Fitness Articles

Important Safety Tips for Outdoor Runners and Walkers

Put Your Safety First with These 6 Strategies

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Two weeks ago while I was out for a five-mile run on a busy street in my neighborhood, I saw another runner coming at me. While I was running facing the oncoming traffic, she was running with the flow of traffic. I always run against the flow of traffic because I want to see the driver just in case he or she does not see me; at least this gives me the opportunity to jump out of the way.

As fate would have it, a car coming (at a fairly high speed for a residential street), was making a beeline right for the other runner. I started screaming at her to jump the curb. Thankfully, she did and avoided getting hit. The driver had no clue what could have happened—she was too busy on her cell phone to notice. Let me tell you, these two runners were quite shaken up. She picked herself up, and I picked up my heart and continued on my way.

While I spent the better part of the next three miles thinking about the accident she was able to avoid, I realized that I, too, have made many mistakes while running on the road. Here are few tips to make all runners and walkers a little safer when we hit the open road.

Map Your Route in Advance
While I use a portable GPS device to track my runs, it dawned on me that while I know where I am headed, my husband would have no clue. If something happened to me, he would have no idea where to even begin looking for me. Therefore, from now on I am going to be using the SparkPeople’s Fitness Maps, to map out my intended route and leave a copy with him just in case. Even if you don't take the time to map your route in advance, share the details with a friend, significant other or loved one. Tell someone where you're headed and when you plan to return. If no one's around, leave a voice mail, send an email or write it down where someone can find it in case you are gone longer than expected. Better safe than sorry.

Bring a Cell Phone
Thankfully, I have never had to use my cell phone on a run, but you never know. In an age where pay phones are rare and businesses are reluctant to let you use their phones, it is always a good idea to carry one with you in case of trouble. This is especially true if you run in a rural setting. Make sure you have an ICE (In Case of Emergency) entry in your cell phone book. EMS and other emergency personnel are trained to look for that listing in cell phones so they know whom to contact on your behalf.
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About The Author

Nancy Howard Nancy Howard
Nancy is an avid runner and health enthusiast. A retired pediatric nurse, she received her bachelor's degree in nursing from Texas Woman's University and is also a certified running coach and ACE-certified personal trainer.

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