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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Safety Tips For Runners

Running often gets a bad rap. A lot of physicians are undecided whether the risks outweigh the benefits. New studies have suggested that distance running can shorten your life span. I believe that everyone has to decide for themselves whether to take the risks, but I prefer to take the risks. I know what I feel like when I run, vs. when I don't. I know that if I'm not running, I get lazy. I know that I love how a crappy, stressful day can look completely different after a good run.  I love the sense of accomplishment that I feel when I have set a new PR, completed a race, or tackled a new goal. I love the running community and all that it offers. I understand that someday my knees may be shot, or I could suffer an injury that I don't bounce back from, but there is risk in anything we do. Running is one of those risky things you can participate in that actually has amazing health benefits with the added bonus of the thrill or "high" that you get from it. When you step onto a roller coaster, you have risks, but you do it for the thrill! You still get on the coaster, knowing that the safety strap could malfunction, or the car could derail, but you love the high you get from it so you are willing to take the risk for the love of the high. Running is the same for those of us that share the love for it. It is worth the risk to us. Some might call us "crazy", but we love to be called "crazy"!
Lately, I have had running safety on my mind and thought I would share some of my tips with you. If you are already an experienced runner, you have your own safety routines. I still find it helpful whether you are a beginner or a pro to share each others safety tips. One thing about runners is that we may be "crazy", but we also like to protect ourselves and each other. I hope whether you are new or old to the sport, that you get something from my own personal tips (listed in no particular order).
  1. I know you are proud of your hard work, but DO NOT post your maps on social network unless you are just trying to get yourself abducted and/or killed. You can still post your accomplishments without giving every detail. A lot of you probably even start your run from your home. Posting a map with regular running routines and times is letting the whole world see where you live, where you've gone, and approximately how long you will be gone. Don't give too much info. All we need to know is how far you went and how fast you did it. Stop over sharing for you own safety.
  2. Switch things up. It is hard not to go out for your run at the same time each day. You have your routine and know what time of day works best for you, but you should change things up. This includes running the same route every single time you go out. Don't be predictable. Be smart. 
  3. If you do choose to run with ear buds, don't blare your music at such a high volume that you drown out all other noise. You need to be alert and aware of your surroundings. 
  4. I always run with pepper spray. If you have ever had an encounter with an angry dog while out on a run, you probably carry some kind of protection with you. Whatever your protection of choice may be, make sure you never leave home without it. Getting too comfortable can be a big mistake. Always make sure you are prepared to protect yourself. 
  5. Run against traffic. Elementary, I know, but it is surprising how many runners I see running with the flow of traffic. There may be sharp curves or running lanes that force you to break this rule, but as a rule, run against traffic!

On a fun note, I am sharing the Ten Commandments For The Runner. Hope you enjoyed it and found my tips useful. Stay safe out there!

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