Walking or jogging are great ways to keep in shape. The outdoors, changing scenery, fresh air, bliss! But how many of you who exercise outdoors have a safety plan in place before you set off?

This post will offer some simple and effective tips on how to get the most from your session and more importantly – stay safe.

Know Your Jogging Route

Firstly know what route you are taking and never veer off this route, also be sure to tell your family when you will be back. If for example you usually take 20 minutes to complete your session, be sure to be back home as soon as you are finished and if you get delayed for any reason call your family to let them know.

Plan A Safe Route

Design your route so that you are jogging in busy areas, avoid short cuts, laneways, and isolated areas.

Mobile Phone – Essential Running Kit

Always have a fully charged mobile phone with you when your leave the house. Be sure to have an ICE (In Case of Emergency) number in your phone. This will be useful for emergency services to  contact  someone if you get injured. Always have identification on you. Put your driver’s license and your medical insurance card (in case you get injured) in your pocket.

If your mobile is a big heavy phone like many of the smart phones are these days, simply buy a small second hand phone and attach it to your upper arm by means of an iPod holder or zip it away in a small tight pocket. You can just swap your sim or buy another sim pack for your “exercise phone”.

Do You Really Need Your Music?

Many people like to listen to music through earphones while jogging, this is not recommended. If you are listening to music  your senses will be limited. Your hearing will be hampered and your brain will be engaged, making it easier for a predator to set up an attack.

If you feel that you cannot exercise without music, I suggest that you keep the volume low so that it doesn’t affect your perception of the environment.

Join A Jogging Group

If you are nervous about going out alone ask a friend along or find out if there is a walking or jogging group in your area that you could join. If there isn’t, why not start one?

Take The Dog For A Run

A dog can be a deterrent to would-be muggers. If you don’t have one of your own perhaps you could borrow one from someone who finds it difficult to give his or her pet the daily exercise it needs.

Stay In The Light

If your work schedule means you can only exercise after dark, choose a well-lit route protected by CCTV cameras or where there are plenty of other people. Avoid short cuts through shadowy alleyways or deserted parks.

Leave The Bling At Home

Don’t make yourself an obvious target by wearing jewellery. Similarly, If you want to check your progress use a cheap watch rather than a flashy designer model. Maybe your phone has a stopwatch and/or timer. I would also recommend that you carry some cash, not coins. Carry a €5 note in your zip pocket. This can be handy to buy phone credit, bus fare etc. Be aware of the direction you are jogging, always run towards the traffic, so you can see the cars coming at you.

Be Seen, Be Safe

Make sure you’re visible. No matter what time of day you’re running, it’s important that you’re visible, especially to drivers. Get in the habit of wearing white or bright-coloured clothes. When running in the early morning, night, or dusk, make sure you have reflective gear on. Although some items (running shoes, jackets) already have reflective pieces on them, it doesn’t hurt to add more. A reflective vest can be worn over any form of running clothing and will definitely help drivers see you.

Don’t make assumptions about drivers. Remember that many drivers aren’t paying attention because they’re listening to the radio, talking on their mobile phone, or reading a map. Don’t assume that drivers can see you or that they’ll let you go because you have the right of way. Be sure you make eye contact with drivers at street crossings before you cross. And, better yet, try to stay off the roads as much as possible and stick to running in (busy)parks or on paths.

Watch out for cyclists and other runners. Even if you’re running on a path or in a park with no cars, always be aware of other runners and cyclists. If you’re approaching another runner or cyclist and need to pass them, communicate with him and let them know on which side you’re trying to pass. Before you stop or turn around, make sure your path is clear. Trust your instincts. If a location or person makes you feel uneasy, trust your gut feeling and run in the other direction.

Final Safety Checklist

  • Plan your route
  • Never veer off your route
  • Tell family what time you will return
  • Always carry a mobile phone
  • Always carry come cash
  • Always carry identification
  • Always run toward traffic
  • Avoid isolated areas (no matter how beautiful)
  • Be aware of your environment
  • Run with a group or dog when possible
  • Never wear earphones, if you must see tips above
  • Wear hi-vis clothing
  • Listen to your intuition

For more information on self-protection and self defence while out jogging have a look at out Classes Page to find one to suit your needs, or get in touch via our Contact Page and someone will get back to you shortly.