Friday, November 17, 2017

Staying Safe out on the Trails

Hey running friends! Do you know what November is? It's National Running Safety Month, of course!

Let's talk safety when hitting the trails.


I still very much describe myself as a newbie trail runner, so I turned to the experts in my local trail running group to get their best safety tips.


5 Safety Tips for Hitting the Trails

1. Skip the Headphones


This was the #1 safety tip from my trail running gurus. There is something about running trails with just the sounds of nature. It's calming and reassuring. It also keeps your awareness level higher to sense danger - whether it be a fellow runner, mountain biker, or rattlesnake. 😱 Chances are you won't be the only person or thing out on the trail, so best to keep your ears open and your eyes peeled (see #2).



2. Keep Your Eyes on the Trail


Hitting the trails is much more technical than hitting the streets. There are all kinds of obstacles - not just those you need to listen for (see #1), but those you need to see. It's tempting to get lost in the scenery, but you need to keep your eyes on the trail as well. This lets you see the obstacles that lie ahead from tree roots to large rocks to puddles and allows you to decide the best way to conquer them. Nothing worse than being caught off guard because you weren't paying attention and going for a tumble.



3. Let Someone Know Where You're Running & How Long You'll Be


This is a good tip whether you're on the trails or streets! Anytime I go for a run, even a short one in my neighborhood, I let my husband know my route and about how long I think I will be gone. This way, if I haven't checked in at a certain time, he has a general idea where to start looking. 😄

Even better, don't go alone. They say there is safety in numbers, and I believe that is extra true on the trails. There was a time when I wouldn't even have considered running solo out on the trails. I do enjoy solo trail running quite a bit now, but I still feel a bit safer when I'm out with a friend or a group. Especially if it's a trail I'm not as familiar with.

It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the trail/area you'll be running. Whether with a group or solo, do some research ahead of time. Ask questions about the terrain, if the trails are well marked, etc. If possible, you may want download a map to your phone to help you not get lost. I like to save an offline Google map of the area, just in case I need to reference it when my phone has lost signal.



4. Pick up Your Feet


The trails are probably not the best place to practice your shuffle. Keep those knees high to help you skip right over some of the smaller obstacles that you may not have noticed. Along the same lines, try to keep your feet nice and light.



5. Carry Pepper Spray


And know how to use it. 😌 It will do you no good if it ends up in your own eyes! But it will come in handy if you need to ward off a wild animal, or an off-leash dog. Or less commonly, another human.


Other notable safety tips from my trail running group include carry a knife, bring plenty of water, be aware of potentially dangerous wildlife in your area (e.g. rattlesnakes), use sun protection 😎 in the daytime and a good headlamp when it's dark.

How do you stay safe out on the trails?
Do you have a scary trail story to share?

Not a trail runner? Be sure to check out these 10 Safety Tips for the Urban Runner.

I'm linking up today with Running on HappyFairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0. This week's theme is Giving Thanks.

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39 comments:

  1. All great tips!
    Keep your eyes on the trail is very important, I try and I've still taken a few good rolls. I keep a first aid kit on the car in case I need to clean a wound and I always bring a big towel to cover my car seat on the ride home :)

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    1. A first aid kit is a great idea! We keep one in our pack when we go hiking, but I'm not always good about it for trail running.

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  2. I love running trail and these are all perfect tips for trail running. I do break the no headphones rule. I listen to podcasts on the trail, which arguably is better than music because you can still hear things. It's a risk I am willing to take! I don't run on trail alone very much anymore because I'm getting too afraid of animals and humans.

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    1. Thanks, Meg! The headphone rule is a hard one to follow. :)

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  3. You do have some beautiful running trails by you! Great tips especially about the headphones and knowing how to use your pepper spray

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    1. I'm grateful every day for the mountains and the beautiful trails that surround Las Vegas.

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    1. I don't even know what that is, but it does sound like a good idea. :)

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  5. I have never ran with pepper spray and my brother in law always gives me a hard time running trails alone without it. Maybe I should get some. But you always think nothing is going to happen to you right?

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    1. Yep. That's so true! My husband wishes I carried it more often, but what's really going to happen, right?! lol

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  6. I love hitting the trails around here. I'm good about not listening to music and being mindful of my bearings and footing but since I stopped wearing a fuel belt my pepper spray seems to have gotten left behind. I need to go find it...

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  7. I'm not a trail runner, but trails are all over Colorado. We do have rattlesnakes, and that's enough to keep me on pavement.

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    1. We have rattlesnakes around here, too. Thankfully, I've never encountered one.

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    2. Lesley, I'm in Colorado, too! I've seen rattlers on the paved paths in the open space behind our house. Definitely always have to be aware of surroundings!

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  8. I don't like running trail alone... just because the parks here are so deserted, if something happened, who knows if I would ever be found. Excellent tips!

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  9. I don't do much trail running (due to there not being many LOL), but I'm fearful of going out alone on highly technical trails. I'm a face plant just waiting to happen (remember that bruise from slipping as I simply climbed out of a car?).

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    1. LOL. Yeah, when I run trail solo, I only run the ones I'm already pretty familiar with - not usually the more technical ones.

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  10. Did you see the latest news reports about the woman who was attacked and then chased her attacker off? I so wish I could go trail running solo, but I can't muster the mental strength to do so. I'm just too afraid. :(

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    1. It took me awhile to embrace it, but I love the solitude of hitting the trails alone.

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  11. I'm on board for everything but pepper spray. I used to carry some years ago but never really learned how to use it. I do carry my phone and snap pictures of trail maps that I can check if I lose a signal.

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    1. Yeah, you need to know how to use it. I probably need a refresher. Thankfully, I've never had to use it. I always carry my phone; it's just nice to have. :)

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  12. The trails I run on are paved and well populated. Sometimes there are weird people. But I don't carry pepper spray--it's frequently windy here, and if I'm downwind from the spray, it could backfire....

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    1. Yeah, the wind can definitely make it a little risky.

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  13. A perfect post for National Take a Hike Day! I love trails. Great tips, and definitely everyone should carry pepper spray because you just never know.

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    1. Hey! I had no idea it was Take a Hike Day. Guess I have good timing after all. :)

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  14. So many great safety tips. I never run on trails alone. I had a scare about a year ago and that was enough for me. I always have pepper spray and a loud whistle with me whenever and wherever I run.

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    1. A loud whistle is another great idea! I've never really had a big scare; it would probably change things.

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  15. Fantastic tips. I'd also add that if you're going on a super long run, wear synthetic fabric. Cotton kills!

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  16. I like running on the trail whenever I get a chance. I also do not wear headphones and carry pepper spray as well.

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    1. I skip the headphones on the trails mostly because I love to listen to the sounds around me. It's a bonus that it's safer as well. ;-)

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  17. Really great advice. I have never seen rattlesnakes on the trail but I do have to always keep my eye out and avoid tripping over rocks!

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    1. Oh yeah! Rocks can be real killers. :) I, luckily, have never encountered a rattlesnake either.

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  18. Hiking is one of my favourite outdoor activities and reading your tips is a great thing, Clarinda. Excellent list of tips and advice which every hiker should read. I definitely need to get a pepper spray.

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  19. I always tell my husband of my intended running route, regardless of its on the roads or on a trail. Its always better to be safe than sorry!

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    1. Yes, exactly! :) Both husband and I feel much better when I let him know where I'll be.

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