Safe Running

A look at runners safety with Occly

With the emergence of new wearable technologies in the last couple of years, there’s certainly no shortage geared toward runners. Since the introduction of the ipod, many other wearable products have become available to the running community, including gps devices to help guide runners on trails, watches that help monitor target heart rate, products that push you to be more active than the last day, and even insoles which help correct your running style while also keeping your feet warm during those cold winter runs. The possibilities seem endless in regards to new technologies tailored toward the running population. However, often enough one important aspect that is overlooked but should be a top priority is personal safety.

We’ve heard all these safety tips before but let’s reiterate:

  • VISABILITY: Make yourself visible: never forget to wear bright clothing and reflective gear, especially at night and during the winter time. Use LED lighting if possible.

  • LOOK: Always take precaution and use your own two eyes. Many drivers are often distracted by cell phones, eating in the car, and handling their kids etc. Never assume that you can be seen.

  • FACE FORWARD: Run facing traffic so you can be noticed easily and don’t have to look back constantly.

  • DAYLIGHT: When possible, run during the day when you are visible rather than at night. Run at lunch instead of in the early morning or late evening.

  • LISTEN: Make your senses aware by setting a reasonable volume on your headphones. Try to keep one earbud out if possible. You should be able to hear your feet hit the ground or hear yourself breathing.

  • POWER OF THE GROUP: Run with a partner or a group in case you’re in need of someone to call for help during an emergency. 

  • VARIETY: Be unpredictable by not using the same route everyday so “bad guys” don’t look for patterns or routines when you run.

  • PROTECTION: Be prepared by taking a self-defense class.

  • PRECAUTION: Obey all signage and traffic laws. remember, right of way doesn’t matter in the event of an accident. 



A little advice for safe running on public paths, trails and roadways and at races

  • Carry identification, including relevant medical information (name, blood type, allergic reactions, emergency contact with phone number). There are companies that make tags for your shoes for this very purpose, such as Road ID.

  • Run in populated areas. Run in familiar areas.

  • Carry money —enough to take a taxi or bus if available, or enough to make a phone call if needed.

  • If you run in less-traveled or more remote areas, carry a cellular phone, but don’t rely on it as sometimes you may not have cell service in remote areas.

  • Run with a buddy and/or a dog (use a leash, preferably without an “extender” or retractable leash as bikers and others can become entangled.)

  • If you run alone, be sure someone you know is familiar with your running routine—when you run and where you run. If you deviate from that routine, make sure you tell them.

  • Run in daylight. If you must run at night, only venture into well-lit areas and wear brightly-colored or reflective clothes.

  • Obey all traffic laws and run facing traffic.

  • Carry a whistle or protective spray. Consider self-defense training.

  • Stay to the right unless you are passing someone. Be very careful merging left into a passing lane.

  • Run no more than two abreast when you are with a group. Do not force other runners, pedestrians, or cyclists off of the path. If you are in a particularly busy area, run single file.

  • Never stop suddenly in the middle of a path or during a race.

  • Always look around you before entering or exiting a path, at intersections, at drinking fountains and at hydration stations in races.

  • Be aware that listening to music via headphones reduce awareness of your surroundings.

  • Never run if lightning is present (though running in a warm rain is fun!).

  • Wear protective clothing suitable for the weather conditions. Use sunscreen, a hat with a visor, and sunglasses when it is sunny.

  • Stay well-hydrated, especially in hot weather. Also when it is hot, consider scaling back your mileage and pace. Try to run at cooler times of day like early morning. Make sure you bring enough fluids with you.

  • Protect your skin in the winter by dressing appropriately.

  • Be careful of icy roads and sidewalks and remember that if it’s icy for you, it’s also icy for the cars out there and proceed with extreme caution.

  • Follow instructions at races; line up appropriately; and do not bring dogs, strollers or bikes on to the course when they are not permitted. If strollers or pets are permitted at a race, stay to the back and allow runners to get on their way before you join them for your safety and those you’ve brought with you.