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How To Run Safely

Aug 17, 2007
Susan was a slave to her schedule. Rain or shine, she laced on her running shoes and set out on her daily jog. She left at the same time, ran the same route, and arrived home at the same time.

It was like clockwork. And the schedule that gave Susan comfort gave the mugger opportunity. Susan knew there was trouble the moment he pulled his car beside her on the curb and asked for directions.

She kept running, he kept following. This day belonged to Susan, though. A mounted policeman crossed her path, and she yelled for help.

The car sped off, but was caught two blocks later. The driver was wanted for armed robbery and rape, and admitted that he had singled out Susan because he knew when and where to find her.

On Your Mark

* If you are a new runner, visit your physician for a complete medical examination if you have high blood pressure or lipids; a personal or family history of health problems; or if you are: over 35 years of age; overweight; physically inactive and easily fatigued; a smoker.

* Get fit before starting to run. Consult a medical professional for strengthening exercises and stretches for running.

* Warm up before you run. Afterwards, cool down to enable your body to gradually return to normal.

Plan Carefully

* Choose a safe time and place to run. Walk the route first.

* If possible run on grass or dirt. Knee injuries can occur if you run on hard surfaces.

* Avoid running on roadways. However, if you must run there:
-avoid peak traffic hours.
-run on the shoulder facing traffic at all times.
-obey all traffic signals.
-do not run on snow or ice covered roads.

Automobile drivers have enough distractions.

* Wear light colored clothing at dawn or dusk, and bright clothes in daytime.

* Alter your route. Don't be predictable, which would allow someone to assume you would pass by at a certain time. Think of Susan.

* If you must run at night or in inclement weather, choose well-lighted, populated areas. Wear highly visible white or reflective clothing. To improve your chances of being seen, carry a flashlight.

* Save the safest area of your route for the end of your run. You are most fatigued then and less able to deal with an emergency situation. Reserve some energy for emergencies.

* Make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of a car, even when you have the right-of-way.

* Avoid running on narrow, twisting or hilly roads with no shoulders. You are hard to see, and when two cars approach each other, a hazardous situation occurs.

* Carry personal identification, including the person to contact in an emergency, and important medical information, such as blood type or allergies.

* Join a running association to get training tips.

Stay Alert At All Times

* Never run with headphones.

* Avoid running near doorways, alleys, or dense shrubs.

* Always tell someone where you will be running and when you will return. Better yet, run with a friend.

* If you use a jogging path, run during the popular hours.

* Do not wear bright or expensive jewelry. It can attract thieves.

* Ignore verbal harassment.

* Do not daydream. Run with your head up. Be aware of your surroundings.

* Know the places where you could get help if necessary.

* Avoid areas with aggressive dogs. The best way to treat a barking dog is to act as if you are ignoring it, but stay alert for an attack.

* Do not run between a dog and its owner, especially a child.

* If you suspect a car is following you, run the other way. Don't hesitate to holler "I'm being followed" if you suspect someone is following you. Draw attention to yourself.
About the Author
John Myre is the author of the award-winning book, Live Safely in a Dangerous World, and the publisher of the Safety Times Reproducible Articles..
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