I love Fall and Winter. Leaves are changing color, the temps are milder, and some of my favorite holidays are happening. However , it is also the time of year that runners, cyclists, and walkers have less daylight. As the sunsets earlier and some of us have to be doing workouts in the dark, safety is a priority.
1. Don’t wear black, you blend. Don’t wear white either, you still won’t be seen. Wear reflective clothing-lots of clothes out there are reflective. There are even LCD vests and jackets. Try them out most are lightweight.
2. Headlamp. It’s dark people which means there’s a good chance that not only will you not be seen, but you may miss a hazard that you could’ve avoided. Better safe than bloody knees.
3. Run with a buddy. Running alone, especially for women, is dangerous. It could be a nice neighborhood and you could still be attacked. Don’t chance it.
4. Headphones are a big no-no. You have to be aware of your surroundings always. If you can’t run without music,get speakers or wear only one earpiece. That way you are aware of cars or other threats.
5. Weather hazards. It’s dark, it’s snowing and sleety. Watch your step-ice! There are shoes that have grips on them to make this possible. Luckily in Florida we only have rain but that can be slippery too. Be careful.
6. Be aware of vehicles. They are not aware of you whether because they are distracted or just don’t see you(see #1). Stay off the road if possible.
7. Rural hazards. Okay so you’re on a trail or county road, safety needs to be addressed too. Animals can pose a safety issue too. Mace is your friend, carry it with you. Better than a stick in some cases.
8. Know your surroundings. Don’t try a new route. Unfamiliar surroundings may pose various obstacles, including animals. Know where you are if you need to cut your exercise short.
9. Alert loved ones where you will be. There are several apps including Road ID which allow family and friends to know where you are. Many of these apps are free.
10. Always carry your phone. Just in case. I know I never leave home without mine.
All these hazards are real. Careful planning can make your exercise regime enjoyable throughout the Winter months. Get out there and enjoy it!
Remember it’s not just about the destination, it’s about the journey.