If you’re like a gazillion other New Englanders, you’re probably ready to be done with the savage spring we’ve been having. And if that means heading out for a run, then more power to you!

But keep this in mind:

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Safety first, sweaty second. You’ve got a lot of people in your life depending on you to make it home from your daily run.

6 Tips for Running Safely Outside

With an estimated 70,000 pedestrians injured every year in the United States due to accidents with motor vehicles, the following safety tips are nothing to take lightly. Employ these tactics at any time of day, but especially in the early morning and late evening hours:


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1) Wear reflective gear.

Dawn, dusk, and nighttime reduces visibility for drivers (and you, for that matter). In addition to running on the correct side of the road, be sure to wear reflective gear that will help people in motor vehicles see you adequately.

Think: reflective logos on your shoes, bottoms, top, and hat, and perhaps the addition of a headlamp or handheld running light.

2) Test out new routes during the daytime.

Changing up your route does more than keep you from getting bored—research shows it’s actually neuroprotective, too (that is, good for your noggin). But when it comes to jogging for your noggin, we recommend trying out new running routes in the daytime.

Being able to see your surroundings clearly minimizes your risk of running into problems (no pun intended) such as getting lost, tripping over potholes, getting in an accident, or coming across a nefarious character.

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3) Let someone know where you’re headed.

We don’t mean to be pessimistic, but you just never know when you may come across someone who wants to take advantage of you. Likewise, you never want to be in the situation where you’re hurt (e.g., severely sprained ankle) and unable to call for help (e.g., no cell service).

To that end, let someone know your approximate whereabouts, or at least where you usually run, especially if you’re headed out at dawn or dusk. You may also want to recruit a running buddy—since there’s both safety and strength in numbers.

4) Hold off on the headphones.

Okay, this one may be a hard sell. But if you’re in a new area and/or if you’re running in the dark, ditch the headphones so you can be more alert and in tune with your surroundings. Your run may be even more enjoyable without the distraction of your fave playlist!

5) Prepare for the elements.

Whether you need a hat and thermal leggings, or sunscreen and UV-protecting sunglasses, get the tools you need to keep your eyes, skin, and body safe and warm in the great outdoors. Sweat-proof and sweat-wicking gear is a bonus!

6) Consider protection.

Personal protective devices, such as a little can of mace or a whistle, are like seatbelts: it’s better to have them and not need them and need them and not have them. You can easily (and legally) get some self-protection tools that fit perfectly in a running pocket or jacket.

 

Got any other running safety tips of your own? Let us know about them. and be sure to share this article with your running buddies!

Sara M

Author Sara M

Sara M. is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and freelance writer living and working near Boston, MA. As a former CrossFit gym owner and current fitness lover, Sara has a lot of personal and professional experience inside and outside the gym. She loves to write about various topics related to health, wellness, nutrition, human behavior, and self-mastery.

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