By Karen Kwan
We’ve just turned back the clocks this month, and with it getting darker earlier, taking extra steps to ensure your personal safety during your outdoor runs is critical. Stay out of harm’s way while exercising outdoors with these safety tips:
Invest in some reflective clothing, straps and/or lights. Our pick? Stella McCartney for Adidas winter running gear with reflective leopard spots.
Leave your MP3 player at home. Although music may help motivate you during your workout, even if you are making an effort to be aware of your surroundings, it is a distraction. If you must have music, keep the volume low enough so you can hear the vehicles and people around you.
Bring your cell phone out on your run. You may find it too bulky or heavy to have on you during your job, but if you slip and injure yourself, you’ll be glad you have it. At the very least, bring a quarter so you can use a payphone (however, keep in mind, you may not be near a payphone should an emergency situation arise).
Change up your route. If you head out to run the same route at the same time every day, it makes it easy for someone who’s been watching you and looking to bring you harm. Besides, switching your route will present you with different terrain to contend with, giving your muscles a different workout.
Find a workout buddy. A thug may be less likely to attack if you’re out exercising with someone. Besides, having a friend to run with can help motivate you to train on those cold, dark evenings. If you must run alone, let someone know where you are going—leave a note for your roommate or text your best friend. You may also want to consider carrying a personal alarm, such as ila SPORT—this 130-decibel siren alarm is also a pedometer and calorie counter.
Run facing traffic. This way you can be aware of the cars approaching you and have a better chance of getting out of a vehicle’s way.
Bring your health card so that you have some sort of personal identification on you. If you were to slip on some ice and be knocked unconscious, an EMT or good Samaritan walking by will be able to ID you.
- Exercise during daylight hours whenever possible. Consider getting your run in during your lunch hour if you can.