Warming temperatures, budding surroundings, and plenty of race opportunities makes spring a wonderful time to recommit to your running routine. But don’t get off-track with an injury – take a minute to review the following safety tips. Although many are common sense, we sometimes get caught up in the excitement of commencing or continuing a fitness plan that we forget all of the various components that go into “going for a run.” Review these now so that they’re fresh in your mind the next time you decide you should hit the pavement (or trails!).
Check your feet. Make sure your footwear fits well and still has a good tread on it. The general rule of thumb for replacing running shoes is between 300 and 500 miles – you can use a tracking app to chart your progress and record how long you’ve been relying on the same old pair of sneakers. You can also usually tell it’s time if your legs consistently feel more tired after your runs, or by doing a quick visual test.
Warm up. Cooler temperatures are great for running but can also wreak havoc on your muscles if you start your long-distance run at too fast a pace. The lower the mercury on the thermometer, the longer you should plan your warm-up. Although this might require a few extra minutes, running before your body is ready could lead to nagging injuries and longer recovery times, neither of which saves time in the long run.
Build up slowly. Enthusiasm often leads to overestimated ability, which in turn could end up stopping your running regimen before you’ve barely begun. If you’re new to running, don’t expect to be competing in 5Ks your first weekend. Use one of the many programs on the market (or consult with a trainer) to slowly but consistently build up your distance and endurance. The same holds true if you’re working on making the leap from a 5K to a 10K, or 10K to half-marathon or marathon.
Be seen. Although the days are continuously getting longer, at the beginning of the season there is less daylight, both for those who prefer an early morning run and those who try to sneak it in at the end of the day. Make sure you’re wearing brightly colored (and preferably reflective) clothing that will let you be seen by drivers, bikers, or anyone else who might come into your path.
Tune in to your surroundings. Modern-day listening devices like headphones or earbuds have become so advanced that they not only play audio at a high volume but may also actively block out ambient sound. This may sound like a good thing, until you realize that one of those sounds could be an ambulance coming up behind you, a car about to turn into your pathway, or the rustling of someone lurking beyond the trees. Stay focused on your environment, and make sure that audio volume is at a level that you are at least aware of sounds of the outside world. Better yet – use something like our speaker system that allows you to listen to music while also hearing the ambient noise – and potential safety warnings – around you.
Andy Proos (President) and Emily Proos (CEO) founded Bluewire Audio LLC (www.bluewireaudio.com) in 2014. The father-daughter company is based on their idea for a speaker system that is mounted on the band of a hat or visor, allowing the wearer to listen to audio while engaged in physical activity without the inconvenience or safety concerns of wires and earbuds.