After the humbling experience of falling over my own feet in public, I realized very quickly how difficult the situation would have been if I had broken my leg. Nobody knew I was going for a run at that moment in time. I wasn’t very near a road for help to easily reach me, nor did I know how to exactly describe my location. I didn’t know anyone who could pick me up, and didn’t have a taxi or driving app like Uber on my phone. I needed to make sure that, god forbid another accident happen while I’m out on my own, that I’m prepared and know what I need to do. I also needed to remind myself to pay close attention to what is around me.
This is just a compilation or sort of check list of items I realized, fixed, or wanted to keep in mind for future runs.
- I have downloaded Uber to my phone and added a taxi service’s number to my contacts. In the event that I’m running and a local friend isn’t available, I may need an alternative way to get home, or if necessary, an emergency clinic.
- Be familiar with road names and landmarks throughout my route. The day of my fall, I couldn’t have said the name of the road I’d been on last. That was unacceptable if I needed emergency help. Likewise, today on my route I took a wrong turn. I made sure that I continued running a route I was familiar with, and simply made up distance by looping near home.
- Ensure someone knows exactly when and where I’ve gone out for a run, and when I’ve returned. This is a pretty cut and dry one: if you’re late to get back in touch with them, they’ll know to check on you. In a worst case scenario, they may be the first to know something’s awry which could be the difference between life or death.
- I always bring my ID, debit card and petty cash on a run. You never know when you may need to pay a cab, buy a water if you’re feeling nauseous far from home, etc.
- Run during daylight. If running late, make sure to run a safe, well lit, familiar route (and don’t forget reflective gear!).
- Be aware of those around you. Cross the street to avoid someone, within reason/judgement, if it’s safer.
- Listen to your surroundings. Do not listen to music so loud that you can’t hear what’s going on around you! You can’t easily hear a car coming down an alley over blasting a workout playlist.
I know most of the above I was taught or told while growing up, but it’s never a bad idea to remind yourself the basics from time to time.
I’ve often wondered if I should invest in jogger’s pepper spray to carry with me; I think I’ll only invest in a bottle if I’m going to run in rural areas or when it’s dark outside. I read the book Onward! which detailed a woman’s blog throughout her marathon training, in which she took safety very seriously. She was so serious that she hired protection, went to self defense classes, etc. I’m not sure I want or need to invest that much time and money into personal defense, but when it comes to your safety, is there such a thing as too much?