Since 1978
Winter Safety Rain

Safe Winter Running Guide

January, the time everyone wants to get back outside and get back into shape. It's a great time to start chasing down those spring goals or start a working on a better you. It's also the time of year when the daylight hours are few and the hazards are plenty. Most pedestrian vs. car accidents occur in the dark when people are heading out for a pre or post work run. Running in the dark of winter can be serene and peaceful - and will reward you a hundred times over if you follow a few safety rules of the winter road. 1. Carry the 4 essentials. A waist pack or running vest might be the best investment you can make for your winter running, so you can easily and comfortably carry the essential items to keep you safe. Slip your ID and fully charged cellphone in before each run, carry cash (at least $5), and take a light layer to keep you warm in case you need to walk or the weather changes. I like very light, windbreaker style jackets, but a emergency blanket will certainly do in a pinch. 2. Don't hide in the dark. Try to stick to routes that are well lit and well traveled. I've seen countless falls on dark sketchy sidewalks, paths that have uneven surfaces or icy patches that you can't see.  And it's not only the sidewalks that can be sketchy in poorly lit areas. 3. Join a group. Not only is it the safer option, running with a group keeps you motivated and having fun during the wet, winter months. It's also a lot easier to avoid the couch when you have a group of people waiting on you. 4. Tell someone where you are going. If you do venture out on your own, tell someone when you are leaving, the route you are taking, and when you'll be back. If they are not at the physical location that you are leaving from and going to, text them when you leave and again upon your return. 5. Make eye contact with motorists. You may think they see you, but unless they make eye contact, assume they don't. It never hurts to slow down for a few seconds, but it can really hurt not to. 6. Practice defensive running. Try to leave your iPod at home so you can hear what's happening around you. Run against traffic so you can see oncoming cars. When crossing the road, double check the way that cars would be coming from as they turn (since that's the scenario in which many accidents happen). 7. Light yourself up. Headlights first reflect off of objects that are lower down, so lighting up your shoes or adding a reflective ankle strap is key. You want to be seen from all sides and top to bottom. A jacket or vest with reflective trim, blinking lights on the back of a hat or shirt, light up or reflective arm bands and a headlamp are all possible ingredients to 360 degrees of visibility. Here's a great video presentation on visibility to leave you with put together by Nathan Sport. These tips give you cues and ideas about how to stay safer and stay training in the dark and foggy days of winter. Remember to use common sense and think about how you are visible to others. Stay positive and alert throughout your outdoor sessions. Winter running requires focus on your surroundings, some of my best training days are against the elements of winter, they can bring out your best.
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