If you’re anything like me, you think nothing bad will ever happen to you. And while, knock on wood, I’ve been very lucky to not have anything bad happen to me in my life, you can never be too prepared.
Running is no exception. Unfortunately, I’m not part of a running group yet (my running group from my first half split up afterwards—they were tired of all the training that it took to run long distances) and none of my Chicagoland friends run, so all of my training runs are done completely on my own. This is a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good in the fact that I can choose when I do a training run since I’m not on anyone else’s schedule but sometimes it gets lonely and hard to stay motivated when you don’t have someone else doing the exact same run as you at the same time. Sometimes Lauren and I will be doing long runs at the same time of day, but being 300 miles apart is not the same thing.
Here are my tips to stay safe:
1—Let someone else know when you’re running and where you’re running
— I usually tell Lauren and my mom when I’m running and how far I’m running the day before I go and tackle a long run. If I’m tackling a shorter run, Lauren usually knows my schedule, but I’ll usually text her either before the run or during the run to tell her how I’m doing. Just in case, God forbid something happened to me, my mom and Lauren would know to worry about me!
2—Even at the gym, you need to be remember to be safe…
— 50+ inches of snow this winter has caused me to do almost all of my runs on the treadmill or at the indoor track. While I don’t have to worry about weather related running troubles, it is still important to be safe. I’m consistently watching everyone at the gym and on the track looking for any suspicious people. I never leave my water bottle unattended in the corner or leave it if I’m using the bathroom, I either carry my car keys with me or have them in the cup holder of the treadmill and I leave my purse in the trunk of my car which I put in there before I drive to the gym (it’s not sitting for a robber to get it on the front seat.. believe me… it happened at my last place I worked at!!)
3—If weather conditions are unfavorable, be smart…
— Lauren has fallen while running numerous times, so I’m always worried about falling myself and my current threat is the ice that may be present while running. During an 8 mile training run back in December, the conditions just got to be too much. I couldn’t run on the sidewalks because they were completely covered in snow and running in the street was not the smartest idea (it was between 9 and 10 am on a Sunday morning with lots of slush and cars were out in full force)—and then my phone died with my tracking device. I hated having to stop my run, but I knew I had no other choice. If something happened to me, I’d have no way to contact anyone. Better to be safe than sorry.
This can mean a lot of different things. It can mean wearing neon colors if you’re running when it’s darker out (running in the dark is not for me, but some people like to do it). Or it can mean running in a highly visible area—I like to do my shorter runs along a main road by my house… so everyone can see me and if something happened to me, they’d see it too!! I love running in the forest preserves too—we have a lot of great ones in my county, but I only run in the forest preserves on the weekends when lots of people are using the paths as well. If I ran them during the week, when not as many people were using them, and something happened to me, I’d never be able to forgive myself for being so careless.
Running is great exercise and has improved my life in so many ways, but as with anything in life, you need to remember that you are not invincible and you cannot let your guard down for even a minute!