Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Running Safety

As temperatures heat up and the glorious sunshine beckons you outdoors, I thought I'd take a second to encourage you to run (or walk!) safely. What can I say? I'm a safety girl. 

(I couldn't help but think of Pretty Woman when I wrote that, though this blog post will not focus on that type of safety.) Okay, moving on.

Today, Gina's Summer Shape Up called for "scenic cardio"--complete cardio outdoors! So around noon I scooted out the door for a four-mile run to campus and back. Before I left, I noticed my reflection in the mirror, and honestly I looked ridiculous.

But the items I bring with me ensure a safe and healthy run. So let's start with basic safety.
  • Bring your cell phone. This rule is my absolute must, especially when I run or walk alone. I'm by no means a paranoid person, but if I get injured or ever feel unsafe, I want to have a way of calling someone. Even when we just go for a walk, Terry and I make sure to have at least one of our phones. We once went for a short walk around our neighborhood and witnessed a motorcycle accident. I was the first "on the scene" so to speak, but I had no phone and had to direct someone else to call 911. I always think of that incident when we're about to leave the house. You just never know!

I also love all the apps my phone has to offer. I can use MyTracks for tracking our route, check the time, or engage my HIIT timer. To avoid holding the phone in my hand, we bought an arm band that fits the phone and allows me to see and use the touch screen. 
  • Tell someone where you're going and when you'll be back. I make sure to tell Terry my basic route as well as when I expect to be home. Even if it's just a quick text to a local friend, at least you know someone knows where you are. Bonus: You get to brag that you're getting your exercise!
  • Be aware of your surroundings. In West LA, drivers are generally unconcerned with the well being of those on foot. I've had my share of near-misses with cars, even with my constant vigilance. If you run with an iPod, keep one earphone out or keep the volume low. I totally get the desire to crank up your favorite song, but if it in any way distracts you from watching for cars or being aware of your surroundings, it's not worth it! And you know the basic advice about being outdoors: look both ways, wait for the light, blah blah blah...
  • Run in populated areas, especially if you run at night. In our neighborhood, traffic almost never stops and tons of folks are walking around all day, so I feel pretty safe running anytime. If you live in a less dense area, stay on more major roads that you know well. 
And some body safety for good measure:
  • Wear sunscreen. There are too many options out there to pretend to have excuses now. You can buy sweatproof sports sunscreen, so just do it.
  • Warm up ahead of time. Consider my Wake Up Your Warm Up post to help!
  • Bring water for longer runs. I bring my water belt (by Fuel Belt) for anything over four miles.
  • Stretch and cool down after your run. Revisit my Q & A with Heidi (my physical therapist friend) for some advice!
Do you try to run outdoors more in the summer? What are your safety tips?


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  1. Great tips!! I follow them all!

  2. i used to run a lot more in the summer... not so much right now during my hiatus... i think hydration is super important... not just during the run but before and after too!

  3. I dont have tips--YET :-) but Ill be back to see what others share...

  4. Great tips! Running safety is so important.

  5. GREAT tips, Julie! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Such good tips! I am all about safety first!