Happy Trails

Happy Trails

Now that spring is here, it is time for me to get back on my running schedule and I love doing it outside as often as possible. However, when doing this there are a few reminders that I need to give myself about being safe and also being courteous to other runners, walkers, cyclists, drivers, and all the different traffic scenarios that are out there.  It is amazing to me how many people seem to not adhere to some pretty basic ‘rules of the road’ or don’t concern themselves much with their own safety. Being a female runner who often runs alone, I think it’s important to be even more cautious about some of the choices I make before heading out. I am fortunate enough to participate in a marathon training program that is diligent in offering safety reminders to both male and female runners/walkers. Thank you, Portland Fit!   Even though some are just common sense they are so easy to forget. Here are a few of the ones that I personally feel are most important:

  • Don’t wear headphones. This is the No. 1 rule for safe running. Why? Because when you listen to music or the radio while running outside, you can’t hear car horns, cyclists, or, the footsteps of someone coming up behind you. This is a hard one for many to get used to, but it can really add to the experience of the run if you are doing it for reasons other than just exercise.
  • Run/Walk against traffic. A bicycle is considered a vehicle, so it is subject to the same laws as cars and trucks. Cyclists ride with traffic. You are not a vehicle. You are a runner/walker. You are also in a highly vulnerable position if you’re running near cars, trucks, and bicycles. The best way to prevent an untimely meeting with one of these vehicles is to be able to see them. That means running on the side of the road or on the sidewalk and running while facing traffic.
  • Make yourself visible. Wear light-colored clothing and invest a few dollars in a reflective vest, which you can purchase at a local running store or through a mail-order running catalog.
  • Don’t try to outrun cars. If you and a car are both approaching an intersection, stop and let the car go first.
  • When approaching an intersection, make eye contact with a driver who is waiting to proceed onto the main road. If you aren’t sure if they see you- wait.
  • Avoid running alone in unpopulated, unfamiliar areas and stay away from trails surrounded by heavy brush.
  • Carry identification or write your name, phone number, and blood type on the inside sole of your running shoe.
  • Tell someone where you are going and about how long you plan to be.
  • Always trust your intuition. If you’re unsure about a person or a place, avoid it.
  • Carry a noisemaker and cell phone, always call police if something happens to you or someone else or if you see something or someone suspicious.
  • Don’t stop to give directions to strangers in cars if you are running alone.
  • Don’t allow your route to become predictable; change it and time frequently.
  • Always stay alert, don’t rely on others to think for you. Blindly following behind someone is never a good idea. They may be clear to cross the street, but you may not be.
  • If running in a group, keep to no more than two or three abreast. It can be so frustrating trying to navigate through a group and there is rarely room to get around on a sidewalk or trail.
  • Communicate with others. If you’re running up behind someone and need to pass, a simple ‘on your left’ or ‘on your right’ can go a long way. So can a thank you wave to a car or cyclist that may have stopped to let you cross.

My favorite rule, of course, is to treat myself to a massage and/or some Dragontree Muscle Melt liniment after minding my manners on a run.

Happy Trails!

– Dominee, Spa Director PDX

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