Besides worrying about my pace, I also have to worry about cars. I've had a couple of close encounters- both of which occurred at night. Running on the road means you have to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Here are a couple of rules I follow:
- At night, always wear a reflective vest, blinking LED tail light, and a head lamp. You need to see where you are going, and cars need to see you.
- If you listen to music, keep it down. It's a good idea to leave one ear bud out, and keep the volume low enough that you can hear cars (or people, or dogs) that may be coming up on you.
- Run facing traffic. This typically means the left side of the road. If you are facing the cars, you can make eye contact with the drivers- do it! You can also see if you may need to bail off the road at the last minute for some reason.
A couple of weeks ago I was running with my friend Audra. We were way out in the country, and there was no moon so it was really dark. We were running up the road and a car was coming towards us. All of a sudden it stops- in the middle of the road- turns off, and then the driver turns off their lights. Audra and I immediately stopped and started booking it in the other direction.
The driver started the car, drove closer to us, and then did it again. Next thing we hear is someone saying, "Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you!"
I screamed back, "WELL, YOU DID!!!!!!"
I was so glad that I wasn't alone, and that I had my mace. My biggest regret was that neither of us brought our phone! We were so freaked out that we cut our run short and headed home.
When running I would always be sure to protect yourself by:
- Bringing a phone. You never know if you may need help- from a sprained ankle to a more serious threat.
- Carrying mace. Heck! If nothing else you may need it for a dog!
- When possible, run with a partner. There is always strength in numbers.
- Always tell someone your route and when to expect you home.