The London Marathon seems to come and go so quickly each year, and more and more high profile running events pop up the world-over. It seems the running bug has bitten the majority! So Jenn, from Essentials of a Healthy Life, is here again this week to talk to us about staying safe while running. Over to Jenn:

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If you are like me, you work a 9-5 job and your workout doesn’t happen until later in the evening. By the time you get home, make dinner, take care of the dishes, and everything else you need to do, it is already dark outside. Especially in winter when it gets dark out early. I’m not a fan of running in the dark, so I would usually just skip my run or do my run on the treadmill. Ugh the treadmill. Nothing is worse than trying to run further than two miles on a treadmill! But that’s a post for another time!

 

Now that I am training for a half-marathon, skipping runs is not an option. Additionally, many of my runs are over two miles, so I have to run outside. The treadmill just isn’t going to do. So, I did the necessary research of all I would need to make these runs safe and comfortable. Now I want to share what I have learned and experienced with you all!

 

Go running with a partner

 

Two is better than one! Unless your partner has super long legs and you have to sprint to keep up with their jog like I have to with  my husband (haha!). Seriously though, running with a partner not only holds you accountable, but it is a great way to stay safer at night. When you run with a partner, you have an extra set of eyes and ears to look out for any potential dangers. It also decreases the chances of someone trying to attack you. If you can’t find a running buddy, then ALWAYS tell someone where you will be  running. Find a running buddy and stay safer!

 

Wear something bright

 

It is dark and cars cannot see you. Bottom line. It is a must that you wear some type of reflective gear whether it is a vest, a flash lightLED gear, or anything else that makes you noticeable. You also need to be on the lookout for cars and run against traffic if there is not a sidewalk. I don’t take any chances when I run at night. I am always looking around for cars. It is easier for you to see them than for them to see you.

 

Bring your phone with you

 

I know most of you bring it anyways, but carry a cell phone with you. If there is a potential danger, 911 is just a phone call away. I have also pretended like I was talking on the phone so it looked like I was not alone. I know that might seem silly, but if it keeps you safer then why not?! Your cell phone can also act as another light so that cars can see you. I love using the flashlight feature on my iPhone.

 

Have an alert system on you at all times

 

This is a must and is the best weapon you will have in case you do get attacked. Pepper spray is small enough that it isn’t a nuisance and it is easy to carry. I actually keep my pepper spray right in my hand in case I see someone lurking around or I sense any  danger. If you get attacked and it is in your pocket, you likely won’t have time to get it out, so I always hold it. You can also get them much smaller than the one I have pictured here. I just use this one because it was given to me as a gift. You don’t have to, but I even have it with me if I am running alone during the day. I just feel safer when I have it.

 

UK IMPORTANT ADDITION – In a nutshell the law suggests that full pepper spray, the type the UK police use, contains a noxious gas and is therefore considered illegal to carry and illegal to use in the UK by civilians. Jenn and I would therefore suggest buying a Police Approved personal alarm instead. Something that makes some serious noise, and use as detailed above.

 

Run without listening to music

 

Okay, so this one is super hard for me. I cannot run without music, so I break this rule all the time. Instead, I run with one earbud in and one out with the volume on low. This allows me to hear any cars coming or anyone who may be sneaking up on me. If you do have to listen to music like I do, then make sure you are constantly checking your surroundings and looking behind you. If you are fine with running without music, then ditch the headphones!

 

I am sure some of these safety tips seem obvious, but you would be surprised by how many people don’t take the necessary precautions when running at night. This doesn’t mean you have to be afraid to run at night or shouldn’t. Running at night is actually quite relaxing, but you have to make your safety a top priority. You can still have a great run and stay safe at the same time!

 

What’s your running routine? Do you have any awesome tips or products you couldn’t live without? Let us know in the comments!

 

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