Staying Safe While Training for a Race

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Although this hound isn’t vicious, there are some dogs that are!

Today’s Run: 10 miles @ 1:46:00
Unfortunately, after my treadmill surpasses 99 minutes, it stops counting the seconds, which completely drives me nuts.

Today I ran my 10 miles for Meg. Whenever I started to get bored or fatigued, I’d start to think about Meg, and remind myself how lucky and blessed I am to be alive, and have all of my limbs. I also started to think about all of the dangers that are out there on the road, and what we (as runners) can do to avoid said dangers.

Obviously we can’t control the drunk drivers and the crazies that are on the road, but there are certain things that I know I do to avoid getting attacked by a stranger, hit by a car, even chased by a dog.

1) Avoid running in high traffic areas, and avoid running at prime driving times (like rush hour). I live in a small development that is a couple miles when I run the entire neighborhood, but it’s set off a really busy road. I won’t run on the busy street except to do the neighborhood loop, and I try to avoid it around 5:30/6:00 p.m. in the evening or between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m., which I know are high traffic times.

2) Wear bright colors. This is something that never occurred to me until one day, when I was getting ready to go for a run, my husband scolded me for looking like I was going to blend into the road. I always make sure I either have a bright shirt or bright pants on while running.

3) Keep your phone on you at all times. Even though I don’t use it for my runs, I still wear an armband with my phone in it whenever I’m running on the road. It may be a little bulky, but I like to have it on me (not just with me) in case anything ever happened. In the pre-smartphone era, I was once chased by a hitchhiker who was walking down the road while running in Maine. Luckily, I was able to outrun him! But I was still nervous when I got home because nobody else was with me, and I was afraid he might follow me there. I immediately called the police.

4) Keep an ID with you. Unfortunately, this is something I’m not very good at doing. I guess because I know everyone in my neighborhood I feel like this exempts me from the rule, but it’s always good to have some type of ID with you, whether it’s your driver’s license, or you’re wearing a road ID. I generally do carry my drivers license with me when running in any road races.

5) Always tell your husband, your roommate, your mom (whomever you live with) where you plan on running, and how long you think it will take. One time I was out running later than I expected to be and JP came looking for me because he was worried. It’s always good to have someone that worries about you!

6) For bloggers, don’t publish what time of day you plan on running. I only publish this when I’m running on the treadmill. If I’m running outside, I try to change up running in the morning and running in the evening so nobody can predict when and where they’ll find me.

7) Regarding dogs: there are a number of unleaded dogs on my street. It’s inevitable that I’ll come across one of my neighbors dogs trying to chase me (which has happened on more than one occasion!). The worst thing you can do is try to run from it (they’re always faster). For me, stopping and confronting the dog and telling it to go home has always been sufficient. But if you’re someone who is afraid of dogs, you can try carrying pepper spray with you. DO NOT carry treats around with you when running, this will only make dogs more likely to want to chase you!

All of these above mentioned tips are based on my personal experiences. Please use your own judgment when adopting any of these techniques, as each person’s situation is unique to their environment.

What are some safety tips that you can offer?

Have you ever been chased by a dog while on a run?

Have you ever encountered some other scary type of situation while running? If so, what was it?

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6 thoughts on “Staying Safe While Training for a Race

  1. Megan @ Meg Go Run

    I have been chased by dogs, but they were all friendly and just wanted something to chase. Normally I am more worried about the dog’s safety in this case. Once, a dog jumped it’s fence one pitch black morning and stood in the middle of a busy side road and barked at me. When I tried to coax it back over the fence, it growled at me. So I had to go knock on the person’s door to tell them their dog was int he middle of the road and that it now knows how to jump the fence!!! I am also bad at taking ID with me. In fact when I run around my neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods, I don’t take my ID OR my phone. Which is dumb, because even though I am in a very safe neighborhood, if I got hit by a car or something, no one would know who I was unless I was on the actual street I live. No one else really knows me…

    Reply
  2. Heather

    These are all great tips! I always like to make eye-contact or get the ‘wave’ from a driver before I cross the street. I’ve never been chased by an aggressive dog, but lots of friendly ones that want to run with me. 🙂

    Meg kept me running on my 14 miler yesterday too.

    Reply
  3. Andrea

    My treadmill does the same thing… just found that out this past Friday night! I was secretly hoping my treadmill was on its last leg so I’d have an excuse to purchase a new and improved one. It would certainly convince my husband of the “necessity” to do so. I encountered so many dogs this summer during my morning runs. Stopping, standing still and letting them get their bark out helps. Never run away. On one particular run, I had three dogs follow me for four miles. I enjoy your blog. Keep up the good work and training. I hope to run my first 1/2 this summer.

    Reply
    1. 262x2 Post author

      Andrea, thanks so much for your positive feedback about my blog! I always love to hear when people are enjoying reading it…sometimes I’m not quite sure what topics people enjoy the most, but I always strive to include information that my readers can relate to. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Jessica @ RunYourMuttOff

    Your tips are are all great, and ones that I follow too. In addition to having my smartphone to make a call in an emergency, my husband and I use the “Find Friends” app to track each other. So not only does he know where I’m going/how long I’ll be gone, he can pull it up to check and make sure my dot on the map is in the right area, and still moving.
    I also wear a reflective device, day and night. At night it reflects headlights really well, and during the day the bright yellow color is helpful. I have this one and love it: http://www.amphipod.com/products/visibility/reflective-vests/xinglet

    Reply

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