Running alone can be a great way to start off your morning or detox after a long day at work, but it’s important to be safe when hitting the roads solo.
Unfortunately because of crime and traffic, it is imperative to observe certain rules of safety and etiquette whenever you go out for a run.
By taking note of the following safety rules, you will not only be ensured of a trouble-free walk, you will also increase your levels of enjoyment and pleasure.
Face the traffic: If your routes do not have bike paths or sidewalks and you are forced to run on the road, always run in the direction facing oncoming traffic.
Dress correctly: If you are training when it is still dark, ensure that you are dressed to be seen. Drivers at night or early mornings are rarely on the lookout for runners, so you need to advertise your presence as vividly as possible. Wear light-coloured or reflective clothing like shocking-pink or brilliant orange. Many brands of running shoes have reflective material on the heels, and tracksuits, bibs and rainsuits can now be purchased with reflective strips. Reflective belts are also extremely useful as they are easily noticed by drivers, and can be worn with little or no discomfort. The worst type of clothing to wear while training in the dark is a blue, black or navy tracksuit or T-shirt, which renders the runner virtually invisible to traffic. If you don’t have reflective gear or light coloured clothing, pull a white T-shirt on over your tracksuit.
Never run alone: If at all possible, run with a training partner. Not only does this increase your safety while running; it also makes your training so much more enjoyable. In the absence of a training companion, always tell someone which route you will be running and what time you expect to return.
Run defensively. Don’t simply assume that all road-users know about the ‘pedestrian has right-of-way’ rule. Many of them don’t.
Lose the jewellery: Leave the valuables back home. The only accessory you need is a watch with a stopwatch function.
Vary your routes: Don’t establish regular patterns by running the same route at the same time every day. Keep one step ahead of any would-be muggers by randomly varying your routes and the times that you go out. Not only is it safer, but it’s a lot more interesting!
Self-defense: Some individuals carry hand-held spray devices that contain mace or something similar. These are designed to fit comfortably in your hand, are very light and easy to use. Just make sure that if you do need to use it, the wind is not blowing into your face at the time.
Carry ID: Always carry some form of identification in case of an accident or medical emergency. If you are away from home on holiday or business, make a note of the address where you are staying.
Keep left: If you’re running on a cycling or pedestrian path, always running on the left hand side so that faster runners, runners and cyclists can easily pass. If you’re running with one or more companions, don’t hog the path and prevent others from easily overtaking.
Leave the music at home: That way you will be alert to any potential dangers, be it a dog, a fast-approaching car, or the sound of other people around you.