Running is my exercise of choice. More than anything, I find it great for my mental health, so I’m always determined to keep up the habit whatever the time of year.
In the winter months, this throws up some safety concerns for me. With it getting darker earlier, I feel more nervous to head out for a run. I really shouldn’t have to feel this way – no person should have to feel this way – but such is the way of the world at the moment; it’s sensible to be cautious.
The good news is that we can take practical actions to offer more security for us roadside runners, and I’m going to share them with you today…
5 Smart Ways to Keep Safe Whilst Out Running
#01 Let someone know
It’s as simple as letting someone know when you’re going, where you’re going and how long you’ll be going for.
If you can, take your phone with you. Some phones and apps enable you to share real-time GPS data.
Taking your phone also allows you to call if you get into any trouble. A few times now, I’ve tripped over my own feet and taken a nasty (as well as slightly embarrassing) tumble, which is manageable when I’m only up the road, but when I’m miles away, hobbling home is no joke. If I’d had my phone, I could have called for someone to come and get me or signalled for serious help if needed.
Good to Know: Familiarise yourself with the Emergency SOS feature on your phone. iPhones can emit a loud siren, automatically call the emergency services and notify my emergency contacts with a text.
#02 Stick to well-lit areas
It’s always better to run during daylight, but I appreciate that’s not always possible. In the absence of daylight, stick to well-lit areas. If you can make those reasonably populated, well-lit areas all the better. Try to avoid alleys, woodlands, or any place you wouldn’t feel comfortable in regularly.
#03 Be seen
Wear bright, reflective clothing that road users will easily see. And if you so fancy it, why not think about getting a head torch?
Top Tip: Turn down your music – as much as road users need to see you, you also need to be able to hear them. If you can, run without any music at all, especially at night. However, if, like me, that’s a request too far for you, either turn it down or only wear one headphone. Hearing road users – or even people – approach will help keep you safe whilst out running.
#04 Vary it
Avoid predictability in your runs. Vary your route, day and time of run where possible. It never hurts to mix things up anyway – it keeps exercise a lot more interesting!
#05 Get Social
If no running friends or loved ones spring to mind, why not join a local running club? They’re particularly great in the winter months, and you’ll get to meet and train with like-minded individuals.
Safer to go!
Whilst nothing can guarantee your 100% safety whilst out running (I’m a prime example, my own two feet cause me to trip over) taking these safety precautions will help you stay safer as well as taking a bit of wintertime stress out of your run!
I hope you’ve found these 5 tips helpful to keep safe whilst out running. Are you currently a runner? How do you feel about running in the winter months – do you take extra precautions? Whatever you’d like to say – or ask – please do! I’m happy to help and I always love to hear from you.