10 Running Safety Tips for Every Runner

Stay alert and safe with these 10 Tips for Running Safety year 'round! | happyfitmama.com

With Daylight Savings Time in full effect, we are now in the time of year when there’s more darkness than light. I like to refer to November and December as the months that I like to begin hibernation. When it is dark at 4:30 p.m., I want to put my PJ’s on immediately after work and not leave the house for the rest of the night. That’s really a lie. I want to put my PJ’s on after work every single day of the year. I’m just more likely to do it in the winter.

Since November is National Running Safety Month, I like to share tips I’ve picked up throughout the years of running. However, running safety is something that should be at the forefront of every runner’s mind no matter what time of the year it is.

Safety for runners covers a lot of area. With the horrific murders of 3 runners during the summer, safety against attacks, particularly for women, got a lot of press. As it should. We should all be aware of the risks. Ever since being followed by a man in a car two years ago while on a run, I’m hyper-aware of my safety.

Safety also covers being seen by motorists. I recently read about two local runners who were running in the early morning and were struck by a car. I’m sure we all have stories similar to that.

Follow these tips to keep you safe year round.

Run against traffic

When you are running against traffic, you will be able to see what’s coming at you AND the driver will more likely see you.

Light it up

Lighted vests and/or headlamps will not only help you see the road better (even if there are streetlights) but drivers will be able to spot you better from the front and the back. There’s a ton of different models available. I love my Black Diamond headlamp. It’s lightweight, is super bright and has a blinking red light on the back.

Running Safety tips for every runner.| happyfitmama.comListen Up

I’m kind of amazed at how many people run, walk or ride their bike with headphones on. Especially in the dark. Even if you have one earpiece in, it’s still dangerous. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Your best bet is to leave the music at home. Trust me, you can run without music.

Be Prepared

Take a self defense class. Run with mace or personal alarm. Most importantly, know how to use these defenses. It’s one thing to have them, but know what to do, how to use it and be prepared for anything. I learned to test my mace out before every run from my friend Sarah. I did that and then later scratched my nose/upper lip while running with the same hand that had the mace in it. Let’s just say, my mace works really, really well. For a long time.

Wear reflective, bright clothing
This could be reflective stripping on your shirt, shorts, shoes, etc. As a member of Saucony Find Your Strong Team, I recently was sent their new Reflex line. It is soooo cool! The jacket is totally reflective on the front and back. The tights are reflective from the knee down (in addition to being warm for those chilly late fall/winter runs). And the shoes are just as reflective. I have the Zealot but the Reflex is also available in the Ride, Hurricane and Kineta.

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Light up the night with Saucony Reflex reflective gear for running safety. | happyfitmama.com

Take your phone and ID

I always take my phone and Road ID with me. Your phone can help you if you encounter a scary situation or if you get hurt to call for help. Carrying some form of ID on you is also critical if you are unable to communicate who you are, what medications you are on, allergic reactions and who to call in case of emergency.

Use Tracking Apps

Of course there’s an app for that! And if you are taking your phone along on your run, why not use an app. There’s tons of apps out there to keep tabs on you while running. Garmin Mobile Connect, Road ID, bSafe, React Mobile, and Kitestring are some options.

Funny story – Whenever I meet with new running friends for the first time, Ron likes to use Track My iPhone to make sure I don’t get  kidnapped by some crazy stalker. At least that’s what he tells me. Maybe he’s just checking up on me to see if I’m really running. What else would I be doing at zero dark thirty?

Buddy Up

If possible meet up with a friend. There’s safety in numbers. And if you think you run too early, you might be surprised to know how many others are in the same boat as you. I’ve posted in a couple of our local running club Facebook pages looking for a running buddy and have had great success in finding crazy awesome runners who want to run at zero dark thirty. Besides, who wouldn’t want to start the day this way?

Run with a buddy for running safety. | happyfitmama.com

Run Like a Defensive Driver

Assume every driver is talking on the phone while drinking steaming hot coffee and tuning the radio. This can be said about running at any time on the roads. Never assume a driver sees you. They most likely don’t.

Switch It Up

Change your running route and time you run every so often. It’s comfortable to you, but that also means that someone may learn your routine as well.

Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday and the Coaches’ Corner.

What are your running safety tips?



23 comments on “10 Running Safety Tips for Every Runner

  1. Great tips! I never run without my phone and road ID. In the early mornings I have just been sticking to running around my development where there are very few cars and lots of my neighbors are out walking dogs. It gets boring but I do feel safer when I stay in areas close to home. I save my more adventurous runs for the weekends when I can run in the daylight.
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  2. These are great safety tips, I just decided to put a tracking app on my phone — given my run ins with wild life (a mountain lion) and several epic falls requiring medical attention, my husband insisted. I resisted at first, but really it’s so important!

  3. I love the tips. I usually run very early, but my favorite places to run are a well lit nature path that actually has emergency stations. They’re towers with blue lights on them that connect to 911 when you push the button. My other favorite place to run hills is my own neighborhood. I live right outside of town, so my “block” is actually a 1.3 mile loop that full of family, friends and a couple cops.
    I always carry my phone, which has my emergency info set into it. If I’m running my home loop, I tie my house key to my shoe and if I’m on the nature path, I tie my car key there.
    My husband is well aware of my run schedule and where I plan on running, but the nature path has so many other runners and I’m surrounded by people I know at my home loop that I honestly feel super safe.
    I know I’ll have to take these tips more into consideration when I start running longer distances, so I really appreciate the reminder to always be safe. Thanks!

  4. I very rarely get to run outside at dark due to scheduling but I’m obsessed with that Saucony jacket. I tried it on at my local running store and fell in love, but can’t justify it since I don’t really need it :/ This one is tough, but I have been told to not wear your hair in a ponytail because it’s easy for someone to grab from the back and to use a brain instead. Makes sense, but not necessarily realistic all of the time!

  5. Great tips! I may need some of that Saucony gear! I have a Hi Viz jacket of theirs from 2014 that I love for being seen on very dark morning runs. Mace and ID are a must on my runs also, and I keep meaning to take a self-defense class.

  6. I had no idea November was National Running Safety month until I heard that earlier today. I’m surprised I have heard about it. I do always run against traffic though. But I am so bad at carrying my phone. One less thing to hold.

  7. That’s why I like to run in the morning when it’s light and there are lots of other people out running too. I feel much safer than running in the evening.

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