Tips for Running Outside

Safety for outdoor runners


NOVEMBER 10, 2021

11.10.21 TipsForRunningOutside Desktop

Have you ever had a long day at work and just need to run off some stress? Or maybe you like to wake up extra early for a pleasant jog before starting the day. Either way, running can strengthen muscles, improve cardiovascular fitness, help you maintain a healthy body weight, and decrease stress while enhancing mental health. Consider these tips to stay safe while running outside:

Reduce your risk of injury

Running outdoors is quite different than hitting the treadmill, which doesn’t include variables like environment, terrain, weather, or other people. Even a subtle dip in the sidewalk could result in a twisted ankle or fall, and relying on the same warmup and stretching routine you’re used to on the treadmill may not be sufficient for training outside.

  • Purchase new shoes. If your sneaker’s soles have seen better days, it may be time to upgrade to ensure maximum cushioning and support for your joints and optimal tread to prevent slipping.

  • Warm up and stretch properly. When prepping to run, avoid static stretches, and incorporate active warmups or myofascial release exercises. After running, you’ll likely want to sit and rest. Instead, cool down and stretch immediately to calm tight muscles.

  • Choose the right terrain. Rather than hitting the pavement or sidewalk, consider a softer surface, such as a dirt trail, that will diminish harsh impact on your bones and joints.

  • Prepare for sore muscles. Running outside forces you to tackle obstacles such as curbs, stoplights, people, sticks, and rocks. As a result, you use different muscles to avoid these hurdles than you would on a treadmill.

  • Correct your form. A treadmill’s moving surface causes most runners to “heel strike” or initially grab the surface with the heel. When you transition outdoors, shift your steps to land on your mid- or forefoot.

  • Avoid road shoulders. You may get into your zone when you run just like drivers may zone out behind the wheel. Remain aware of your surroundings to avoid potential risks. Choose a route away from narrow or non-existent road shoulders.

Stay safe while running solo

Running alone can be intimidating, especially for women. While you can’t eliminate risk completely, practice these running safety tips to reduce vulnerability:

  • Run in populated areas. Most incidents happen in isolated locales, so map out your route beforehand to ensure you stay in highly visible areas.

  • Avoid running at night. The best time to go for a run is during the day, so you enjoy well-lit paths. If you venture out at night, plan a route that weaves through illuminated locations.

  • Eliminate earbuds. Music makes exercise more enjoyable, but songs can stamp out sounds of someone approaching from behind, especially if you’re running in a less populated area.

  • Carry pepper spray or other forms of protection. Though these objects may instill a sense of safety, an assailant also can use them against you if you’re not careful. Only carry protection you feel comfortable operating.

  • Let someone know where you are. Tell a family member, neighbor, or friend when you leave for your run, where you’re headed, and when you plan to return. You can also install GPS tracking on your phone, so they can see your location at all times.

  • Bring along your phone. The best way to carry your phone while running is attaching a holder to your clothing. That way you can call for help in an emergency. If you’re worried about carrying too many things, like keys and door fobs, consider installing a smart lock on your front door so you can ditch the key and use a personalized code to unlock the door after your run.

  • Learn self-defense. Immediately shouting or yelling can shock an attacker and cause them to abandon their actions. Consider enrolling in a self-defense class to learn additional protective tactics.

Protect your home while you’re gone

When you walk out the door for a workout, you want your home to be safe while you’re gone as well as when you return. Brinks Home™ offers helpful devices, such as a Smartcode Wireless Keypad Lever Lock and the Smartcode Deadbolt. That way you can secure your home without keeping up with a key during your jog. Just be sure to hide a spare key outside or give a copy to a neighbor in case you’re locked out of your home. For additional home security products, shop online or contact Brinks Home for assistance.

Jason Stevens is a senior writer for Brinks Home™. He is a "tech guy" who enjoys sharing home security and automation tips with others.

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