- I think the number one rule, if at all possible, is to let someone know when and where you are going. I do this more often than not, however I am guilty of just taking off without so much as a word. I feel pretty confident on the routes that I run alone and at certain times, but still I need to be more vigilant about this.
- Second would be to carry or wear identification. I am very serious about this and always always wear my RoadID, SmartID or on Saturdays I have my Kenyan Way bracelet on. Its funny that just this past Saturday morning I was thinking that if something did happen to me and I was found, at least they would know to contact Kenyan Way who has my emergency information on file. It wasnt that I felt unnecessarily scared this morning, it was just a thought that entered my mind at some point.
- Run against traffic. This is very important and something I 99.9% of the time do. Thinking is that a car cannot creep up behind you etc. Its true that even if someone is approaching you from the front, they can still stop, pull out a gun and tell you to get in the car. I encourage you to run. And weave. Sure you might get shot at, maybe even shot, but chances are that won't happen, and I am 100% sure that if you get in the car because someone flashes a gun, something bad is and will happen. A few months ago, while running midday on the opposite side of the road, someone did come up behind me and then turned right in front of me as I approached a side street which I needed to cross. He stopped and I thought he was going to keep going or needed directions so I as I was about to ask him what he wanted, I saw the devil in his eyes and he was just glaring at me like he was furious. My instincts kicked in and I turned around as fast as I could and ran as fast as I could to the corner where I knew there was a corner store and ran inside. Thats also important. Always be aware of a place where you can run to safety. He had turned around and headed my direction, but then ran the light. All I knew was the color and type of vehicle he was in, but I felt much better that I was aware and that if I needed to, I could describe him and what he was driving.
- Be visible. Don't wear black. Wear something that has some reflective on it, not just your shoes. Wear a blinky light. Wear a headlamp. Something. Its true that more often than not, my shorts will be a darker color, but has reflective on it, but I am ALWAYS wearing my blinky light on the back of those shorts! I havent worn my headlamp in quite some time, but use to religiously. My routes that I run before dawn are well lit enough to where I dont need it. If you do wear a headlamp adjust the setting on it especially when running against traffic. The high setting on those things are blinding, and just like a drunk driver will gravitate towards lets say a cop car with flashing lights or flashing safety poles on the side of the road, drunk drivers will gravitate towards that headlamp. And you!! I dont know why this is, but there have been studies and with the amount of cops I know, they all say the same thing.
- Vary your routes. I have 4 different routes that I run from my current residence. Only 2 of those are ones that I run before dawn. And I never ever run the same one twice in a row, and typically my morning runs before work vary from days of the week and from week to week. This is important because if a random person drives the same route about the same time you are running and they see you day in and day out or figure out a pattern, well you know what that means. So mix it up. The only route that I run that is clockwork right now is the one I run on Saturday mornings when I have to run extra early which isnt every Saturday. There is only one other way to get to the park and I pick the lesser of two evils. At least the one I run is divided with a fence and a median to where someone cant come up behind me and turning around would be impossible almost. Plus the one I run I see at least one cop car every time. Its 2 miles to where I feel safe(r) so thats the one I run. Even when I run after work when its still light out, I still dont run the same route every time. If you cant vary your route, then vary the times.
- Follow your instincts. See above. I knew instinctively that that one guy was no bueno and I ran. The other way! Granted I only had to run a block to the store on the corner but still. Even this past Saturday as I was leaving the park, I ran a different way than to Memorial and this car was going slow behind me so I stopped. It was a girl and she was only going to let me pass the turn in, but I signaled to her that she was way ahead of the turn in and to go on. It scared me just a bit. But in my mind I already knew which way I was going to run. If something seems off then cross the road, or turn around and go the other way.
- Ditch the music, or at least half of the music. I still wear my music but I only wear one bud in and I have it on lower than I do when I run with others. When I run with others, its blaring. Sometimes I take one out on the group runs if its a well traveled road so I can hear others if a car is coming or something.
- Choose a well lit route. I think this goes without saying. There are one or two parts of my routes early morning that are dark because of the placement of street lights or trees blocking them. I run down the middle of the street though or the middle of the lane; going in the opposite direction of course so as to see if a car is coming! :), never going on the sidewalks. I think its creepy to run on the sidewalks and where I live they arent in the best shape and I dont want to trip and break my face, and that there could be something in the bushes! The only time I get on the sidewalk when its dark out is when a car is headed my way, and honestly my routes that early, there are no cars. If I see 4-5 cars its a miracle. And that is typically only when I cross a major intersection.
Anyone have anything else to add? Have you ever encountered someone scary or had a close call? Do you run in the dark? Do you know the song the blog title references? Which ones of these do you consistently do?