Whether you are a seasoned runner or new to running, it’s easy to focus on your pace, your next race, the outdoor scenery, your music, and overlook many issues associated with safety while out running.  It’s a topic many of us do not like to think about, and a shame some aspects of it even need to be discussed, but it is very important and one that should not be ignored.  While you can’t always eliminate every safety concern, you can be smart and make choices that help improve the likelihood of a fun, safe run.  

Keep the general running safety tips below from the Road Runners Club of America in mind on all of your runs.​

  • DON’T WEAR HEADPHONES. Use your ears to be aware of your surroundings. Your ears may help you avoid dangers your eyes may miss during evening or early morning runs. If you need music to run, try just wearing one earphone and keep the volume low.
  • Run against traffic so you can observe approaching automobiles. By facing on-coming traffic, you may be able to react quicker than if it is behind you.
  • Look both ways before crossing. Be sure the driver of a car acknowledges your right-of-way before crossing in front of a vehicle. Try to make eye contact with them.
  • Carry identification or write your name, phone number, and blood type on the inside sole of your running shoe. Include any medical information. Get a Road ID
  • Always stay alert and aware of what’s going on around you. The more aware you are, the less vulnerable you are.
  • Carry a cell phone or change for a phone call. Know the locations of public phones along your regular route.
  • Trust your intuition about a person or an area. React on your intuition and avoid a person or situation if you’re unsure. If something tells you a situation is not “right”, it isn’t.
  • Alter or vary your running route pattern; run in familiar areas if possible. In unfamiliar areas, such as while traveling, contact a local club or running store. Know where open businesses or stores are located in case of emergency.
  • Run with a partner. Run with a dog. Run with a local group.
  • Write down or leave word of the direction of your run. Tell friends and family of your favorite running routes. If you run with your phone, get an app that shares your location with friends and family so they know where you are.  Check out a few of these.
  • Avoid unpopulated areas, deserted streets, and overgrown trails. Avoid unlit areas, especially at night. Run clear of parked cars or bushes.
  • Ignore verbal harassment and do not verbally harass others. Use discretion in acknowledging strangers. Look directly at others and be observant, but keep your distance and keep moving.
  • Wear reflective material if you must run before dawn or after dark. Wear a headlamp or carry a flashlight as well. Avoid running on the street when it is dark. 
  • Practice memorizing license tags or identifying characteristics of strangers.
  • Carry a noisemaker. Get training in self-defense. Here are some great self defense products for runners.
  • When using multi-use trails, follow the rules of the road. If you alter your direction, look over your should before crossing the trail to avoid a potential collision with an oncoming cyclist or passing runner.
  • CALL POLICE IMMEDIATELY if something happens to you or someone else, or you notice anyone out of the ordinary. It is important to report incidents immediately.