Hello, and welcome back to these pages. So far we have talked about how to take the first steps, how to choose shoes, how to avoid the most common mistakes, how to make running less difficult, and many other topics.
Today we are talking about something that is often overlooked because it is considered unimportant, both in reference to our health and, more generally, the safety of our bodies. After all, it’s necessary for us to run, so it’s better to treat it well and always put it in a condition where it’s not in danger, isn’t it?
Let’s talk about the cautions you need to have when running to always do it safely.
There are two major families of pitfalls or problems that can undermine your running experience: individual and environmental. Individual ones are related to your health status; environmental ones are about the environment in which you run.
Let us see what it is about in more detail.
As I explained a few installments ago, the first thing to do before running is to figure out if you are in the condition to do so. To dispel any doubts-or at least the most macroscopic ones, and even though it is not mandatory-I have recommended that you have a sports medical examination. Its purpose is to check your fitness state for running or sports in a more general sense.
It is a visit that you can do in specialized centers, must be repeated annually and has variable costs.
Once verified that you are in the condition to run, regardless of your initial fitness, you can do it, or at least try!
Having arrived at this point, it will be clear to you that the previous episodes also made sense in a more general framework: when I told you about shoes, I emphasized the importance of midfoot running. It is not only about looking great at running but more importantly about limiting or nullifying the chances of injury. Indeed, running safely means not only avoiding getting hit by a truck but also avoiding getting injured. To do this, it is essential tostart with the running setting.
Good! You’ve had your physical examination and figured out how to set up your body for running to limit or avoid injuries. Let’s say that, at least from the standpoint of what you can individually control, you’ve done everything you can.
Now all that’s left is to pay attention to your training environment, because powerful enemies of your carefree and happy running may lurk there as well.
Unless you run on a treadmill in a conditioned, humidity-controlled environment (in a gym, in short), when you run you are on the road, outdoors, exposed to all weather conditions. But not only that: there are also other people using the road, and they are often in vehicles with which it is best to avoid colliding. In short, if you do not live in a house surrounded by a giant park property inside which you can run for miles and miles, you are likely to choose the streets of your city for training. Since everyone’s roads belong to everyone, it’s best that you never lose sight of these simple tricks.
1. Run the wrong way
It sounds like nonsense but instead it serves as a check that the driver of the car coming toward you has noticed you, if you are running on streets without a sidewalk. If it’d come up behind you, obviously, you cannot notice it.
2. Keep the volume low
If you love running with music or listening to podcasts (hey, you already listen to our podcasts Fuorisoglia and Il Lungo, right?) don’t keep the volume too loud so you don’t isolate yourself and so you can hear the sounds around you.
3. Beware of driveways
When you run on the sidewalk and happen to pass driveways, gates, or garage entrances, pay special attention if any vehicles are coming out: maybe their drivers may not have noticed you. When in doubt, circulate at an appropriate distance and then return to the sidewalk and continue.
4. Avoid busy roads
If you can, run on central roads, especially those with speed limits. The higher this gets, the more likely it is that cars will run, that there will be no sidewalks, and that the reaction time of motorists to the sight of a runner will lengthen. In general, running on motorways is suicidal: avoid it!
5. Take a good look and be seen
When you run, don’t just look at the road in front of you but sweep your gaze and assess whether those who are occupying it have noticed you. Use a very simple trick to make yourself more visible: in the dark, never use dark colors and prefer apparel with reflective bands or equipped with LED lights to signal your presence. If the clothing you use does not have reflective inserts, you can buy them in strips and place them on the most visible and moving parts of the body, such as ankles or wrists. To explore further read here.
6. Use crosswalks and obey stop signs
That was easy, isn’t it? Best to reiterate: crosswalks are not road decorations, and motorists must stop when they encounter them, obviously if there is someone crossing. This is also to say that if you are the first one to disregard jaywalking or stop signs–well, you certainly don’t deserve to be run over but you do have a share of responsibility. Remember that traffic rules apply to vehicles and their drivers as well as to pedestrians.
7. In groups
If you have found a group to train with, you know how good it is to chat while running. What you must avoid is forming a compact barrier blocking the entire road. When in groups, you should run in single file or at most side by side by two people max, so as to occupy as little width as possible. If you run on a sidewalk also remember that it is not only yours but also other pedestrians’, so you must give them their rightful space.
Marked everything? Well then, see you in the next installment ;)
THE GUIDE TO START RUNNING
How to avoid getting hurt while running