Running in the city can be an exhilarating experience, especially in the early morning when the city is just waking up. Heavy traffic hasn’t started yet, and there’s still the cool, clear night air to help make your journey pleasantly healthy.
However, along with the benefits there are some potential safety concerns for runners in the morning or any other time of day or night. Some tips could help make your outdoor exercise in the city safer.
- Early morning: The best and safest time is just at dawn. Runners have the city all to themselves for about an hour before all the noise, exhaust fumes, cars, trucks and crowds of rushing people compete for space and time.
- Late night: If you decide to do your running after dark first descends on the city or later, you need to be concerned about your safety. If you run in the street, unless you wear reflective clothing, drivers may not be able to see you well enough.
Even inanimate items could be a danger. For example, if you are running from a lighted area into a dark one, your eyes may not adjust in time to see a pole or trashcan loom up in front of you. Whatever the time of day or night, when running in a busy city, obey all traffic signals and be alert for drivers who don’t.
- Crime: If you run in a big city, whether on the street or in a park, there’s always the possibility of encountering one or more people who may harm you. Gangs of teenagers may not intend to cause you physical pain nor rob you, but you don’t need the harassment. Stay in well-lighted areas and carry a cell phone.
- Dogs: If there are any dogs around not on leashes, the sight of a runner may trigger an instinct to chase. Carry a small can of Mace or other repellant to ward off a barking dog. It could come in handy against teens or other humans with the same intent.
- Buddy system: Remember when you were in summer camp and you had to stay with another kid when swimming or hiking? You may enjoy the solitude of being a lone runner, but it’s safer to be out on the street or on pathways in the park with another person.
Running in the city can be a great way to keep you healthy. Be sure you’re aware of all the common sense rules, so that you get home safely.