5 Ways to Stay Safe Running Alone
Running is, by far, the world’s most popular sporting activity. And it’s no wonder. First, it’s free. And the health benefits are well-established: Running reduces the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Throw in the benefits of aerobic endurance, heart function, balance and metabolism, and one can see why it’s the default for many who want to exercise.
Running alone can be especially liberating, providing time to blow off steam, and solitary time to think. But whether you run in an urban environment, on a high-school track, or in the wilderness, such solo activity may require additional caution. In particular, women and people of color can be at greater risk depending on the surrounding environment and circumstances. For example, black men have been known to take extra precautions running in certain areas of town, wearing college alumni t-shirts or getting friendly with other pedestrians avoid being seen as threatening. Women have additional concerns: According to Runner’s World: 43 percent of women have reported being harassed while running and 30 percent were followed. While every case is different, any individual who runs alone faces some risk. Here are 5 ways to stay safe from us at LIFEID:
No. 1: Run Familiar Routes, But Vary the Time of Day
It’s often said that running solo isn’t the time to explore a new, unfamiliar route. If you want to mix it up and run in a different area, ask a friend to go with you. Running in the same area will enable you to familiarize yourself with options should you encounter danger. But taking the same route at the same time of day everyday can also make you a target. If you can, try to mix up the time and days of your run, and vary it so you aren’t always away from home at the same time. And even in familiar routes, especially running at night, make sure the area is well-lit and populated.
No. 2: Be Visible (Wear Loud Clothing and Be Loud If Needed)
If you run in the city, one of the biggest potential risks comes from pedestrian accidents. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 7,668 pedestrians died in traffic or vehicle related incidents in 2019. To stay safe, wearing bright colors or loud clothing when you run is preferable, especially when running during the hours where the light may be dim. Some runners also wear reflective wrist or head bands, and carry lit flashlights so oncoming traffic can see them. Finally, don’t forget to bring a whistle or a noise-making device that can attract attention should you run into trouble.
No. 3: Don’t Run with Headphones
We know that your favorite music can get your adrenaline pumping and keep you motivated while on the run. But loud music through headphones also can make you less aware of your surrounding environment as it takes away your ability to hear what’s going on around you. After all, listening for traffic, or hearing threatening pedestrians, animals, gunfire would certainly make you avoid a particular area. If you must run with music, keep the volume on low so you can hear other sounds.
No. 4: Carry a Phone and Water
In terms of water, dehydration while running is a serious issue. And being able to call friends or family with your phone in an emergency situation can mean life or death. The big challenge is figuring out how to carry it all. Certain running outfits – especially leotards or other tight-fitting leggings don’t necessarily lend themselves to pockets. And many people struggle to find ways to carry phones and water with them, even if they do have pockets. One way to get around this is to buy a running belt (a flip belt to which you can attach a water bottle) or a fanny pack for your phone. The other alternative includes a running vest (choose a brightly colored one per the above tip) or an arm band that can carry your phone.
No. 5: Carry Your Driver’s License and a Medical ID
One of the most important things to do as a precaution when running alone is to carry identification with you, as well as a LIFEID medial ID bracelet or watch sleeve. That’s because running is a physical activity and, if you happen to experience a medical emergency where you become incapacitated, it helps if you can easily be identified and if your medical history and conditions are listed for the EMTs or doctors who might arrive on scene. Helping medical personnel understand upfront any medical issues you’ve had or medical conditions you are currently experiencing can make the difference between life and death.
We hope you found this article helpful. At LIFEID, we want to help keep you safe, so you can enjoy running or any other physical activity long into the future. That’s why we recommend one of our medical ID bracelets, Apple watch sleeves, or watch accessories, which can speak for you in the case of an emergency. Our medical IDs can also help remind you of doctors’ appointments, or other checkups you may need.