Monday, June 2, 2014

8 Tips for Safe Running

This weekend, my wife had a pretty gnarly fall during her morning run. To make matters worse, she had our daughter in the jogging stroller with her. Fortunately, she had her phone and was able to call me right away while another family helped treat their wounds at the local 7-Eleven (Oh thank heaven!) 

Besides a few cuts and bumps, they are both safe. After a good dowsing of hydrogen peroxide and a nice coating of bacitracin, they should heal nicely, too!

But that got me thinking - many people, including myself, could use a refresher on how to run safely outside. Especially with nicer weather in our forecasts.

The Basics:
1) Face traffic – This was the first rule that I was taught back in 9th grade by my cross country coach. By facing traffic you can see what’s coming. This will help you get out of the way quickly if needed and gives you a better sense at how crazy some drivers actually are. If you run with traffic, it might be too late to hear them coming. 

2) No headphones – Speaking of hearing, I hate the new trend of people who cannot run without music or an app constantly telling them how they are doing. If you need them stay on the treadmill, track, or closed course. My previous comment about crazy drivers goes for runners, as well. If you are on the streets with headphones on, you are completely disconnected from your surroundings - cars, fire trucks, loose dogs, other humans, nature, and yourself. I could break down each one, but that would take entirely too long… especially the last two.

3) Clothing – Ideally everyone has lightweight, moisture wicking materials for summer and ventilating, warm clothes for the winter. Throw in reflective and light-up outfits for dawn and dusk and your good to go. Unfortunately, that can get expensive and there are many brands fighting for your hard earned dollars. Look around and do some research before buying some clothes and look for sales. Also, check out your local running store and give them support! Finally, remember that fashion is nice, but you really want something that will grab the attention of others (safety, not ego) and protects you from the elements.

4) Hydrate - It's summertime. It is hot outside. Your body sweats to cool you down. The harder you work, the more you sweat. It's really pretty basic. Drink water throughout the day and when you come back from (or during) your run. Flirt with alternatives like gatorade, powerade, or electrolyte tabs, too. Find out what works best for you. Remember, many foods are rich in water, too!

Not so basics:
5) Tell someone – If you are going out for a run, give somebody a heads up. Let them know where you are going and how long it should take. That way, if something happens they can drive the route and look for you. In lieu of this, a cell phone is handy as well. Just remember, accidents happen and you might not always be able to call someone when in need.

6) Check your equipment – Do a double take over your outfit. Are your shoes tied? How are the soles? Did you check the tires on your jogging stroller? Is the strap around your waist secured tightly? Do you need sunglasses? All of these things can cause potential hazards. Additionally, they can all be fixed in a cheap and quick way.

7) Be identified – Carry a card or ID that establishes at least your name. If you can get your address and an emergency contact on there, that would be even better!

8) Be cautious – Be cautious, but not paranoid. Not every car is going to have a neglectful driver. Not every person is a serial killer/rapist. Not every street is horribly paved. Not all dogs are rabid maniacs. However, be aware. Having a plan of action could save your life. Develop one before you run and as you run. Think about how if things go south, what you could do to survive. Again, I’m not saying to be paranoid, just be cautious… I swear I am usually a half-full kind of guy!

I hope you found these tips to be helpful! I’m sure there are more, so I’ll leave that to you! Feel free to share/comment below so that we can all enjoy the beautiful weather safely!