In Running

Staying Safe When Running Alone

It’s hard not to watch the story of missing Memphis runner, Eliza Fletcher, unfold without thinking, among so many other things, “there but for the grace of God…” We are praying hard for Fletcher and her family. And I want, also, to make sure that each of us is assessing our own training practices and making sure that, while nothing is ever certain, we’re at least doing everything that we can to be safe out there.  

And so, while the best thing in the world for your safety is probably running with a partner, here are 8 things that you can do to be as safe as possible on solo training runs. 

  1. Research your route. Don’t head out for 10 miles (or any other distance) without knowing exactly where that mileage is going to take you.
  2. Always, always, ALWAYS make sure someone knows where you are, when you’re leaving, and your planned route. If at all possible, send them a few live updates along the way and let them know if you change your planned course. They should know what time you plan to be finished and when to start worrying if they haven’t heard from you. It’s also great if they’re local and able to get to you if you run into difficulty.
  3. When at all possible, run in daylight. When you have to get out before (or after) sunrise, make sure to stay in well lit areas and wear bright clothing and/or reflective gear. If you’re running on uneven ground that isn’t well lit or otherwise can’t avoid some darkness, you might also want to consider clip on lights like these.
  4. Stay on the sidewalk, bike path, or shoulder of the road if at all possible. Make sure you check your planned path before you head out on foot to make sure that you won’t be forced into the road or otherwise not a safe distance from traffic at all times. You never want to be miles into a run and realize too late that you’re headed onto a road with no sidewalk or shoulder.
  5. No matter where you are, stay hyper aware of your surroundings at all times. I like to keep a wide berth around me no matter what – don’t run too close even to parked cars if you can avoid it at all.
  6. As a part of staying aware of your surroundings, you should never wear noise canceling or other in/over-both-ears headphones or earbuds on an outdoor run or otherwise have your music up so loud that you can’t hear around you. Leave one ear uncovered or, better yet, invest in a pair of open ear headphones like Shokz that allow you to hear your music and your surroundings. 
  7. Carry protection. Something like this wearable mace gives me a lot of comfort on the road. You might also choose to carry a whistle or other personal alarm. I have this well reviewed one and hope I never need it but it’s still good to know it’s in reach.
  8. Check the weather before your run and dress and plan accordingly. In cold weather, layer up with sweat-wicking clothing. In heat, make sure you have access to plenty of water and wear lighter clothing. Stop if you feel faint. You never want to be compromised on a run alone for lots of good reasons.

Be safe out there, my friends. 

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The products that I link here are always things that I use and love, and sometimes they are also affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something via one of these links, I might earn a small commission on it. This doesn’t change the cost of the product for you — it’s just a nice way to support the blog — but please never feel obligated. Price compare away and otherwise take your shopping list wherever is best for you. 

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You can find my complete guide to making the most of your runDisney race weekend RIGHT HERE and my guide to running trails on Disney World property RIGHT HERE.

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Please join me on Instagram for my day-to-day adventures living a mile from the magic. And join the conversation over in our community on Facebook!

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If you’re missing home (or love someone who is) and are looking for a way to bring the magic home, I’d love for you to check out my Core Memory collection right HERE. And as always, stay safe and be kind, my friends.

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