Today on my run I got spooked. I was running in the grass fields near the woods where we always take our dogs. There are two fields, and there is a heavy thicket of bushes between the two. I got the feeling someone (or something) was watching me from inside of those bushes. I couldn’t shake it. I kept turning around to see if there was anything behind me. I had one dog with me but he was running ahead of me. It was a weird feeling. I have no idea if anything was really there or not, but it bothered me enough that I headed back for the woods toward my house. Call it intuition, but I really felt like there was something there.
A few days ago, I was running with all 3 of our dogs, when one of them clipped me from behind and sent me flying. I went down pretty hard. I scraped up the skin underneath the knee, twisted my ankle, and have a couple bruises. As I was hobbling home, I was thinking about running safety. And then I was thinking about it again today. Today might have been nothing, and the fall in the woods was definitely a fluke, but it got me to thinking about how to stay safe on your runs.
Be alert. Running by yourself, it’s easy to get in a zone. When I run by myself (or with a dog) is usually when I do my best thinking. But you need to be aware of your surroundings. That means not listening to music. I know a lot of my running friends love to listen to music when they run. But if you’re listening to music, you can’t hear traffic around you, or someone behind you. Where I live there are a lot of sharp corners that you can’t see around, and cars come flying by. I can’t tell you how many times I have almost been hit because drivers aren’t paying attention.
Run with a partner, or your dog. I know, I know, I went down because of one of my dogs. But as soon as I did, all 3 dogs stopped in their tracks. They didn’t continue running…they waited to see if I was ok. And there really is safety in numbers. I had a friend in college who was running on a well traveled trail just off the bike path when a man with a knife and duct tape jumped out from behind a bush and attacked her. She managed to get away, but she was beaten up pretty badly. Ever since then, I have been super cautious about where I run when I am by myself.
Bring a phone. That way if you get lost or need help, you can call someone or look up directions to get back. I have to admit I almost never do this, unless I am running by myself in a new place. But I have a few familiar routes I tend to stick to, and I prefer to run with people or dogs, so I’m not usually alone.
What are your best tips for staying safe when you run?
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