I’ve been running on and off for 20 years and wanted to put together a list of all the things I either use or have heard of that’ll help to keep us safe during our running journey. Even if you have all of these things, always be vigilant and have your wits about you.
- Live tracking with Garmin and Google Maps
- Run in popular, well-lit areas
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Make sure others can see you
- Take a friend
- Take some money
- Alarm on a key ring
- Garmin – fall alert notification
- Watch out for yourself
- Couch to 5k program
Live tracking with Garmin and Google Maps
When I go for a run, I set two separate tracking apps off which goes to my husband. He not only knows the route I’m taking, but these two tracking apps give him access to my live location (yes they run at the same time).
I have this linked with Strava. As soon as I set a running activity live on my watch, it starts the activity and sends my husband a phone notification which he can click on, showing my exact (and live) location. It updates every few seconds. Live tracking turns off when I finish the activity using my watch to end the run. Q&A here on Garmin for all things Livetrack.
I have the Garmin Fenix 7s – check it out here on Amazon.
Using the Maps app, you can ‘share your location’ for either a set amount of time or until you turn it off. This sends my husband an email, where he can access a link which takes him to my exact location. It’s manual every time I go for a run but only takes a few clicks.
Always ensure to let someone know where you are running, and how long you’ll be gone just in case the live tracking doesn’t work. Let them know you’ll confirm when you get home safely. In addition to this, let them know where you’ll go and a time estimate if you decide to go a bit further.
Run in popular, well-lit areas
Run in popular, safe, built-up areas if it’s safe to do so but be careful of cars reversing from driveways. Even if you’ve run the same route a million times, always be alert and watch what you are doing and where you are going.
Running in the dark? Not ideal
I don’t ever do this. I would be worried about missing the pavement and twisting an ankle. Also if you’re running alone, you need to take your safety seriously. Are you able to go in daylight instead? Or with a group? You never who or what potential threats are around.
Be aware of your surroundings
If you like to listen to music, get yourself a set of Shokz OpenFit headphones which don’t go in your ear so you still get situational awareness. I have them and I love them. Not only can I hear my music, but I can hear cars around me as the buds don’t go in my ear canal.
I don’t go running in the dark though – I wouldn’t recommend listening to music at all, as you need to be extra alert.
If you must run on a road (try to find alternatives) run towards traffic.
Make sure others can see you
Wear bright colours, such as yellow. You can get a gilet to wear on top of whatever else you’re wearing or a bright hat.
Wear clothes with a reflective strip which shines off car headlights. They are cheap enough so there’s no excuse not to wear one of these especially as it won’t add to your clothing (it won’t make you warmer).
Get a body light for your front and back, extremely important if you’re running when it’s dark.
Take a friend
Run in groups or with a friend to not only improve your safety but to get extra motivation!
Take some money
For those ‘just in case‘ moments. My husband goes cycling and always takes a £20 note just in case his bike fails and he needs to get a taxi home. The same can be said for runners – if you go too far and get injured, or something else happens and you haven’t got the energy, it’s a way for you to get home easily and safely.
Carry it separately to a bag too, just in case the worst happens and your bag is taken. I carry my key in my trouser pocket as well as cash.
Alarm on a key ring
I haven’t got one or used one, but something popular on Amazon is a key alarm. You have it on a keyring – somewhere close so it’s easy to press should something happen and you need to raise the alarm with a loud noise. They start at a fiver. Have a look here on Amazon for alarm keys.
Garmin – fall alert notification
Garmin can have a contact be alerted should you fall over. I haven’t used it, but my husband’s friend does. He fell over once on a walk, and my husband got an alert. He called his friend to ensure everything was okay. It was, he’d jumped into a big drift of snow and it had set it off! Good to know it works at least. I’m not sure what the sensitivity is but I’m sure, knowing Garmin, it’s editable.
Watch out for yourself
Never assume the actions others will take. I’ve had some pretty hairy times out on runs because others haven’t seen me.
- Running past open drives – maybe you’re running on a road with houses. People reversing their car out might not have seen you (in fact, 99% of the time, they haven’t). I would run in the middle of the pavement. This gives you some distance to quickly move out of the way. I wouldn’t run right next to the road because if you clip your ankle and fall, it’s much more dangerous and you could fall into the road.
- Running on a road? Make sure to face oncoming traffic, and I always move over for vehicles. Don’t assume they’ve seen you or will move over.
- Running on a slim road? You’ll need to watch out for cars in front and behind you. Don’t assume cars have seen you. I always move out of the way (it allows me to have a 10-second break).
Couch to 5k program
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