by John Stanton
When running alone, “safety first” should be your motto. Use your common sense and plan ahead based on your location and the conditions outside. Take a minute to run through this safety checklist before your next solo outing.
- Bring your phone with you, and ensure its battery is sufficiently charged.
- Carry identification. Make up a small card listing your name, address, a friend or relative’s phone number, your blood type, and any other relevant personal medical information. Keep the card on the inside sole of your running shoe or tied to your lace.
- Make sure your friends or relatives know your favourite running routes. Print out a map of your usual loop or write out the roads and paths you’ll be on. If possible, inform someone which route you’ve chosen before you leave.
- Stick to familiar surroundings. Avoid unpopulated areas, deserted streets and overgrown trails. Especially avoid unlit areas at night. Stay clear of parked cars and bushes.
- Be alert. If using headphones, keep the volume at a reasonable level so you can still be aware of your surroundings.
- Give a friendly wave to fellow runners, but do not interact with strangers. Be observant, keep your distance and keep moving. Use your phone to call for help if you feel uncomfortable or in danger at any time.
- Run against traffic so you can easily see approaching vehicles.
- Wear reflective clothing or accessories in low light conditions, so drivers can see you coming. A headlamp can help illuminate your path and make you more visible.
- Carry a whistle or noisemaker. Trail runners may want to carry pepper spray in case of an unexpected animal encounter.
- If you are not feeling 100% or are recovering from an injury, choose a short loop that is close to your house. This allows you to end the run early, if necessary.
John Stanton is the President and Founder of the Running Room. He is the author of 10 books about running, walking and family fitness.