Running Safety

Apr 20, 2012

A friend of mine called and related to me a very sad story that reminded me that life is not fair. That life can down right suck. That sometimes there is no freakin' bright side. And sometimes that little bubble you live in where nothing bad ever happens, bursts.  Without giving you all the sad details, I will tell you that it has given me a new soap box issue. Running Safety.

There are so many things that can happen on a run.

You can injury yourself - twist an ankle or pull a hamstring

You could be attacked

You can be bit by a dog

You can have a medical emergency - heart attack, stroke, etc

You can be hit by a car and the driver may or may not stop to help you

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that from the year 2000 thru 2009, over 4,000 pedestrians* were KILLED in motor vehicle accidents EACH YEAR.  On top of that, over 59,000 were injured EVERY YEAR.  Every year people.  Talk about it being dangerous out there.  And this is just motor vehicle accidents.  It does not include any people who may have had a medical emergency while out running.  *The statistics are not recorded separating runners from any other pedestrians, this is the best I could find - if anyone has something more updated, I would love to see it.

These things make you feel uncomfortable? Good, they should. Now here is what you should be doing to protect yourself:

Stay alert. Be aware of your surroundings. I know this sounds like a no brainer, but you sometimes get into a groove and you are really pushing a half mile goes by and you don't even realize it. Look and Listen for cars, people, animals.

Don't run at night. If you can avoid it. I know our lives are busy and sometimes it just can't be avoided, so if you have to run at night, wear light and reflective clothing. Drivers aren't looking for you, you need to make them see you.  There are tons of things you can wear to make yourself more visible - check out this link.  There are vests, lights, bracelets, there are even slap bracelets - seriously, you know you want one!  Check these things out on the web or at your local running store.

Carry ID. If something does happens to you and you are incapacitated in some way, first responders need to know who you are, when you were born and if you have any medical conditions. They need to know who to contact. I recently bought this fabulous product.

It's called Road ID.  You can see all their products Here .   It is a bracelet that has your name plus emergency contact information on it.  You can also put special medical info on it if that applies.  If you look at the picture, you can see a hint of the silver on the top side of my wrist, that is where this info is.  (I didn't really want to broadcast all my contact info all over the net, hence this picture).  If you don't think you can run with a bracelet on, they have something that goes on your shoe.  I honestly think that no runner should leave home without one of these. Get one. Get one now. Wear it. 

Carry a phone. Yes they are big and bulky and a pain in the ass. Get a fanny pack or get an arm band and get over it. If you are injured and you are able, you need to call for help. Prompt medical attention can make a huge difference.

Run with a partner.

Run with your dog. It's good for both of you.

Take a self defense class. My current knowledge of self defense comes from Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality.  SING.  Solar-plex, Instep, Neck, Groin.  I suppose it is better than nothing, but probably I should be finding Bryn and I a class ASAP.  You can most certainly know that we'll blog about it!

Pause at all intersections and look in all directions for cars. Remember, they are not looking for you. They are likely texting, yelling at their kids, or putting on makeup. Stop worrying about your time and worry about your safety.

Don't wear headphones. Ever get lost in the music when you run? Yeah, that's not good for safety. Obviously, you can't hear cars, people, dogs, etc with headphones in. Unfortunately, I haven't done this one yet, it is a hard one, I need the music to keep me moving.  But I am working on it.

Run against traffic and on the sidewalk.  I know that the road is supposed to be easier on your knees, but it just isn't safe.  In a fight between you and a car, the car will always win.  Always.

Vary your running route.  Don't go on the same path at the same time everyday.  There have been cases where women have been attacked after someone stalked them for a few weeks and learned their patterns.

Let whoever is waiting for you at home know which route you are running.  So should they have to come looking for you, they know where to start.  I always tell the hubby as I am living which way I am going and for about how many miles - that way he knows when and if he should start worrying.

Please be safe when you run.  Be alert. 

Have other tips, leave them in our comments section, we would love to hear them!



  1. Self defense class? I am soooo in! Do you remember the "Roseanne" episode where they take the class? Hilarious. I'm worried I may not be mature enough to kick in the groin without giggling...

  2. Don't worry, I will be giggling with you!


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