If you’re a runner, you’re already taking steps to do what’s best for your body (no pun intended). Running takes motivation, endurance, and commitment, and the health benefits of running regularly are well worth it. You probably know all about proper form, breathing techniques, and footwear—but have you ever thought about your body’s safety in a broader sense?
Running is a smart move to improve your health, but when you’re out running, you also need to focus on your safety. Here are 12 tips for runners to help you stay safe.
1. Don’t run in the dark. Impaired vision creates a safety hazard for everybody, not just runners, and it’s easier for someone to hide and attack you under cover of darkness.
2. Keep your ears open. Don’t rely entirely on your eyesight to keep you safe while running. Your eyes might miss signs of danger that your ears might pick up on, so it’s safest to run without headphones or earbuds.
3. Run against the flow of traffic, not in the same direction. This one may seem obvious to some, but beginners often aren’t aware of this running rule. It’s the opposite of bicycling, which should be done with the flow of traffic.
4. Obey traffic signals and look both ways before crossing the road. This tip may also seem obvious, but it requires you to be fully alert and aware of your surroundings—a concept that might be new to those used to letting their minds wander while they run.
5. Verify right-of-way. Always make sure the driver sees you and recognizes your right-of-way before crossing in front of a vehicle.
6. Switch things up, but know where you’re going. Have more than one planned route and vary it randomly each time you run. If your routine is too predictable, it’s easier for criminals to figure out where and when to intercept you. However, it would help if you run in areas familiar to you whenever possible so that you know exactly where to go and what to do in an emergency.
7. Avoid dangerous areas. Stay away from empty streets, overgrown or unused trails, unlit alleys or parking lots, and areas with hazards like road cones or uneven pavement.
8. Make sure someone knows where you are. Write down or draw a map of your running routes, and always let someone know which one you’re taking and what time you expect to be back.
9. Carry an ID. If you’re ever injured and admitted to the hospital, an ID will help the staff determine whom to contact and how best to care for you. A medical alert bracelet is even more helpful. You can also write your info on the inside sole or inside the tongue of your running shoes so this information will be accessible even if you forget your ID.
10. Carry a cell phone or enough change to use a public telephone. Ensure you know the locations of any pay phones or and/or emergency call buttons along all of your regular routes. That way, you’ll always know where and how to call for help if necessary.
11. Call the cops. Notify the police immediately if you witness or experience anything dangerous or suspicious while you’re out running. Don’t be afraid of “bothering” them; it’s their job to know what’s going on in the community, so think of it as helping them instead.
12. Be prepared. Make use of tools and technology available to help keep you safe, like portable pepper spray or a personal protection device like the Topps Security Key Fob. The fob is easy to carry, easy to hide, and easy to use—all you have to do is press a button to send a silent signal to an agent at the Topps Security network with your exact GPS location, and voila—help is on the way!
The fob comes with its own charger and features a quick-release function so you can easily detach it from your keychain and charge it overnight. The battery lasts for five days, but keeping it in the charger by your bed at night gives you an immediate lifeline in the event of a break-in or home invasion. You’re already taking care of your health; now, let Topps help you take care of your family and home.