Runners exercise extreme determination, whether training for 5K charity fun runs or big-city marathons. That often means lacing on sneakers to pound the pavement or tread the trails in unfamiliar territory. What quick safety precautions are most important for runners to take?
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Here are 10 safety questions for runners to ask themselves before stepping out for a jaunt.
- Who can I take along for the run? A running companion can make the miles more merry, while also adding safety and security.
- What’s the local weather forecast? It’s surprising how many runners don’t check before setting out for a long trek.
- Is my cell phone charged and ready? This may be the most important safety device a runner carries. Besides providing music and camera capabilities, a smart phone will likely have GPS tracking. Pedometer applications even count miles. And a cell is a lifesaver, if emergency assistance is needed.
- Do I have my reflective gear? Safe runners wear clothing that makes them easy for motorists to spot, no matter what time of day they go. Reflective patches on shoes and other gear help a lot. Smart athletes also stick to well-lit areas with good visibility.
- Am I carrying personal identification? A running pack or armband is handy for holding a driver’s license or ID card. Runners with special medical needs may wear specific bracelets or lanyards or carry information cards. Increasingly, runners are sporting ROAD ID wristbands containing their identification and emergency contact information.
- Do I have enough water? For longer runs, some folks plant water bottles in certain spots along the way or identify drinking fountains that may be available for refills.
- Will I need a snack along the way? Mid-run nutrition is essential on longer trips.
- Have I told anyone where I am going? Even a runner who lives alone or is flying solo while out of town can send a quick text to a friend or family member to indicate the expected running route.
- Can I find my way home? A predetermined running route or mapped loop can be essential for out-of-town miles. A GPS device (or smart phone app) can do the trick nicely.
- Do I need added protection? Many runners carry pepper sprays and whistles for potential protection against wild animals or dangerous strangers.
These precautions are particularly pertinent for those running after dark, far from home, or in potentially dangerous areas.