By its very nature, running is a solitary activity. For many of us, hitting the trail or track solo is somewhat of a spiritual experience, one where we can connect with our minds, our music, our surroundings and our bodies. But because of the fact that we do it by ourselves, it can also cause us to feel vulnerable in our surroundings. Following a few key safety tips for running outside can help lessen the likelihood of something going wrong and ultimately keep you safe.
- Stay Visible with Safety Lights — Wearing an LED running light or using a light-up phone armband can help keep you visible to motorists, cyclists, and fellow runners. These handy little tools can also help you see when running in the dark or the rain. Simply pop them off your body or armband and use them as a flashlight.
- High-Visibility Gear is Your Friend — Similarly, wearing high visibility running apparel can help keep you visible to those around you. This is an especially smart idea if you tend to run along the road or on a path that’s heavily shared by cyclists. High-visibility green and yellow are ideal for any scenario where you’re around fast-moving traffic.
- Use Safety Apps — There are many apps you can install on your phone to help ensure that you complete your route without incident. For example, an app called Kitestring checks up on you after a period of time — say, after a half-hour or so — and if you don’t respond, it will send out a personalized emergency message to a designated contact. BSafe, Noonlight, and other apps are specifically designed to keep you safe while running solo.
- Wear a Safety Bracelet — There's lots of new wearable tech out there that you can take with you to help others track your running route. For example, you can use ROAD iD tags and the companion app to provide real-time GPS tracking so designated contacts are able to see where you are at all times.
- Let Someone Know Where You’re Going — In general, if you tend to venture out onto the trail alone, you should always let someone know where you’re going and give an estimate of how long you’ll be gone. Be as specific as possible, even sending a dropped pin. This will help ensure that help arrives sooner should something go awry on your run.
- Choose Your Route Carefully — It’s not a bad idea to stick to heavily trafficked routes when you’re out jogging alone. If you’re concerned about injury, you’ll also want to consider running only on trails with no bike or car traffic and stick to fairly easy terrain. You may be able to gauge some sense of safety by reading reviews on apps such as AllTrails.
As with any activity, running comes with some risk. But there are a few simple things you can do to minimize that risk so you can get out there and sink into the zone without worry. Be sure to follow these safety tips the next time you lace up your running shoes.