As sports go, running is pretty safe! A twisted ankle, a stitch or some aching muscles the next day is usually as bad as it can get. But there are a few things you can do to make it even safer…..
Running can be a lonely activity, especially if you are aiming for a marathon, when the training runs can be long and arduous. In winter months, the days may not be long enough to run in the light, which can be an issue, particularly for women. Running with a buddy makes those dark runs free of worries and means you can choose less busy routes without fear. If you’re unlucky enough to injure yourself, it helps to have a shoulder to lean on….plus a buddy can help with the psychological hurdles too!
If you haven’t got a running partner, take extra care with your route. Choose more populated areas, especially after dark. You may also want to pick routes with steady terrain. Running off-road, on uneven ground, is great to develop good proprioception (important for joint stability), but pounding the pavement, under the streetlights may be a better choice when running alone, at night or early morning.
Keep your eyes open
On a long run, it’s easy for your mind to wander – and it’s a great opportunity for blue-sky thinking or simply zoning out. But keep alert. Many runner’s injuries are due to something as simple as a trip off the kerb, or failing to see a pothole. Don’t let a silly slip spoil your training.
Keep your ears open too
Putting your favourite playlist on full volume can keep you motivated and you can even link your running pace rhythm to your music with apps like this. But you need to keep your ears open too – footsteps too close behind you, or cars approaching when you are running on a country road can be drowned out if you aren’t careful. Keep one ear free, or use noise-enhancing, rather than noise-blocking features on your earphones.
Don’t forget electric cars!
At Vavista, we welcome the increase in electric cars which are starting to bring together two of our favourite things – motoring and sustainability. But, more and more injuries are occurring from collisions with pedestrians or cyclists who can’t hear them approaching. Take care as you run along, or cross, roads.
Dress for the occasion
Running in low light conditions makes you much more invisible than you think. You can see the cars easily, but when a driver has other car’s headlights in vision, they are blinded to anything in the way. The same happens in bright sunlight too. Make yourself as visible as possible with reflective strips and neon colours. Battery powered lights and head torches are also worth considering. Investing in clothing for running in all sorts of conditions is worthwhile too. Regulating temperature control better, with the right layers, does more than just keep you comfortable, it can reduce injuries too. Cold, tense muscles don’t protect your joints as well and are more prone to damage, themselves.
Take care to share
Another valuable tip for solitary runners is to share your route. Letting a friend know where and when you are going and when you are due to return helps to motivate you. But it also means that someone has your location if things don’t go to plan. Apps like Strava, or even just using your phone’s Find My Friends option make it easy, but you may not always be online. Having a phone with you is sensible anyway – but what happens if you drop it, or it loses charge or signal?
It’s easy to focus all your attention on the run itself, and simply hope that nothing puts you off track. But a little bit of extra thought can reduce the risk of problems that we see all too often in A & E. Prepare for the worst and it will never happen!