November is National Run Safety Month. As the days are getting shorter that means that it is dark when we are running or walking no matter if we head out the door in the morning or the evening. Instead of letting the darkness get you down, we would love to share some tips and a gear checklist to keep you safe when you are getting out and being active, whether it’s walking your dog in the morning or sneaking in a run after work!
Rule #1: See and be seen.
Wear reflective gear and use lights. Not only do we want cars to see our reflective gear in their headlights, it is equally important for us to see where we are going! Sidewalks, curbs, leaves and sticks have been known to lurk in the dark, waiting to trip us up. Gear like headlamps, handheld flashlights and cap lights are a great source for putting out light. Reflective vests, jackets and shoes, as well as brightly colored clothing with built in reflectivity shine when an external light source like headlights or streetlights are flashed upon them.
Rule #2: Talk it up.
Just shouting, “I’m going for a run!” as we dash out the door isn’t good enough. It is important to tell loved ones or friends that we are going for a run, where we are going and about how long we expect to be gone in case something goes awry. Some Garmin’s offer runner tracking when paired with a smartphone!
Rule #3: Carry a phone and your ID.
Lots of us are running with our phones now, listening to our favorite running playlists but carrying a phone with you has a safety component too. Being able to call someone in case of an emergency is important, as is carrying proper identification. Big River has plenty of storage solutions that are comfortable to use and many that fit larger smartphones. Road IDs can be customized to share information such as a name and number of an emergency contact, any medication allergies and blood type.
Rule #4: Run against traffic and obey all traffic laws.
By following all traffic laws such as stopping at streetlights and crossing at intersections, we remain aware of our surroundings and are also providing a courtesy to those with whom we share the road. Running against traffic (on the sidewalk!) also lets us see what is happening up the road. Remember if you are listening to music with headphones, keep the volume low enough that you are still aware of your surroundings!
Running Safety Tip #5: Run with a group.
Running with a group is a great way to stay motivated during the cold and dark months of winter. It is also safer to run with other people in low light conditions. As a group you are less likely to get approached and in the event of an emergency, there is always someone with you to call for help. Big River offers great opportunities to run with a group all year long.
Running Safety Tip #6: Plan routes in safe, well-lit areas.
Sticking to routes that have well-lit paths and sidewalks is best so you can see! Well-lit areas also tend to have more foot traffic and less chance of crime. Plan your routes ahead of time so you know where you are going!
Running Safety Tip #7: Stay well-hydrated.
Even when the temperatures get cooler, staying properly hydrated is key! We often mis-judge our dehydration when running outdoors in colder weather because we may not sweat as much or feel as thirsty. Or we overdress and then sweat too much because of our layers! When the temperature drops, local parks often shut off their water fountains. Use a hand-held water bottle (bonus points if it’s one that lights up) to ensure you have your own supply!