Sunday, April 22, 2012

Safety Before Fashion

Running in the early morning hours, it's obviously dark, especially through the winter months. I have slowly been adding to my safety gear. At first, I wasn't willing to spend the money on safety gear, thinking I wouldn't keep running in the wee hours. Looks like I was wrong; almost two years have passed since I switched to early morning running!

Due to the safety concerns about running in the dark (for women or men), I am finally feeling pretty safe in the mornings. Here's what I do to try to stay as safe as possible:

I carry a container of pepper spray. We live in a very safe area, but you can never be too safe and I would like to think I'm not (completely) naive. There is also the issue of animals that I could potentially encounter.

I try to wear my most reflective gear. However, so many items of running clothes are dark in color. Most of my pants/tights/capris are black, but luckily I have some light and bright color shirts and jackets.

***Added from my original post and I can't believe I forgot it! My 1BandID! Actually, I can believe that I forgot it as I never have to think about it, it just goes with me when I wear my watch. If you haven't heard of 1BandID, check them out! It's no fun to think that something bad could happen to you on a run or ride, but, I've been running long enough that I have almost been hit by a car and have heard of many more horror stories. Having an id on you so emergency professionals can easily contact your family is very important.

When I run alone, I ALWAYS carry my phone. I have had to call for a ride home from getting an injury, running out of water on a HOT day, and having too hard of a run and making myself sick. Having it with me, gives both me and Jeff a little more peace of mind. Also, I can text Jeff to let him know if I am having a slower than anticipated run so he doesn't worry if I'm home later than I originally told him to expect me.

My headlamp serves dual purpose (in my mind, at least). I use it to see better in the areas without as many street lights and also for the on-coming cars to see me better. The first couple times I wore a headlamp, I felt really silly. Now, it's just part of my morning gear...I put on my running shoes, I put on my headlamp, then I head out the door! Again, SAFETY is more important!

Recently, I was chosen in a random drawing on Go Sport ID's Facebook page and received FOUR safety lights. YAY! These were on my list of needed items, but let's face it; running (supposedly the "cheap" sport), is really anything but! They were delivered to me on Wednesday and I tried one out on Thursday.

Thank you, Go Sport ID, for making me safer!

There are different settings depending on how obnoxious visible you want to be to cars. It definitely worked! My neighbor texted me that day thanking me for wearing my blinking light and said he wishes more people would do that. He saw me from about 1/4 mile away! I'm not sure if he could have seen me from a longer distance as he had just come around a curve. He leaves for work at 5:30 every morning and has almost hit other runners and even a cyclist with NO reflective gear. Come on, people, SAFETY FIRST! Frankly, I do not care what I look like in the early morning hours, I wish I could get a decent picture and I would share it with everyone. (Difficult to get a picture of yourself when the rest of the house is sleeping!) What I do care about is coming home SAFELY to my family. I care that I will live to see another sunrise. I care that I will live for another run.

After finally having enough credit on, I was able to order my reflective vest. I chose a Nathan  vest and it should be here in the middle of the week. Now, I will be able to venture out of my neighborhood, away from the streetlights feeling a little more comfortable on the county roads. Trust me, this is much needed after all the miles I have logged in my little subdivision and the surrounding 3. My brain will really appreciate the variety!

Runners, walkers, cyclists, what do you do to stay safe on the road or trail?


  1. A study I read recently stated that headlamps are visible 1/2 mile away, reflective vest at 500 feet, and a white shirt at 50 feet. (I hope I got those numbers right)

    I run at the opposite end of the spectrum, mostly at night after the kids get to sleep. I've outfitted myself with the vest, the headlamp, and the flashing LED to be as safe as possible.

    I also run with my iPhone and the RunMeter app. The app updates dailymile with my location ever 10 minutes (encourages comments to keep me going) and it also EMAILS my wife every 10 minutes with my current location.

    She always knows when I am running and where I am running. I love it!

    Agree, those runners running in the dark need to be as safe as possible. OH and ALWAYS make eye contact with drivers before running in the crosswalk in front of them. Amazing how many people don't see the person in the crosswalk.

    1. Thanks, Greg! Love that the RunMeter emails your wife. And yes, eye contact is very important, I do that as much as possible, too!

  2. Anne - I have a headlamp and run with pepper spray. I need a flashing light & vest before winter hits.

    @Greg - I love that it emails your wife! Brilliant!!


    1. Yay, Kim! Glad you have safety in mind!

  3. I carry my phone, wear a white or light-colored top (some of them have a bit of reflectiveness) and sometimes I take my headlamp. I always hesitate about the headlamp because I'd rather remain invisible. Part of the reason I go so early is to avoid people looking at me. I know it sounds strange. I'm very careful at intersections and street crossings and I never listen to my iPod when I'm on the road.


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