I am a young woman who runs for miles and miles all alone and I have no plans on stopping anytime soon. Staying safe on the road is a top priority for me- a female, morning runner who is training for Boston in the worst winter in nearly a century (yikes).
Yesterday I had the opportunity to share with Fox 25 Boston news a little bit about my marathon training experience this brutal winter.
Here is the interview (and you can even here Lilly calling for me in the background of the video!):
**Note: The interview lasted about 30 minutes. During that time we discussed how the roads in Quincy city are barely wide enough for 2 cars let alone runners, how several pedestrians have been hit and killed by vehicles this winter, how I have been running hills on the Woodway treadmills at the Quincy YMCA (the best treadmills for indoor endurance running- feels just like the road) for the majority of my weekly training miles. Most of the treadmills at the Y have a view of the beautiful pool, however I choose to seek out the Woodway treadmills in the corner due to their soft ride. The indoor track and treadmill at the Quincy YMCA have been instrumental in my training. Thank you to the staff at the Quincy YMCA for helping coordinate the interview at their location!!
Recently a reader inquired about how I stay safe on the road. So, I wanted to share with other readers some tips on how to ensure runner safety….
Winter Training Safety Tips
With darkness consuming the morning and nighttime hours, snow banks that limit runner and driver visibility and narrow roads that are barely wide enough for two cars the winter months are truly not runner friendly in Boston! Here’s how I have managed to safely run through this winter…
1.Be crazy, not stupid! I’ll run down to zero degrees, but I won’t run on ice. I’ll run while the snow is just starting to stick, but I won’t play chicken with snow plows. If pedestrians are getting hit by cars due to narrow streets and snow banks (true story), I’ll opt for the treadmill. **Every runner needs to know her limits. Getting out on the road is an amazing feeling, but safety needs to come first! Consider the road conditions, temperatures and your own visibility before rushing to the street.**
2. Wear bright colors. I often wear my Asics Stormshelter running jacket (pictured above) during winter training runs; it’s neon yellow color is hard to miss and it’s reflective panels along the chest and back are perfect for early morning visibility. (I also wear a strobe light that clips on to my jacket during early morning runs)
3. No music (music on very low). I love to zone out and run to music, but in the winter safety must come first. Recently I have found myself turning off the tunes so that I can actively listen for snow plows and cars that may be around the bend.
4. Run facing traffic. Don’t trust drivers to see you! Run facing traffic so you are able to prepare yourself for approaching vehicles.
5. Be alert! I spend the majority of winter runs examining the ground for black ice beneath my feet, keeping my eyes peeled for red taillights of cars that may be backing out of driveways and mostly scanning the road ahead for approaching cars. Safety during winter running is all about being alert and attentive to your surroundings!
6. Run during low traffic times of day. When possible run before the morning commuters hit the roads (difficult in the winter due to colder temperatures), and run early on Saturday and Sunday mornings (so peaceful!)
7. Find a safe place to run and run loops if you have to! In previous posts I mentioned how I drove 45 minutes south to a golf course community to run loops, well I’m not alone! Many runners seek out (and prefer) to run a well plowed/low traffic 2-3 mile loop over the tread. I don’t blame them.
8. Don’t be ashamed to opt for the treadmill. Lately I have asked myself: Where will you get the better mental and/or physical workout? If I am seriously concerned about my safety that day then I begrudgingly opt for the treadmill or the track at the gym.
**Consider investing in RoadID (a bracelet with your name, DOB, allergy information and chosen emergency contacts in case of an emergency)
Safety From Strangers
In addition to safely running through the winter, I am also cognizant of the fact that I am a lone female runner. While I rarely worry about safety from strangers on the road I feel that I do take steps to prevent an incident from occurring. Here are a few of the safety guidelines my husband and I discussed when I started running alone for hours on end.
1. Change up your route. Running the same route creates a pattern of behavior and makes you an easy target for stalkers; I never run the exact same route day after day.
2. Run during the daytime hours (if possible)
3. Run in public places. Avoid running trails alone where dangerous individuals may lurk.
4. I always review my run route with my husband (even my 20 milers!); often I will leave a map of the route up on my computer so he knows where to start a search if I go missing.
5. Call/text my husband when I have finished my run. Not only do I take my phone with me on runs, but I text my husband when I have completed my weekly workout.
6. If you still don’t feel comfortable running alone- then don’t! Safety in numbers!!
There are plenty of local running groups that offer multiple pacing groups and runs throughout the week. Here are a few local to Boston and the South Shore:
*Colonial Road Runners (South shore meet up locations)
*RunThisTown- Greater Boston Running Company (Hingham) training group for 5k/10k distance
*L Street Running Club (Boston)
*A Healthy Balance – Team A Healthy Balance & personalized coaching services out of Quincy, MA ran by Alicia Golden
**I also found this article from Active.com about running safety tips very helpful!!
Stay safe out there runners!!
Never Stop Running,
Kass/The Lone Runner