5 Safety Tips for Running Outdoors
Running outdoors can sometimes be tricky. That is because your chances of injury increase when you leave the safe confines of an indoor running experience. That’s why treadmills and elliptical trainers were invented in the first place. However, running outdoors has been shown to improve your mood, lower your stress level, boost vitamin D production and offer a better overall experience than running the same distance indoors. Practice the following tips any time you run outside, and you can reap all the outdoor benefits without experiencing any of the negatives.
Make yourself visible
Being visible to drivers, cyclers and pedestrians at night is extremely important. But just because you are running during daytime hours doesn’t mean you should be any less noticeable. You can dress for visibility and fashion at the same time, ensuring that you limit your chances of injury because someone didn’t see you. Brightly colored clothes and reflective tape get the job done admirably.
If you run at night, run in a group
Your schedule may mean that you have to run at night. If so, get in touch with other runners and head out together. Remember, there is safety in numbers. Most major cities have multiple running clubs and organizations, and Running.Meetup.com helps you find like-minded runners just about anywhere.
Place yourself on high alert
Any time you run outdoors, day or night, you need to practice excellent situational awareness. The majority of injuries suffered by outdoor runners happen because the runner was more concerned about finding the right song on his iPod rather than with staying aware of his surroundings. Always keep an eye out for possible terrain or environmental issues, and leave the music for indoor running.
Don’t assume anything
Just because you have run the same course thousands of times doesn’t mean something hasn’t changed. This also means not assuming that drivers can see you, or will do the right thing even when they do see you. Even if you are on a dedicated running and biking path, that does not necessarily mean cyclists and other runners understand proper path etiquette. Assume nothing.
Carry cash and an automated teller card
Why do you need an automated teller machine card and cash to run safely outdoors? Consider these points. If you are running while traveling or on vacation, what if you get lost? What if the weather turns sour, or a minor injury gets worse? Having some cash and an ATM card on you when you are running outdoors means always being able to pay for a cab or a taxi if you need one. This also ensures that you can stop for an energy drink, bottled water, first aid supplies or food if the need should arise.
Why Buy a GPS Watch?
Besides having a great looking watch on your wrist, there are several sports where you need to have a GPS watch and surprisingly not all of them have to do directly with fitness.
One of the features available on most GPS watches is the ability to enter in way points. These can be quite helpful if you want to get back to that hunting or fishing spot where you had good luck the last time you were out.
Another nice feature is trackback. It can be easy to get lost in the woods if you are not careful how you got from your car to where you are in the middle of the woods with trees all looking the same. What could otherwise be a potential panic situation, with trackback, you can retrace your way back to your car.
A GPS watch can be a valuable aid when hiking. Not only does it serve as a map and compass, but also an altimeter so you know the elevation gained or lost during your hike. And like above, the trackback feature is invaluable. Things look different when going in the other direction. And if you had several splits in the trail, can you remember which ones you took? With the trackback feature, you don’t have to, just follow the path on your GPS watch back to your car.
If you are training for a competitive run such as a marathon, then a GPS watch is a must-have training tool. With the built-in heart rate monitor, you can tell how hard you are working. Also, by gathering certain data, it can predict your VO2max or the amount of oxygen you are taking in, also an indicator of how hard you are working.
Having this data on your wrist will prevent you from pushing yourself over your ability while at the same time help develop and increase your fitness level by tracking how far you have run and the elapsed time it took to cover that distance. With all that information easily available, you can better plan how you will train to meet your time/distance goal of your next competition run.
GPS watches are great tools to help you better enjoy your sport. Not only do you not have to worry about getting lost, but they can better assess your fitness level and help you reach your goal faster.