Thursday, August 20, 2009

Running outdoors? Play it safe!!!

I read the attached article today and thought how timely! Just the other evening I was having dinner outdoors with a friend of mine, and at 9:00pm, we were remarking at how many night time runners there were.

To top it off, so many solo female runners, with i-pods nonetheless! During the hot summer months, the coolest part of the day is either in the morning or in the evening, but as the days get shorter, these times are also the darkest part of the day. Too often exercisers are so focused on the purpose, getting the workout in, that they forget about the safety precautions. I often advise my clients, and especially stress to the female clients, the importance of safety when working out outdoors. The same precautionary measures that you would take as woman walking alone at night or in secluded areas are the same measures that should be taken ESPECIALLY when you're working out. Why? Because potential attackers know that you are distracted and that distraction serves as a great opportunity for them to pounce! I echo the same sentiments as the Run Shoe Store owner in the article who says that your mind needs to be on EVERYTHING. Yes, it's great to listen to music and have that motivate you while running, but save the i-pod/i-touch for the treadmill. My rule of thumb, if you can't hear that squirrel scurrying up the tree, then you can't hear some one sneaking up behind you. PAY ATTENTION!

Consideration should also be taken in to what is worn for outdoor activity, from wearing clothing with reflective strips for running at night, down to the eyewear worn in the day. I have a great pair of wrap-around sunglasses that I use for running, although stylish, they allow me to see everything. No blind spots mean that I'm less surprised about whom or what enters my "space".

Extra tips that I give to my clients:

•Use the buddy system: it's been said many times "there's safety in numbers"
•Stay away from secluded areas and run in well-lit areas
•If you can, opt for the street rather than the sidewalk
•Don't talk on your phone and no texting (yes I’ve seen this, people running AND texting), it has the same effect to a would-be attacker as an i-pod i.e. distraction

Awareness is key! There’s no need to stay indoors, get out there, but stay aware and safe

Here's a great article written by Jenice Armstrong of the Philadelphia Daily News highlighting the importance of safety while running outdoors...

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