Safety tips for running in winter or overcast weather
12 June 2020
By Kathleen Mc Quaide
Restrictions notwithstanding, it’s great to maintaining your fitness as best you can. Winter is well and truly here, in fact the winter solstice – the shortest day of the year – falls on 20 June this year and is just about upon us. If not already, you’ll soon be having to do much of your running training in the dark.
Here are a few vital tips to stay safe out there.
1. Wear bright clothing with some reflective material
Any cars on the road will have difficulty seeing you in the dark so make sure you wear bright colours, preferably with reflective material or tape so that the car head lights make you even more visible. Luckily, the Two Oceans Marathon race T-shirts are usually bright making them excellent training tops!
2. Run facing oncoming traffic
Run on the right-hand side of the road, facing traffic – then you can jump out of the way of an oncoming car or truck. Many runners have been hit by a vehicle from behind. Restrictions mean that you should run in single file, keeping a safe physical distance between each of you. Even when restrictions are completely lifted and you can run in groups again, it’s safest to do so in single file on busy roads.
3. Wear a head torch or carry a light
Another essential item when running in the dark is either be a head-torch or a light you carry. This makes you more visible to drivers and the road more visible for you. You could easily be injured if you accidentally step into a big pot-hole!
4. Don’t wear headphones
Most of us are used to not running to the sound of our favourite music since we’re not allowed to wear headphones in South African road races. Needless to say, it’s a very wise to be head-phone-free. When you have music blocking out sound, you won’t hear a car approaching or a potential attacker come up behind you. Also, the gadget supplying your sound, such as a cellphone or iPod, makes you more attractive to robbers.
5. Run in well-lit areas with lots of people around
While you might prefer running on quiet streets or fields to de-stress and unwind, you set yourself up as an easy target for someone to attack you. So even though it’s less pleasant, stick to busier roads and well-lit areas.
6. Alter your route
If you run the same route or two at a similar time each day, session after session, you tend to zone out. Your predictable training also makes you an easy target for stalkers and other criminals. So alter your route regularly and stay alert!
7. Don’t run alone
Running with someone else dramatically reduces your chances of being robbed or attacked. Aside from that, they can keep you motivated as well as serving as an extra set of eyes and ears on the road.
8. Join a running club
Your best bet of course is to join a running club. There is safety in numbers and it can be much more fun and rewarding training together to stay fit and healthy, and to better prepare for running events.
So keep training, but stay alert and safe out there as we build healthier, physically active communities – #KeepMoving!