It’s always such a relief when it is here isn’t it?
My “Friday” at work was actually yesterday. Unfortunately, my husband’s grandmother passed away this week so we are celebrating her life this weekend with family and friends. It always makes you realize and think about just how precious life is when someone close passes away.
Today I wanted to talk about something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. As you all know, for the past 3 years or so I have transitioned myself into a morning runner. It became the only option I had to be able to fit in my training with my full time job. I just didn’t have the energy I needed to do my workouts after work.
I was listening to an awesome Podcast from Runners’ Connect and Todd Williams on Runner Safety and it really got me thinking about how I overcame my fear of running in the morning. If you have already, make sure you go and check it out! Tina Muir does it again with this awesome podcast!
Running in the dark was something that always scared me. I didn’t feel safe, I felt like I was on edge all the time, and I had a hard time being able to get out the door. While I still don’t fell entirely comfortable some days, I have learned a few tricks that have helped me feel a little safer and more secure.
First of all, I want to say no matter where you run always be alert. I don’t care if I am running on a bike trail during the day time, I am always aware of my surroundings. Early morning, late morning, afternoon, or evening I still try to make sure I am always focused on what is going on around me. It’s important to me to feel safe and I think it starts with me.
If you want to run in the early morning, try to find a road(s) that are well lit. I had a hard time with this at first because we don’t live right in the city. We live on the outskirts which means we have less street lights and less populated areas. That means that there are certain areas I will not run alone in the early morning. I tend to have to stick to the same areas and even though it gets boring it makes me feel more secure.
That being said, also make sure you are varying your running routes. This is one of the biggest things I am guilty of not doing that I need to do a better job of. You don’t want to be in too much of a habit that someone can memorize your patterns; even if it means driving somewhere a little out of the way once a week. This is not only good for your safety but it can also help avoid falling into a running rut.
Even though I take several precautions to feel safer, one of the best purchases I made was this hand held mace. It makes me feel a bit more secure just to know that I have it on me. I am fully prepared to use it should I have to, and I think that is also important. No matter what you choose to use make sure you know how and ready to use it when a situation arises. There are also stun guns and even ways of being able to carry a concealed weapon. Whatever you choose just make sure you are comfortable with it.
The biggest thing that I have learned is to always be aware of my surroundings. Even when I am running in an area I know I always look for places I could run. I look for the nearest house, nearest higher populated area, or any area that people wouldn’t follow you in. I am aware of any cars that slow down, seem to be acting differently, and things that just simply seem out of place. I never wear music when I am running in the early morning because I want to be able to hear what is going on around me.
If you have a running buddy take them with you in the early morning! My husband will usually run the first 10-20 minutes with me to be with me on certain areas that aren’t lit as well. This helps me feel more comfortable.
If you don’t feel comfortable at any point, it’s okay to run on a treadmill. I used to think I had to do every single run had to be outside but now I often use the treadmill. Some days when my husband is working an opposite schedule or is going somewhere else to run I opt to run on my treadmill so that I feel safer. It also helps me to relax a bit more and I’m okay with that. You have to do what YOU need to do to feel safe.
To some I may seem paranoid, but after a couple scary instances I have done everything in my power to try to ensure my running safety. I think it is important for all of us to take control and be prepared just in case. I want to feel safe and secure and while you can never be 100%, take certain precautions have put my mind at better ease and allowed me to feel more empowered.
How do you practice running safety?