If you’re like most runners, you probably prefer the asphalt, cement, or trail dirt beneath your feet instead of the treadmill.
Nothing beats getting your exercise in while soaking up some sunshine on a nice day. You get plenty of vitamin D, burn some calories, relieve some stress, and strengthen your cardiovascular system.
It’s great for both your body and mind and the benefits can often carry you through the day. But with those benefits come several safety concerns to be aware of.
On the treadmill, the only thing you really have to worry about is staying on track. But outside, there are other people, cars, cyclists, weather, constantly changing terrain, animals, and more.
Running safely outdoors requires much more caution and care than at the gym, but don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
Below, you’ll find a list of personal safety tips to help you avoid dangerous situations, prepare for emergencies, and above all, protect yourself so you can enjoy your runs with confidence and peace of mind.
1. Group Up
Outdoor activities are always safer when you’re part of a group, and the same goes for running.
Having a partner with you on the trail is the perfect way to deter potential aggressors and ensure someone has your back if you fall or injure yourself — especially at night.
If you run after sundown, but you can’t find anybody to tag along with you, stick to well-lit, populated areas as much as possible. You can even consider calling a friend or family member and ask them to keep you company while you run.
2. Suns Out Runs Out
Our second tip is arguably just as important as the first. If you can help it, always try to run during the daytime.
Not only will it be easier to keep an eye on your surroundings, but it’ll also guarantee that there will be other people out and about with you.
Some may prefer the peace and quiet of a nighttime run, but the lack of sunlight poses a slew of safety risks that daytime runners don’t have to contend with.
Moving vehicles can be a bigger threat if you like to run in residential areas because drivers may not expect to see pedestrians at night.
For trail runners, rocks, roots, branches, and other obstructions can be much harder to see. Not to mention potential predators that use the darkness to their advantage.
As we recommended above, if you must run at night, stay close to busy streets with plenty of overhead lights, and find a friend to buddy up with.
3. Don’t Get Caught in Poor Weather
If your area is prone to storms, make sure not to leave the house without checking the weather.
The last thing you want is to be halfway through your run and end up getting caught in heavy rain, or worse, lightning.
Even if there isn’t a cloud in sight, it only takes a few seconds to check the weather app on your phone or look up the forecast online. At the end of the day, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
4. Be Noticeable
When you go for a run, especially at night, don’t be afraid to dress flashy. The brighter your clothing, the better.
In fact, reflectors, headlamps, light-up wristbands, and flashing lights are a must for avid runners. The more noticeable you are, the more likely you are to be seen by passing cars, cyclists, and fellow runners.
5. Stay Vigilant
On an outdoor run, your level of safety is directly related to your situational awareness.
So, while jamming out to your favorite tracks may help your performance, it may be best to ditch the headphones so you can hear what’s going on around you.
You don’t want your music to drown out the sound of an emergency vehicle siren, car horn, or other people on the trail.
If you can’t run without your tunes, play them from your phone’s speakers, or turn the volume low enough on your headphones to where you can still hear everything.
The more attuned you are to your environment, the more time you’ll have to react if something goes wrong.
6. Stay Hydrated
This tip may seem like a given, but dehydration is always a risk when exercising. Plus, staying hydrated before, during, and after your runs helps your muscles perform their best and aids in recovery.
So, drink plenty of water before you hit the trail to prevent cramps and heat exhaustion and ensure you make it through your run safely.
7. Get a Good Warmup in
Piggybacking off of tip number six, performing some light stretching before heading out can help reduce the risk of cramping and keep your muscles loose in case you need to flee from danger.
8. Tell a Friend
If you can’t find a partner to run with you, whether during the day or at night, telling someone your plans is one of the best ways to stay safe.
Talk to a friend about when you’re leaving for your run, the route you’re taking, and about how long it’ll be before you finish. Have your phone on you at all times, and check-in with them as soon as you return.
If your friend doesn’t hear from you, they’ll know something’s wrong and be able to step in and help.
9. Don’t Leave Without a Personal Safety Alarm
Running with a personal safety alarm is perhaps the best way to enjoy your outdoor workouts with peace of mind.
However, traveling as light as possible is the way to go. Taking another expensive piece of technology with you isn’t just cumbersome. It’s also unnecessary.
With the Rescu app, your personal safety alarm lives right on your phone. Rescu’s upcoming Prime subscription will allow you to dispatch emergency services to your location anywhere in the United States.
All you have to do is open the app, tap fire, police, or medical, and then tap Send Alert. Help will be on its way in a matter of seconds, and you won’t have to talk to anyone.
The way Rescu is set up, you input your emergency contacts and medical information into the app when you set up your account.
Then, whenever you send an alert, the system informs everyone on your contact list and sends your medical information to emergency responders instantly.
And for only $10 a month, you can enjoy affordable, faster, and more dependable service than any other personal safety alarm on the market.
Click below to download Rescu today and go safely, wherever the trail takes you.