Morbid Monday – Runner Safety

Hello! How was your weekend?! If you were busy living life, I stayed at my first B&B, camped and saw the General Sherman :)

I didn’t run at all this weekend and we didn’t end up doing any real hiking because of time constraints. So, this morning my legs were ready for a run! I did just under 6 miles with no music – my ipod died as I was walking out the door :(IMG_9193 (800x600)

Ever since I started researching safety for my Blogger Safety presentation at HLS I’ve been a lot more mindful of being safer in general. I am definitely guilty of getting too comfy in my routines and not taking proper precautions.

One good question I got during my presentation was, “Do you take pepper spray on your runs?”. I used to take it when I would run on paths off the sidewalk, but have gotten lax about it. So, even though we all know the rules lets refresh our legs brains on

 Runner Safety Tips:

1. Make sure someone knows where you are going and how long you will be gone. I have my training schedule up on the wall, so Ben can glance at it and estimate when I should be back.

If you live alone make sure a co-worker or family member has your schedule and calls if you don’t show up to work on time.

2. Run on public, well trafficked paths. Save exploring a new hidden trail for when you have a running partner!

3. Take pepper spray or karate. Be prepared to use it if you have to. Have a plan for if something does happen – What will you do?

4. Say “Good Morning!” or “Hi!” to everyone you pass. You are doing this for three reasons:

A. You want a potential attacker to know you saw them.’

B. It’s nice.

C. You want as many people as possible to see/remember you in case something happens to you. Yes, this is morbid but smart :(

I try to dress as ridiculous as possible so people will definitely remember “that crazy girl with neon shirt and the boogers hanging out her nose.IMG_9194 (800x600) 

Plus, I appear to have leprosy from all my bug bites so I have that going for me?IMG_9197 (800x600) Even thought I ate a lot last night (or maybe because of it?!) I was super hungry this morning. During my run I cooked up a bunch of breakfast ideas in my head and decided on pumpkin oat bran with cottage cheese.IMG_9203 (800x600)

I first cook the oat bran. Then, add the pumpkin, sweetener and cottage cheese and cook some more.IMG_9202 (800x600) 

Question: Share a safety tip!


    • zoe says

      If something happened to me on a run I would much rather the person that found me was able to figure out where I was from and are able to get in touch with my family (using reverse look up or something). Also how many cases are there where a runner is attacked, then burglars go to your home and steal stuff or attack people there? Not many that I have heard of.

  1. says

    I try to scan the horizon frequently to make sure I notice anyone who looks suspicious or any blind spots (I tend to look down at the path at front of me a lot when I run). If I something looks even a bit off (someone just hanging out on the trail), I’ll often cross the street or run wide. It looks ridiculous, but I’m not taking any chances.

  2. says

    I like the idea of dressing to be remembered. I sometimes wear all black so perhaps I need to add some colour or patters into the mix!

    My tip: Don’t assume you ever have the right of way. Proving a point to a jerk-face driver isn’t worth getting hit over. Watch out for all cars, especially those making right hand turns where the driver may only really be concerned with what’s coming from the left.

  3. says

    I bought an iFitness belt so that I can carry my phone with me. I also have a road id bracelet that I wear when I run alone. I’ve been bad about letting my husband know where I’m running. I should probably have maps printed out of my routes so I can put it on the fridge because he’ll never remember where I told him I was going. I should get pepper spray too… I am always ready for a good heel strike to the nose though.

  4. says

    ive started to not run with music since there have been a few incidents on the routes i run on since they are near the river and college dorms. I have also contemplating getting pepper spray.

    as far as Id I did get a road id a few years back although i should order a new one as the work phone for my hubby on it is from two jobs ago.

    Thanks for the reminders :-)

  5. says

    These are super good tips! I think I will print it out and show my husband to justify the 20 bright pink shirts I am going to buy 😉

    I would add just be aware and if you are in a place with lots of cars, stoplights/signs or whatnot, pay attention! People in my neighborhood have CLEARLY never heard of stopping behind the white line, so even if I am already in the crosswalk and they see me, I’ve almost gotten hit a few times. I yelled at a guy once about it, I was so mad. It was a 4 way stop and he litterally stopped with BOTH tires over the line, I was like, “Thanks for risking my life to save 2 seconds of yours!” (his window was open, take that!)

  6. says

    Great topic Monica! I too get super comfortable in my running routines and kinda just GO without thinking of safety.

    I love your tips about dressing flashing, saying ‘hi’, and posting your running schedule. Fabulous ideas.

    So far lots of bases have been covered! But I guess as a city runner, I would say DON’T listen to music during rush hour pedestrian/car/Red Sox traffic hahaha It completely lowers your ability to detect the bazillion things around you that could potentially be harmful… you’re running while most everyone else is walking rushed, not looking out for you, there are things dropped in your path, dog leashes, drivers not looking, and so on.

    I ALWAYS make it a point to make eye contact with drivers of streets I am crossing. I want to be 100% sure they see me even if they are at a red light

  7. says

    Great tips! I use a Road ID and try to run without music sometimes so that I can pay attention. I never run with music if I’m running at night.

    One question that’s been bouncing around in my head for a few weeks (so this is a perfectly timed post!): do you recommend running in the morning before the sun rises? I like to get my runs in earlier in the day, but I’m training now and need to wake up earlier and earlier to get the miles in before work. I run in a populated area, but it’s always quiet in the morning. I’ve never run before the sun has risen, so I’m not sure how to handle it or if I’m just overreacting.

    • Anonymous says

      I always run before the sun comes up. I wear a reflective vest and I run in the street going against traffic (not on the sidewalks- the street is well-lit). The traffic isn’t too bad unless I’m on a busy street, in which case I move to the sidewalks. Cars have been pretty courteous of my space, too- I think the reflective vest works wonders!

  8. says

    Great tips!! My favorite piece of advice for running safely is to carry mace. My husband bought me a hand held one last year and now I can’t run without it. It just makes me feel safer. 😉

  9. says

    Thanks for these running tips! Whenever I go on a short jog, I bring my dog. She’s small, but surprisingly people are scared of small dogs!

    Also, trying running in a well populated area. I run in the median on St. Charles Ave. in New Orleans … there are always cars and businesses and schools, etc.

  10. Mia says

    holy crap! I’ve never seen so many bug bites on a single back before in my life. Do you always get bit like that???

    For safety I always take my phone, credit card and ID with me. Plus, I live in a big city, so there are always a ton of people around.

  11. Alison says

    When I lived alone I used to call my voice mail before leaving for a run (I would include my route and the time I left). I even do this when my husband is out of time.

  12. says

    I always say “hello” to people when running because I like being friendly. I never thought about it as a safety thing, but it makes a lot of sense. I will definitely keep that up.
    Your bug bites look awful! So sorry about those. Are they still itchy?

  13. Lindsey says

    Run in a familiar area, and take your phone with you if you can! I’ve started going on long runs with my backpack… it’s less cumbersome than one would expect because it just has my phone, water bottle, and fuel in it! And if you need music to run, try to only run with one headphone in :)

  14. Lindsey says

    Oh, and I’m glad I’m not the only person who dresses crazy when I run…. I always wear something pink! My friends know I’m always running in pink, so it’s kind of for safety and kind of because I love pink :)

  15. Orla says

    I always wear bright colours too, especially weh I used to run in the early morning and it wouldn’t get bright until 9am in wintertime!

    I just wanted to say that I completely covet your back, apart from the bug bites 😉 What I wouldn’t to have zero bra bulge!!! You’re doing so great on your fitness and weight loss journey! <3

  16. Ida says

    I think the biggest threat is cars- dont run with headphones on the roads, and put emergency contact info into your phone.
    Your back looks so itchy! How did Ben escape without any bites?!

  17. says

    Mix up your routes and don’t run the same route every single day. It doesn’t take long for someone to figure out your routine (she runs X route at X time of day on X days) if you run the same route over and over again. Not only is it fun to mix things up but it makes you less predictable to potential bad guys :)

    I also try and keep my music low so I am aware of my surroundings. And remember, the two-legged animals are much scarier than the four-legged ones!

  18. says

    This is a great list!

    I always carry pepper spray and tell my husband where I ‘m going to be. Never thought of those reasons to say Hi to people but it makes a ton of sense. Will try to do it more often.

  19. says

    Absolutely agree about all of your suggestions, especially the pepper spray. I don’t leave home without it! (Unless, of course, I’m getting on a plane. TSA frowns on that stuff.) 😉

    The one suggestion I’d add: be willing to use your voice! Whether it’s a car about to blow through a stop sign (and your knees) or a crazy person who gets in too close, it’s amazing what a good, strong yell will do. (This suggestion comes from experience — protecting my knees from an errant driver. I couldn’t have gotten out of his way in time, but by yelling I got his attention and he stopped an inch short of hitting me.)

    PS – I’ve recommended your safety presentation to a couple of people. Nice work!

  20. says

    Every time I come to a “new” part of a trail, I scope out where I’d go if there was a problem. A house, a business, a restaurant, some place where I can run to if there was an issue. It may sound silly, but it makes me feel better.

  21. D says

    I’ve always thought about safety issues of running, but I have a question for you or other readers…

    I am a young female and recently moved to a new state by myself. I live alone and run alone – usually I stick to the gym, but I also like running trails and run outside often around local parks, streets, etc.

    I used to always tell my roommate or boyfriend I was going for a run, but I live alone and don’t really know anyone here. I’m not close with coworkers (I know safety is more important than being awkward, but I think it would be super awkward to tell someone who I don’t know that I’m going for a run and can they please be concerned if I don’t come back) and really have no one around me.

    I was thinking of leaving a note in my apartment by the door, in case anything happened. Any better ideas?

  22. says

    Don’t run at night!!! I knew a women to get hit by someone when she was running at night. The driver wasn’t paying attention and ran right into her despite her reflective clothing. Unfortunately, she didn’t survive.

  23. says

    Oh my good grief you have a lot of bug bites! My tip for that is take baking soda and water and make a paste…it should be spreadable, but not too drippy…then have your honey put it on your bites and lay on your stomach, letting the paste dry (about 1/2 to a whole hour) it will absorb some of the “bug juice” (very technical term) and it will take away the itch as well…it will cut down healing time significantly. :)

    Running Safety Tip: In your cell phone, make sure you have an emergency contact listed in your phonebook with I.C.E. (stands for In Case of Emergency) before his/her name…paramedics (i’m told) look for this in case you are injured.

    ALSO: I had a very close friend get hit by a car while running, and she was thrown so far it knocked her shoes off…she now has rods holding her leg in place…NEVER assume a car can see you, and ONLY cross a street at designated crossing points.

    • says

      I’ll try that baking soda tip – I’m going to try it!

      Really sorry about your friend – thank you for sharing. We all need to remember how serious car versus pedestrian accidents are :(

  24. says

    great safety tips, my friend!!!

    i would say, don’t show where you start your runs on your blog. Use twitter DMs to arrange long run meetups with other bloggers and keep your phone in your spibelt.

  25. Kat says

    I say hi to everyone too! Some people give me crazy looks, but they will remember the sweaty girl who talked to them! I also run in the daylight. As of recently I’ve started running with my iphone, even though I hate it when I’m running and I get texts or calls. Oddly enough, I run near a police station as well (its near my house), so there are always cops driving around. But, I do swear by talking to people/waving/smiling- in the worst case someone will remember you. And always, be ready to kick some butt (kidding, sorta :) )

  26. says

    Great tips. Very poignant for runners in my area – a woman was found dead on a popular local trail over the weekend. The cause is unknown so far.

    I always run with my Road ID, always tell my H or my coworkers where I’m going. I love the idea of saying hi to everyone.

    I used to carry an airhorn with me when I ran with the jogging stroller in case I had to scare off a stray dog or draw a lot of attention to myself for whatever reason.

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