How to stay safe running your commute.

Let someone else know.
Always let someone know when you are leaving and your route. This way at least someone else knows about where you went and your route if something happens to you. It can be a room-mate, partner, friend – it doesn’t matter who as long as it is someone who will follow it up if they don’t hear back from you. Don’t forget to let them know when you arrive at your destination. If you don’t have anyone you can tell leave a note at your house for someone to find.

Mix it up daily.
Try not to leave at the same time each day and run a different route than the day before. Be creative and find a few different ways to run to work. With some creativity, you can create some distance specific variations of your usual run.

Mix it up daily again.
Don’t run at the same pace all the time giving someone the chance to work out a time you will be at the same place during your run.

Social Media.
Don’t post on Social Media as you walk out the door for your commute for obvious reasons. Don’t make it easy for people to know when you are leaving home from a personal safety point of view and home burglary. Contrary to belief, yes you did run even if Instagram and Strava don’t know about it!

Don’t run with music.
You need to be aware of your surroundings – you need to hear what’s going on especially what’s coming behind you. If you have to run with music run with one bud in not both and make sure the volume is low enough that you can hear what’s going on around you. The other alternative is opting for a small portable external speaker.

Be aware of your surroundings.
Try not to run in areas that are not well lit or have large amounts of bushes or vegetation where someone may hide in waiting.

Run where it is busy.
Run where plenty is going on whether it be traffic or pedestrians this way you can get some help if needed. You may or may not want to run through the City Park. Know your area well.

Get noticed with the right gear.
Make your self visible – run in brightly coloured gear, wear reflective strips, flashing lights, and headlamps. Drivers will see flashing lights well before they see you running in low light conditions.

Road or footpath (sidewalk).
If a footpath (sidewalk) is available use it – it will take you out of the domain of the motor vehicles.

Run with your Phone.
Help is only a phone call away. If you get into trouble, need a lift home then your phone will provide you with a lifeline to safety – make sure its fully charged when you leave the house or work to go home – it’s only good as a paperweight if it’s flat.

There are also apps you can use on your phone for personal safety which we talk about here.

Cross the road.
If someone is making you feel uneasy cross the road – turn around and run the other way

Assume you are not seen.
Better to be safe than sorry with this one – never assume a driver has seen you. There are many distractions that a driver could be dealing with – the radio, kids yelling, cell phones. If the driver hits you it’s not going to matter if you were in the right or not – it’s going to be very painful or deadly for you – better to be right and alive then right and injured/ dead. On dark evening or mornings and especially on cold or wet days, grab a headlamp to help see and be seen.

Run facing the traffic.
This allows you to keep an eye on anything that might be going wrong before it becomes an issue for you. It’s easier to be looking forward to traffic than to be turning around to see what’s going on. Studies have shown there is a huge decrease in accidents if you are travelling towards the traffic.

Run with a buddy.
Is there someone else who is doing the running commute to work? If something happens your buddy can help with what’s needed whether it be ringing emergency services or getting other help. There is strength and safety in numbers – two sets of eyes and two sets of ears.

Identification.
Carry some form of ID with you at all times. Don’t be a John or Jane Doe. Your driver’s licence or any other form of photo ID will do the job. You can also invest in identification tags Like RoadID – this can give critical information (allergies, emergency contacts, etc.) in times that you are unable to communicate.

Self-defence course.
Keep yourself safe by taking a local self-defence course. This will also make you more confident and feel in more control.

Carry a whistle.
Carry a simple whistle to blow to attract attention if you’re hurt or in a situation where you don’t feel safe.

Carry some cash.
For that emergency – there’s no telling what it could be but it’s better to have it if you need it. It might be as simple as just needing some water or more serious like taxi fare home after you’ve seriously twisted your ankle.

Dog threats.
This is a whole other article on its own – best to avoid a dog in the first place by crossing the road or changing direction if you spot one in the distance. Keep a safe distance between you and the dog.

Verbal harassment.
The best advice here is just to ignore it and carry on moving. Do not engage the other party in an argument.

Trust your feelings.
If you feel something is wrong – trust your feelings. Call it gut instinct or whatever but if you feel unsafe whatever be the cause; a person, place, or a situation turn around and run in the other direction.

3 thoughts on “How to stay safe running your commute.”

  1. I like the idea of getting creative with the route you take for work. While I am creative with my evening runs, I guess I am used to thinking of a run commute as the same path every day type of thing! I also only live 1.5 miles from work so in the past i’ve thought, “Is it worth it?” to get the extra milage, but I could definitely take the scenic route in!

    • Go for it. I like to mix up the route or even mix up pace or do a little Fartlek using street signs etc as markers. That 1.5 mile sounds perfect to mix it up a little

    • Hi Cyndel, thanks for your comments. Even short runs are so beneficial for so many reasons. You’ll be more motivated to run knowing it’s only 10-15 minutes and you’ll also burn roughly 100 calories. Short runs can set you up for the day and research has shown they improve your immune system. A study in the Journal of The American College of Cardiology has reported that short runs, even 5 to 10 minutes per day reduce risk of developing heart disease. It’s a win-win situation. One I think people often dismiss too quickly – no matter how you look at it getting in a short run has some great benefits.

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