I’m single, and I’m a runner. No big news flash there, right? That just means I run alone a lot. But then so do a lot of people, single or not. We all have the same issue: How can I keep myself safe on a run?
I was thinking about this a few mornings ago when I went out for a run, in the dark, at 5 a.m. Sometimes, being single and all, my mind kind of goes to morbid places. I think about the fact that because I don’t see any one person every single day, I could be seriously hurt and unable to help myself for days before anyone would know. I don’t dwell on it because I refuse to let fear dictate my life, but because of that, I try to take every precaution to minimize the risk of something happening when I’m out alone.
Here are some safety tips if you find yourself running alone:
- Know your route. I rarely run alone in an area I’m unfamiliar with. One, I’m directionally challenged, and I don’t want to get lost! But more than that, I want to be comfortable with the safety of the area. Is there a lot of traffic? Do people of questionable intentions roam the area? Are there sidewalks to get out of the way of traffic? Or are there lots of potholes in the roads that could trip me up? These are things I like to know if I’m going to run alone.
- Keep your phone on you. Even if you listen to music on an iPod or some other gadget, keep your phone on you. If you do get hurt or are unable to finish a run for whatever reason, you’ve got a means of communication and some way to get help. And don’t forget to make sure your phone is fully charged before you head out.
- Make yourself visible. If you’re running at times of low light, light yourself. I like to make sure I have a lights on both my back and my front side so traffic coming from either direction will see me. I have a clip light for my back, and for the front side, I like my Knuckle Lights (www.knucklelights.com). They fit around my hand, but I don’t have to hold them in place. And they have a steady beam. Even with the swinging arm motion of running, the light does not bounce around. They’re great for lighting your path in the dark and making you visible to traffic. Wearing brightly colored clothing will also help to make you visible.
- Run defensively. Pay attention to your surroundings. If you run with ear buds, use only one bud. Keeping your other ear open will help you hear traffic coming behind you. Maybe this is a single girl thing, but be aware of people, too. I try to be alert to people who might be following me. And don’t assume traffic will stop for you! I wait until a car either stops or the driver waves me across the street, even if I have the right of way.
- Keep ID on you. This is very important. If you’re out alone and something happens that prevents you from providing your name and vital information, knowing who you are is crucial. I used to just tuck my driver’s license into a running belt, but one day I came home and found my ID on the driveway. Scared me to pieces. I immediately started searching for alternate forms of carrying ID and discovered Road ID. IDs come in either a dog tag format or as a armband or ankle band. I chose an ankle band and couldn’t be happier with it. The plate is big enough for my name, birthday, allergy information, and emergency contacts. You can check them out here.
Where is the last place you went alone?
Would you rather run alone or with a group?