Yeah, yeah, yeah we have all heard it from parents, spouses, family members, and friends. Be Safe!! Be Careful!! Don’t run alone!! And while we all try to ignore it and refuse to care too much about their concern, the concern is real. There is a reason we hear these words over and over again, which is why I put together a few simple ways runners can be safer on their runs.
Basic Self Defense
I recently attended a running seminar at which a self defense coach taught us a few things about basic self defense that can help anyone any day, especially those that go running or walking alone.
- Make Eye Contact – By making eye contact with the people around you, you show them that you are confident, not weak.
- Posture – Learn to never hunch over. Carry yourself tall when running, walking, anytime; it exudes confidence and power.
First Aid Tips
- Carry Your Phone – You never know when disaster will strike and a cellphone may be the best way to get the help you need. (Take my example of falling and needing stitches while on a trail in Utah for example). If you are curious about how to carry it with you there are a number of bands and carrying cases made just for runners. Check out my gear of the year review to see what I use.
- Bring Band Aids – Some first aid issues on a run can be simply taken care of with a band aid (blisters or minor scratches for example). Stash a few in your pocket or carrying case.
- Stuff Some Gauze in a Pocket – For the bigger falls and issues gauze can be a good way to stop bleeding so you can get from point A to point B and get further help. This may not be necessary on road runs, or shorter runs, but it is something I’ll be adding to my belt for longer runs and trail runs.
Running Safety Apps
Aside from these basic self defense techniques and first aid supplies we also have technology on our side. Discover a few apps that are on your side when it comes to safety and running:
- RunRaegis – This app is a lot like other running apps that allow you to track your run via GPS, the difference on this app is that there is a panic button you can press if something bad occurs during your run. Pressing the panic button sends out an emergency text to any contacts you have put on your list.
- bsafe – This app allows runners to plug in how much time they think their run will take them; if the runner does not check in before the time is up, or end the workout before the time is up bsafe alerts the people on the emergency contact list.
- RoadID App – Many of runners have heard of the wearable Road ID bracelets…now the company has added another measure of safety by creating an app that creates digital breadcrumbs of your run as you go. You as a user can choose who is allowed to follow your runs so that in an emergency they can see the route you have taken. The app also sends out a distress signal to a list of emergency contacts if a runner is stagnant for more than 5 minutes.
- Kitestring – For those without a smartphone, the app Kitestring works well too. Kitestring works much like the app bsafe, except instead of having an app that sets a timer, the app texts the runner after the time is up and waits for a response; if there is no response, the app then texts the other people on a list of emergency contacts.
Running in the Dark
- Run With A Headlamp – Headlamps are an easy way for a runner to see where they are going when it is dark out, and a great way for vehicles to see them.
- Use Reflective Gear – While a headlamp will help oncoming traffic see a runner, reflective gear on the back, butt, legs, and shoes can help vehicles see a runner from behind.
- Keep Your Ears Open – Many people enjoy listening to music or audio books while running, myself included. But when eyesight is impaired by the dark it is important to be able to hear what is going on around you. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you stop listening to what keeps you going on your runs! I’m just suggesting that you turn down the volume a little bit and only use one earbud instead of two.
DISCLAIMER: This blog post is in no way a complete list of safety tips for runners and should only be taken as suggestions. We do not suggest runners ever take risks when running by running alone, in the dark, or in other precarious environments.
Head Coach + Owner