Maintain Full Awareness When Running on the Roads

By: Val Zeps

This latest tip is a reminder to remain fully aware when running on the roads. We who move by foot are vulnerable. We cross a lot of intersections, we swerve to avoid obstacles in the road, we run in the dark, we run during inclement weather, and more. We cannot for a single moment let down our guard and assume that vehicles on the road are aware of our presence and/or are following the rules of the road. So here are some suggestions:

  • Avoid busy roads. Plan your routes to minimize the number of busy streets you must travel or cross. If you must travel along busy streets, find ways to increase your distance from the line of traffic. When in the roads, run against traffic, use a sidewalk, if possible, and cross only where it is safe to do so.

  • Don’t assume that cars won’t be turning into you when you approach intersections, regardless of whether you have the right-of-way.

  • Don’t assume that a “Walk” light means you can race through the intersection without caution.

  • Avoid running after dark. But if you must (or prefer it, even), wear light reflective clothing, a blinker, and headlight (if you can). Also, it’s best not to run alone after dark.

  • Don’t wear headphones. We realize that many find it much easier to make it through their routine with music, but this is an unnecessary distraction. Reserve your headphones for running off roads.

  • Always be willing to just stop. There is absolutely no benefit to your training to maintaining your pace. Safety should always come first.

These are all commonsense statements, but when we've been running for a long time, it’s easy to become complacent, especially when following familiar routes. We all want to make it to the finish line. Vigilant awareness of our surroundings will help get us there.

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