20 RUNNING SAFETY TIPS

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RUNNING GEAR AND VISIBILITY

1. Wear some sort of reflective vest in all weather conditions.  A reflective safety vest is a good choice, as it covers the largest surface of your body.  You could wear a reflective running gear such as a belt but just make sure your clothes don’t cover it.  Reflective ankle bands are a good addition in aiding high visibility to other road users.

2. Choosing the right running shoe is a must in order to prevent injury and ensure you perform at your best.  There are many to choose from, in various price brackets.  The wrong running shoes can cause injury to your feet, ankles, knees and hips.

3. For added visibility, pick a pair of running shoes which have reflective strips.  Motorists will be able to pick up your shoes instantly in their headlights in conditions of poor visibility or at night.

4. Choose clothing that wicks moisture away from your skin.  Fabrics, such as cotton, are a bad choice as they hold on to the moisture and feel uncomfortable.  The same goes for socks, cotton socks retain moisture and are therefore more likely to cause blisters. 

GENERAL RUNNING TIPS

1. Try and run on soft surfaces, such as grass or gravel, rather than tarmac or concrete – this will reduce the pressure on your ankles, knees and hips.

2. Stretching is integral part of your running programme.  Start your run with a warm up which may be walking which gradually increases in pace to a run.  At the end of your run, slow it down to a walking pace and then stop to stretch.  It is important that you stretch your calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, triceps, hips and lower back, abdominals and arms.

3. Start your running programme slowly to avoid injury.  Your initial enthusiasm may mean that you over train in too short a period of time. Gradually build up your speed and the time you spend running over at least one month.  The general rule is don’t increase your distance by more than 10% per week.

SAFETY ON THE ROAD

1. The most important rule to follow when running on a road is to be aware of everything around you.  That means you must not use your cell phone or plug those headsets in and listen to your favourite music or radio programme.  You need to be able to hear an approaching vehicle or bike, or a horn warning you to get out of the way!  If you really cannot live without your music, then set it on a low volume and plug into one ear only.

2.      Unlike other road users, runners and walkers should walk against the traffic.  This makes you and your reflective running vest, much more visible to traffic than if you are running in the same direction as they are travelling.  It also allows you to see and react to vehicles approaching you.

3. Don’t run alone.  Attackers are far less likely to approach two or more runners.  It’s great to have a running buddy; it keeps you committed and  motivated and makes you get out of bed on those mornings when you’d rather stay under the covers. If you prefer running on your own, then take a large dog with you to deter any attackers.  This is another reason for not listening music – smart phones, I-pods etc are highly desirable items.

4. Change your route every few days.  Apart from the boredom factor, it is wise to run different routes so would be stalkers can’t anticipate your whereabouts.

5. Leave all your valuables at home.  You don’t need to wear any jewellery while you are running and that includes your watch.

6. Problems can arise if you are driving to your starting point.  What do you do with your car keys?  There are special magnetic boxes for keys, which you can attach somewhere underneath your car, rather than carrying the keys with you.  This is a much smarter choice.

7. Try not to run on deserted trails or sparsely populated areas.

8. It’s a sensible idea to carry a noise maker.  These emit an ear-piercing sound which not only upsets any would-be attacker but also alerts other people in the area.

9. If you are running at night, it is a good idea to wear a head torch which will not only light up the path in front of you but will also alert other road users.  Obviously, you should also be wearing reflective gear.

10. Be careful at junctions and traffic lights.   Just because a vehicle isn’t indicating that it is going right, it may be doing just that.  Rather wait and see where the vehicles are going before you cross the road and continue your run.