In a perfect world, each time I head out to run, no one will be on the road. It would just be me, the sound of feet pounding the pavement, my increasingly faster breathing and, when I’m in my neighborhood, some good tunes.
But the reality is, each week I tend to run at different times of the day. It’s all schedule dependent and based on when my son has school activities, when clients are available to meet and when there are family gatherings we don’t want to miss.
That means there are many times I’m running at dawn, dusk and during rush hour – especially now as I’m trying to work in all my training runs prepping for the upcoming Virginia Running Festival Half Marathon at Christopher Newport University in November.
I put increasing emphasis on rush hour. Sadly, a jogger was hit by a car and killed recently in the South Hampton Roads, Va. region. I fear that there are far too many other opportunities for this tragedy to occur.
I’ve seen it personally. Cars going too fast on residential roads, not moving over for runners, drivers on their cell phones and looking up just as you hop in the ditch and more.
So this week, let’s talk about jogging safety.
- Where possible, run off the street or against traffic. This way, you can see cars coming at you.
- Make sure you are visible. Whether you are running in the middle of the afternoon or just as the sun is popping up, wear bright colors. My lucky running hat is a bright blue for that very reason. While I don’t always wear reflective gear, I do don yellow, bright pink and white running tops most days.
- Don’t run alone at night. I’m guilty of doing this one, but when I do, I stick to my hood and carry a flashlight with me.
- Carry identification. Carry a cell phone. It’s not ideal, but if you were to get injured, this will enable someone nearby to identify you or for you to make an emergency call.
- Ok. Ok. I know that the safety protocols say DO NOT listen to your iPod or other tunes during a run. This is true. But if you’re like me, and really need it to push through a long run, consider only putting in one ear bud and keeping it low. Don’t ever use them on a busy road.
- Stop at intersections and, just as Momma taught us, look both ways before running across the street.
- NEVER ASSUME DRIVERS SEE YOU! Like I said, I’ve hopped into my fair share of ditches to avoid oncoming traffic.
There are running gear options that further enable your safety – reflective running shirts, running belts and more. Check out a nearby running store to learn more. I’m a big fan of Point 2 Running Company in Newport News.
Stephanie Heinatz is a mother, wife, small business owner and running enthusiast who’s working to get back on her running game. Follow her training saga here as she gets ready for the Virginia Running Festival’s Half-Marathon at Christopher Newport University on Nov. 10, 2013. Stephanie is the founder of Consociate Media, a local Marketing firm located in Gloucester, Virginia.