Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Safety on the Morning Run

Happy Tuesday friends!

I don't know if you've noticed, but the days are getting shorter, and the mornings are getting darker.  This means that for the majority of us, we're running in the dark.  This year, I have transitioned into a morning runner, and I've picked up a few safety tips along the way.  I wanted to share some of my advice for staying safe during morning runs, but these tips can really be used for running at any time of the day.  I hope that you all find my tips helpful, and I would love to hear your best tips for staying safe!

Running Safety Tips



Make Sure You Can Be Seen

My number one tip is a very obvious one- be seen!  Now that it's dark during more running hours, wearing reflective clothing is a must.  Last year, I got a reflective vest from the Nike outlet that cost me less than $10 (here's a similar one), and it's made me feel really safe on my runs.  If I'm going to the track in the morning, I also wear a headlamp to offer more visibility.  I talked about some of my favorite bright clothing in my fall wishlist post if you're interested in reading more!

fall running clothes

Be Prepared for the Worst

Last year, my mom bought me a small handheld can of mace for running on the trails alone.  At the time, I thought it was useless because I always felt safe running by myself- there were always SO many people out!  However, I feel so much more secure when I have that little handheld, especially in the morning when there's not a lot of people out and it's dark.  I know that the chances of someone attacking me are slim to none that early in the morning, but I would rather be safe and never have to use the mace, then leave it at home and regretting not having it.  (Plus, it's cute and pink!)

Tell Someone

The night before my run, I've gotten in the habit of plotting out my run.  This not only helpful for me (the last thing I want to do at 5AM is figure out where I can run for 5 miles) but it also makes me feel safer.  I keep the route up on my computer so that Dan can see exactly where I'm running, and I make sure I let him know when I leave.  In case anything happens to me, he'll know where my route was!  I like to use Gmap Pedometer, which also shows trails and elevation.


Run on Busy Roads

There are so many benefits to running on busy streets! Not only do I feel safer when there are lots of cars around me, but the road is usually lit up from street lights.  I've also noticed that the main roads around my neighborhood have bike lanes that runners always use in the mornings so you don't have to worry about tripping on a crack in the sidewalk (or slipping on ice in the winter), and they tend to be better maintained than side streets.  Plus, the chance of seeing other morning warriors is greater, so you won't feel quite as crazy.

Find a Buddy

This tip is a two-for-one.  Not only is there safety in numbers, but you'll also be more accountable to wake up and run.  I, sadly, do not have any running friends in my area that want to run before the sun is out (any readers out there want to be my buddy??), but this would be a great motivator for me.  Who wants to let down a friend, particularly in the morning before they've had their coffee?  NOT ME! 


If All Else Fails...

...Run indoors!  Sure, treadmills are referred to as dreadmills by the majority of the running community, but we can't deny how useful they are.   Not only are you protected from the elements, but you're also (hopefully) in a safe building for your run.  Some gyms, like mine, also offer indoor tracks and pools that are an excellent alternative to running outside.  In the winter, I do all of my speed work indoors!  When I have get to run on the treadmill, I still make sure that I tell Dan where I'm going and when I should be back.  Safety is always #1 in my mind, no matter where I go!


What are your tips for running safely?
Who else is a morning runner?
linking up with Tuesdays on the Run

25 comments:

  1. Well, obviously I don't run but I do agree with that point about make sure people can see you! I have been completely taken off guard when driving at night and a runner sort of jumps out of nowhere and they're in dark clothing. It's crazy and so risky!! Congrats on transitioning to a morning work out person though! It's not easy to change what your body is used to but I do love getting my workout done in the morning!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's great to hear advice from the other side! I'm always super nervous about crossing roads or driveways because I've heard tons of stories of runners getting hit just because the driver isn't paying attention or didn't see them. Now I'm overly cautious and pretty must stop to make sure no one's coming!

      Delete
  2. Safety lights are a must. Just this morning, I was driving in to work and saw a bicycle because they had all the safety lights to be seen.

    And these dark mornings are REALLY making it tough to wake up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know!! I hate getting up and running in the dark, and getting back and it still being dark. Not fun, but then I feel even more proud for getting up early :)

      Delete
  3. I have never been a morning running and probably never will be but he's are great tips. Even during the day I still like running on busy streets to see people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never thought I would be a morning runner but once I started I got hooked! Being safe is important no matter what time of day :)

      Delete
  4. I always run in the morning, but often times I will hit the treadmill since I run before the sun rises. In the summer it's not so bad, but once fall hits and the sun isn't up until 6, it makes for some dark scary mornings = Jamie falling on the sidewalk and being clumsy! Haha. Great tips :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ouch ! If I had my own treadmill I think I would run on that more often when it's dark, but my gym is a mile away anyway, so I just run outside. Sometimes I feel weird running in the dark, but also kinda hardcore ;)

      Delete
  5. I don't like running in the morning but it's quickly becoming a necessity as my days get busier and busier. Running in the bike lane is a great suggestion, and really true. I'm hyper aware of drivers that text and drive though. I've had to jump onto the sidewalk a couple of times! Andrew just bought dog spray because he nearly got attacked by dogs on the trails the other day. And I've had a couple of altercations with creepy men lately too. I've been running for 20 years and I've never had these problems!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your creepy stories have definitely made me be more cautious! I try to be really cautious when I run in the morning and pay more attention to cars in case I have to get out of the way. Always important to keep in mind!

      Delete
  6. These are great tips. I see so many people running in the dark that have on DARK clothing, so dangerous! I don't mind running at night because there are people out, but being out early is scary to me...I think I need to pick up that mace!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's just dumb! I don't understand that at all. Funny how you're more scared of running in the morning..I'm the opposite and never run at night anymore! In my area there are always tons of runners and bikers out which is great!

      Delete
  7. Great tips, Gretchen!! I usually run in the mornings, simply because my motivation decreases as the day progresses :P. I used to carry pepper spray with me...should get back to doing that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same here! Now I dread going home after work and STILL having to go run. Always best to get it out of the way early!

      Delete
  8. Thanks for the tips. I think it is best to run with someone else. Even if you have pepper spray, you probably would not have time to use it. I am only saying this because I do not want people thinking that because they have it they are safe. Most of the time if someone attacks you, you immediately freeze. The likelihood of someone attacking you if you are with someone else is very slim. I was a police officer and I know how perps operate. THanks for sharing
    bakingrunner.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great tips Heather! It's great to hear advice from a police officer.. you probably have some great tips for running safety :)

      Delete
  9. Great tips! I am an early morning runner but I do wait until it's just about light before going outside. I hate this time of year when it is so dark until well after 6!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same here! Unfortunately if I run in the morning I don't have a choice and have to go before it's light out. Thank goodness I live in a safe area and hopefully all of my tips will come in handy :)

      Delete
  10. I'd really like to take a self defense class. I think I have seen that Elite Runners sometimes has a self-defense class for runners, so I need to look for when they have it again. The only time I have ever been mugged was when I was carrying mace...in my purse. I think it has to be in your hand to be effective, and I can't stand carrying things in my hand while running. I think running on busy roads is a great idea, but unfortunately when I ran on roads last winter when the trail wasn't clear, I had numerous encounters of guys yelling rude things to me from their cars. So, no roads for me. :-( My tip for running on trails is, aside from wearing a headlamp, to not wear headphones to be very aware of who's around you and to not be afraid to check that people aren't following you. I seldom see non-runners on the trail, aside from those obviously commuting to work, but this morning I encountered 3 men on a very dark part of the trail, one of whom refused to move over and let me pass. I picked up my pace and charged right toward him and he eventually moved over an inch, but afterward I kept looking back over my shoulder to make sure they weren't following me. If they had been, I know that there are many industrial businesses on that part of the trail, and they're always working at that hour, so I knew I could shout and/or run to them if I needed to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for all the great tips Jennifer! What a scary story...I'm glad you're OK and please stay safe! If I hear about a self defense class I'll let you know and maybe we can take one together!

      Delete
  11. Such great tips!! Morning runs can be scary when it's still dark!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for these tips! I'm really impressed that you have the motivation to run that early in the morning - good for you! I think it would take a runny buddy to get me out of bed that early for a run :)

    My dad bought me reflective snap bracelets that you can put on your ankles or wrists. Cute + clever!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lauren! I have to admit that I don't have a ton of motivation, so some days it's tough, but once I'm awake I will always be happy to run. Those snap bracelets sound like a great idea!

      Delete
  13. seriously though, i am terrified of running outside when it is dark, which is basically from now till march when i want to run in the morning. i hate the treadmill, but at least i'm safe!

    ReplyDelete