Run Safe09 March, 2014 0 comments
Safety is (and should be) without doubt every runners number one priority. The reasons for staying safe are obvious – avoid danger and prevent injury. Some of the points outlined here may seem obvious, but are vital for keeping safe before, during, and after a run.
Appropriate clothing is needed for safety as well as comfort and to aid performance – high visibility clothing should be worn when running, even in the daytime (running through dark areas such as forest or urban passageways), but failing this, definitely when it’s dark. Essentially this is to prevent collision, people can see you! It also makes you feel safe because you know that you are more visible.
Footwear is one of the most important pieces of equipment in any running sport, and most sports for that matter. It’s absolutely worth investing in a good pair of running shoes that support your feet when running. This doesn’t need to be expensive, but do look out for a few features before making your choice of footwear: Solid support throughout the shoe, particularly around the ankle is essential; an arch is important to support your foot’s natural arch, to prevent the cause of becoming flat footed; ventilation is important for hygiene reasons and to reduce the build-up of sweat (good ventilation also feels refreshing on your feet); a good fastening is found on most running shoes, but be sure to check – try on the shoe to ensure it is not unsteady when you’d run; trying on the shoe will also determine if you find the shoe comfortable – everybody’s feet –are different, so no one pair of running shoes will suit everyone’s comfort.
So we’ve covered clothes and shoes – to finalise on this; make sure you wear enough layers to maintain a stable temperature whilst you run. Thermals are a good way to regulate your body’s temperature whilst you run, but more layers may be needed. On the other hand, be careful not to apply too many layers; it’s tempting to wear warmer clothing at the start of the run when your body temperature is lower, but ‘start with the end in mind’ and consider that your body temperature will increase.
Carrying a mobile phone may seem to be a luxury more so than a necessity, using it as a stopwatch or GPS tracker to help you log your run. But a mobile phone is essential in case of an emergency, to get help. With this in mind, it’s good to have somewhere in your clothing to carry a phone – most new running garment have special phone pockets.
It sounds obvious, but it’s important that your phone is charged. This doesn’t just mean plugging in up to 100% a few hours before a run, but consider the battery life throughout the run – a GPS tracking app will probably consume the most battery life on your phone. Therefore, if your battery is running low, it’s important to prioritize battery power for phone calls in case of an emergency.
The use of music should be carefully considered in any outdoor run: as well as draining battery power from your mobile phone (if you’re not using another MP3 player), it’s a distraction and can be dangerous to cut off your sense of hearing, particularly if you’re running along busy roads or other populated areas. (If you find this really difficult and feel that music is essential to good physical performance, try wearing just one earplug.) However, try to stay off roads as much as possible, sticking to paths and parks. (If you’re running along the road, run against the traffic so you’re able to see oncoming vehicles.) It’s often more enjoyable running in these areas than running along a road anyway.
But even running in paths and parks, watch out for cyclists or other runners. Always stick to one side of the park, this may already be indicated on the path, or widely accepted by your country. Communicate with them, letting them know which way you plan to pass, to avoid a collision.
Carry some cash in case of an emergency. It sounds extreme, but you may need to call a taxi or catch a bus if you injure yourself of a previous injury begins to ache. If you feel severe pain in your run, it’s in your best interest to stop running to prevent further injury. Cash is also useful if you need to buy some water, though it’s advisable to take your own water bottle.
Finally, make sure you’re aware of the route you’re going to take. Perhaps walk through it leisurely in daylight to make yourself aware of the dangers throughout the route, such as an uneven surface. Also consider the changes to the route over time; perhaps plants will become overgrown etc. Again, this is just basic preparation.
To conclude, running safely isn’t difficult, it just requires common sense. You need to consider what you’d need in an emergency, plan what you’re going to wear, and think about what you’ll need to take with you. With these in mind and a bit of common sense, your run will easily be safe to ensure, you avoid danger and prevent injury.