you and butcept, I think I'm too scared to ever set foot outdoors again. LOL. I think I'll just spin away on my treadmill, safe from everything but my cats who will attack when it's time to be fed.

RunnerDude said...

Oh Dena, where's your sense of adventure? You know the other day at the gym, I saw a guy on a treadmill drop his towel, trip, and fall off. Guess that's not as bad as being hit in the back by an angry goose in mid-flight, but he did look dazed. LOL!

Mr. Petes said...

Adidas makes some cool long sleeve running shirts that have reflectors on the arms. I like these better than having to put on something that adds weight to what my legs need to move. Anyways, I really like your blog and read it daily. I also recently started my own running blog and hope you'll check it out:

Keep up the good runs!!

RunnerDude said...

Hey Mr. Petes! Thanks for the kudos. Checked out your blog last night. Good stuff! Look forward to reading more. Thanks for the Adidas tip!