There are a million and a half advantages to outdoor running. Ok, that may be an exaggeration, but if you are an avid outdoor female runner like myself, you will probably agree with that hyperbolic opening line. I love outdoor running because after working in an office all day it feels amazing to get outside. It helps me acclimate with new locations, offers dynamic views, and gives me a sense of community as I pass other outdoor runners and non-running citizens just moving about their day.
With that being said, safety can be a major concern for outdoor female runners. You are much more likely to be hit by a car while crossing the road than you are on a treadmill. By taking some basic precautions, you can keep yourself safe, especially as a female runner. Below are 10 tips to help keep you fit, safe, and outside running.
1. Wear something reflective
Especially at night. It is easy to think that you will be safe on the sidewalks, and that a white shirt will be bright enough, but I am telling you that it is not enough. Drivers instinctually pay attention to reflective surfaces, whether its a road barrier, a cone, or a person, you want to give drivers a reason to look twice and to trigger the be careful?? response in their brain.
2. Dont assume that drivers can see you
Having the right of way means that it is legal to go, not that it is safe to go. In fact, Runners World urges joggers to pretend they’re invisible??. Whether you are in a cross walk or just running along the shoulder, make sure you pay attention to the vehicles around you, and be ready to speed up or slow down if need be. You never know when a driver is checking a text, changing the radio, or handing something to a passenger. Look out for yourself first. If you do sustain an injury at the hands of a careless driver who was checking their phone, under the influence or otherwise, perhaps looking into the services of an Arkansas Personal Injury Attorney might be a good idea if you’re wanting to take legal action against the negligent party.
3. Only listen to music in one ear
This isnt a very popular safety tip, but it is something that I swear by. When you are running outside, it is important to pay attention to your surroundings, and that means paying attention to auditory cues as well as visual cues. I am a huge fan of listening to podcasts or music while I run, and by putting just one earbud in, I get to listen to whatever I like while maintaining situational awareness.
4. Run against traffic
When there is no sidewalk and you are running on the shoulder of the road, make sure that you are running against traffic. This allows you to see vehicles as they approach, and it gives you time to make quick judgments about your safety. Heres a piece that offers more insight into where to run and generally running etiquette.
5. Take your phone and ID with you
It is always nice to unplug??, but make sure that you are unplugging in a responsible way. If you do not want to be reachable, then put your phone on airplane mode, but have it on you in case you need to call for help.
6. Have an if I get injured?? plan
Whenever I outdoor run alone, I always take a second to think about what I will do if I get injured. Are Uber and Lyft operating in the area? If not, do I have someone I can call to come to get me? I rarely trail run alone, and if there is no cell phone service on the trail then running alone there is a no-go. I know it might seem a little bit “over-prepared” but you never know what could happen on your next run, it could be a wise idea to get in contact with a law firm such as https://www.noll-law.com/ or others, so you know where you stand should anything happen that would require law enforcement or judicial involvement regarding a personal injury you’ve endured. As an example of why this could actually come as some importance for you in the future, a friend of mine once went for a run on a popular trail, the trail was normally maintained frequently, however, whoever carried the maintenance out had stopped some time ago. My friend proceeded to run the trail as he always did and ended up taking a significant fall down an embankment due to the uneven ground. Due to these events he got in touch with a personal injury lawyer and explored his options going forward.
7. Bring your own water
If I am running for more than 3 miles, Ive got a water plan. Between Camel packs, water belts, and handle-held bottles, you can find the solution that is right for you! Heres a great how-to from Runners World.
8. Obey pedestrian laws
While it is frustrating to lose your momentum at a crosswalk, try jogging in place instead of darting across the road when that orange hand is lit. Like I said in point 2, you have to assume that drivers are not paying attention. Resist the urge to shrug your shoulders and think, they will slow down.?? Here is a great overview of pedestrian laws. As long as you obey pedestrian laws, if you ever find yourself in an accident you’ll have the advantage of a pedestrian accident lawyer that specializes in your case on your side when you’re not in the wrong, discover more here.
9. Avoid the bike lane
While bikes are not as dangerous of cars, getting hit by a fast moving cyclist can definitely do some damage. Bikes have the right of way in their lane, so take care to give them the space they need.
10. Listen to your gut
Last but not least, if you are out running and something just does not feel right, follow that instinct. It could be a shady looking alley you dont want to go down, it could be the man you dont want to pass, or it could be a car that you just feel like isnt paying attention. In those instances, you are better safe than sorry!
So stay smart my fellow female runners! I will see you out there.