7 Running Safety Tips Real Philly Runners Use Around Town

With bike accidents, cars that don't stop, and the potential to get lost, there's a lot of things to think about before a run. Here are some running safety tips anyone can use.

running safety tips

Run in places with high visibility is one of the top running safety tips. Photograph by microgen

As much as we love outdoor running, it doesn’t take much to realize it can be dangerous. While cases like Mollie Tibbetts — the University of Iowa student who went missing on a run last month — are shocking, runners also need to think about everything from heat stroke to traffic to easily-spooked dogs when it comes to their safety on the road.

Aside from the basic, well-known running safety tips of jogging with a buddy and during daylight hours, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to preparing for a run out through Philly’s dense streets and trails. So that’s why we reached out to some Philadelphia runners to ask how they plan ahead for safety while they log their miles. Here are their best running safety tips.

Avoid the Trails’ Busiest Hours

“I will never run Kelly Drive 5 and 6:30 p.m. in the summer. There is no way to avoid a biker on Kelly Drive since the path is so narrow. I honestly run on the grass on Kelly Drive to avoid being hit by bikers since I do wear headphones, and I can’t hear if they are coming up on me (also the grass helps out with my shins to avoid shin splints.)” — Angelena Minniti, hgAthletics ambassador and run leader 

But Do Run in Areas With High Visibility

“If you must run super early in the morning or late at night (and alone), do it where their will be other runners and cars driving by. You want to be in high visibility, like on Kelly Drive.” — Kasey Manwaring, founder of GoalsFit

Try to Avoid Headphones

“Don’t wear them, or turn your music down. I get it, you want to blast some jams so you can bust out a few fast miles, but let’s seriously think about the consequences – especially running around a busy city or a packed trail. You should always be aware of your surroundings, and the biggest part of that is to be able to hear. Dogs bark, cars beep, and bikes have bells, but if your music is turned up, you can’t hear those warning signs.” — Jessica Wayashe, corporate partnerships at City Fitness and long-distance charity runner

Plan Your Route Ahead of Time

“Pre-plan the route, don’t wander!” suggests Ali Jackson, triathlete and founder of Never Give Up Training. As someone who once got very lost while traveling abroad in England, and had to ask a stranger for directions, I second this running safety tips suggestion — spending a few minutes with Google Maps is much faster than running five more miles than you meant to after taking a wrong turn.

Stop at All Intersections

“You can’t expect that everyone out there is walking, driving, or biking responsibly. That’s why my second piece of advice for dealing with these three include stopping at all crosswalks and intersections, even if you have a green light. Cars blow red lights, or push it on a yellow light all the time, just as often as they roll through stop signs or stop IN the crosswalk instead of before it. Bikers will do the same. For people with dogs, make sure you give the dog enough space when you run past them. If you are too close and your steps are too soft, the dog can be freaked out that they didn’t hear you come up behind them. That’s when they can nip!” — Jessica Wayashe, corporate partnerships at City Fitness and long-distance charity runner

Let Someone Know Where You’re Going

“The RoadID app is terrific! This app is a great way to keep in contact with others while you’re out on a run.  The app will notify whoever is on your list (in my case, my husband) when you’re heading out for a run. You can use the eCrumb feature which will notify whoever is on your list your location in real time.  Also, it will alert  your contact if you stop moving for five minutes.” — Schuyler Nunn, co-founder of RunTheHill

Wear Your Brightest Gear

“For you early risers or late go-getters, wear reflective gear, or the brightest colored gear you’ve got so you can be spotted by others. Additionally, there are hats with reflective rims, LED flashing reflectors you can buy incredibly cheap on Amazon that can clip anywhere, head lamps, and in the summertime, Safety Skin is a reflective skin glide that comes in deodorant-stick form and is easy to apply to the backs of your arms and calves. I use a combo of all of these things while running in the dark.” — Jessica Wayashe, corporate partnerships at City Fitness and long-distance charity runner

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