According to the University of South Florida Health, 65% of runners will be injured during the course of a year. Thankfully, most of the injuries are simple sprains, shin splints or tendinitis – injuries that can be treated. Sadly, some of the injuries inflicted on runners are more serious and are caused by running in high traffic, unsafe locations or at night. We talked with our resident running guru Kelli to get some tips for how to run safely.
Kelli first started running to improve her physical health, but she now runs for enjoyment as well. To Kelli, running a kind of meditation and form of stress relief. She loves to zone out listening to podcasts on a run and not think about work or any of life’s stressors. Running can be dangerous when one’s mind is not on the surroundings. Here are some tips that Kelli offers to stay safe on a run.
Location, Location, Location
Kelli lives near a college campus and that is where she runs most often. She can easily run 3-4 miles in a secluded and quiet area. College campuses see a lot of foot traffic, so drivers around campus are used to seeing runners and walkers. In addition, speed limits are generally lower.
On the Road Again
When running on public roads, avoid roads with a lot of automobile traffic. In addition to being safer, it can break your running rhythm when you must cross streets and wait for cars. Always run against traffic. This allows you to see traffic coming toward you, making it easier to get out of the way if needed.
Make Yourself Known
If you don’t think a car can see you, wave at them. Wear a bright colored item of clothing. This should be easy given the workout gear available on the market today. If running before sunrise or close to sunset, be sure to wear reflective gear like a vest or piece of clothing with reflective markings. You can also purchase a wearable armband or clip-on light so drivers can see that you are on or close to the road.
Stay In Touch
Make sure your phone is with you and charged! An armband makes it very easy to carry your phone without the risk of dropping it while running. Your phone can be used to help track your running, but it can also be used to make calls in the event of an emergency. Go figure! It’s also a good idea to let a friend or family member know where you are running in case there is a problem.
Always pay attention to surroundings. Benches on the sidewalk, other pedestrians and pets are just a few of the potential hazards one can encounter on a run. Kelli almost got run over by a dog during a 5K run to benefit the Humane Society. A squirrel ran in front of her and the dog was right behind it. This is a good example of why it’s important to be aware at all times!
Running on a track is often the safest place to run. There is no traffic and fewer distractions. Track running however, is not the best way to train for running in a marathon and some find it difficult to stay interested running in a circle. Regardless of where you run, stay safe!