We’ll start this post off with a disclaimer: we provide tips to help you safely exercise and race but if you’re prone to tripping on your own feet, we’re sorry we can’t help (bubble wrap may be a good option!).
Anyways, in all seriousness, running and walking are great activities but can also be not so great if you end up in a bad area or are not careful. Below are several common scenarios where we provide some tips to get through your workout safely.
Scenario 1: Hot and humid day (summer is here!)
1. Chose the right time of day. Try to exercise in the morning or later evening hours when the sun is not bearing down directly on you. This may seem like common sense but every summer we see people with bright red faces roasting in the hot rays of the sun.
2. Wear light colored, breathable clothing especially a hat. Moisture wicking materials are readily available in sports clothing now. From socks, we prefer Swiftwick, to shorts and tops, to hats, non-cotton, breathable material that won’t weigh you down when you’re sweating will help your body to stay cool.
3. Bring hydration with you. Even if you’re only outside for 30 minutes, having a hand held bottle of water or hydration mix like the Sprint Palm Holder from Fuel Belt can not only provide you a drink but can also carry a house key and money.
4. Stick to the shade. Clearly the sun rises in the East and sets in the West so try to plan your route where you can stay in the shade and use nature to its advantage.
5. Wear sunscreen. Keep bad tan lines, skin cancer and redness away by wearing sunscreen where ever your skin is exposed. Endurance Shield makes an awesome sunscreen from all natural ingredients that not only isn’t greasy but smells amazing as well.
Scenario 2: Dark morning/evening activity
1. Be visible! Being visible to cars, cyclists and other runners/walkers is highly important. Clothing manufacturers are including reflective strips on their clothing more now. Wearing the Road Noise reflective vest is a great option as well because it provides headphone free listening while allowing you to be visible. Even your shoes laces can have reflective materials in them. Also great Ragnar Relay events!
If you’re walking or running with your dog, don’t forget them! Pet Ambassador Memphis is an all black Schnoodle and blends in very well in dark places which is why using a reflective vest like the one from Ruff Wear is important. Clipping on blinking lights to you and your dog also can help tremendously.
2. Carry/wear identification. Brands like Road ID and ICEdot have made carrying medical and personal information rather cool. These products come in various forms but all lead back to first responders being able to upload your medical history in a matter of moments and have the capability to contact someone for you. Time and time again there have been stories of someone getting hurt and these products literally saving their lives.
3. Tell someone what you’re doing and where you’re going. Going out for a long run by yourself? Text, call, tweet, Facebook someone and tell them where you’re going and how long you plan to be out. Of course, remember to check back in with them once you’re done so they don’t send the search team for you!
4. Stick to the sidewalks. Sidewalks are for people on foot and battling traffic isn’t necessarily the best option when its dark out and its hard to see.
Scenario 3: Walking/running in a new city or country
1. Plan ahead. Check out routes on MayMyRun.com, NikePlus.com or GarminConnect.com to see where the popular routes are. If you are staying at a hotel, many times there are pre-printed routes for guests to utilize.
2. Work out with a group. Being in a new city especially a foreign country and venturing out on your own may not be the best decision especially if you have trouble with directions and telling which way is north. Look up local running clubs or stores and learn about group runs or walks. Often times a simple call or email can lead you to multiple options and even some new friends.
3. Carry your cell phone or hotel phone number. Of course in this day in age, we are constantly tethered to our phones but it is important to have the phone charged, in a case or other contraption to keep it from breaking should you drop it by accident and to be able to actually use it (you may be in an area with no cell coverage). If the latter is the case, write down the number of your hotel or friend’s you’re staying with and invariably you can find a phone to borrow should you end up lost or hurt.
4. Know the local customs. This comes into play more in foreign countries but be aware if a certain park that looks great for a run actually allows running. Some places may be special memorials and you don’t know and therefore it would be disrespectful to go wandering around in exercise gear. If you are female, there are still some countries obviously where women dress more conservatively so be aware of this prior to taking off in your spandex shorts and racerback bra.
Enjoy your trip and stay safe out there!