Training for a race will almost always require you to run outside on the roads. It is great to train outside because that is where you will be racing, but it’s imperative to be SAFE and SMART especially if you’re new to the area or to the running route.
Check off these safety boxes next time you lace up:
Map out your route
If you’re running in a new area or new to running, plan out your route prior to leaving. You will be safest if you know exactly where you’re going, and you don’t want to get lost and run more than intended! The website Mapmyrun has a great “create route” tool to map out an entire run.
Tell someone where you‘re going
Send a quick text or tell someone where you’re running and how long you expect to be running for. It’s always a good idea to be on someone’s radar!
Bring your charged phone
Your phone is not only for music, but for safety too. Phones provide GPS for extra direction and the ability to phone a friend if needed.
Wear reflective or bright clothing
No matter the time of the day or the weather, always try to wear bright clothing and some type of reflective gear to be easily seen by cars. Look for reflective tape that can turn any clothing into reflective clothing!
Avoid using headphones
This tip might be difficult to adhere to, but hearing your surroundings is as important as seeing. If you want to use headphones keep the volume low or only in one ear.
Run against traffic
The rule of thumb is to run on the left side of the road, against traffic. Make sure you can see the oncoming traffic and they can see you.
Communicate with cars
Never assume that a car sees you. Always look both ways and wave to cars to get their attention before crossing the street. Wait for the driver to wave you on.
Run on the shoulder
If there is no sidewalk, run as close to the edge of the road as possible. You want to leave room for traffic to get around you on both sides.
Watch your step
Literally… be aware of the ground for potholes, ice, cracks, rocks, etc. Avoid an ankle roll or potential injury by being mindful of your running surface. Try to run when it is light out to be able to watch your footing.
Written By: Bethann Wittig
Rutgers Recreation Fitness & Personal Training Coordinator
RRCA Running Coach; NASM-CPT