Running Smart: Tips for Everyday and Travel Adventures

I am sharing my running safety tips with to keep the conversation going.  And while it’s a topic I do think about at times,  I also know that I could be a lot smarter on my adventures. When I think of runner’s safety my mind immediately jumps to the worst case scenario–“What would I do if a crazy person decided they wanted to hurt me on the trail?!” But there is so much more than ill-willed people to consider when we lace up. On the roads we have to think about cars; on the trails it’s bicyclists or in some cases even wild animals (or snakes!). And then there is that whole listening to your body thing. I don’t know about you, but personally I like to think I’m invisible! Running is my happy place, where I’m free, and when I’m my most assured and confident self…until something goes wrong. Luckily I have never experienced any major snafus BUT that certainly doesn’t mean I’m immune from disaster.

One could easily write an entire book on safety tips but here are some thoughts that initially came to mind:

Long Distance and Everyday Running

I remember when I first ventured into long distance running just thinking about what I needed to take with me was a learning process. Carrying water on the run was something I had never bothered with before, but now it was essential. Marathon training also required snacks on the go because the body has to stay fueled to continue pushing through the miles. And probably most importantly of all I recognized the need to make  sure at least one person knew where I was going and the general route I was taking. I had a friend who I did most of those long training runs with–not only was training with a buddy so much more enjoyable, it was also a wise safety move.

My weekly exercise routine today involves working out with a boot camp fitness group. Again safety in numbers.

And one other tip (for any distance run) is to have identification on you. I have RoadID on my shoelaces so that should something ever happen there is a contact and number that can be reached (mom and dad in my case).


Traveling to me is the perfect excuse to rise early, lace up the sneakers and go. Whether I’m traveling for a business trip or pleasure, I love getting a sneak preview of a new destination by way of my own two feet. Las Vegas, for example, is host to many awesome marathons and trail races (some to add to my growing list). Coming up is the Trail of Glory Marathon on December 17! Whether you are traveling to Vegas, or any other city, it is important to keep a few things in mind. A new place can be a little intimidating when you don’t know the lay of the land, though, so I first always check with the hotel concierge for recommendations.  I ask where is a good close place to run that will allow me to see the sights and that, as a female, I will feel (and be) safe. I haven’t been let down yet and have been able to explore some pretty cool trails and city runs over the years. If you are traveling with coworkers or friends ascertain who the runners are in the group so that you don’t have to go it alone. If you are exploring  a city like Vegas you don’t want to miss a beat, whether it be the city life, the outdoor trails, or the busy foot traffic (and with that great people watching!).  Make sure to be smart with your time if you are traveling alone on any adventure. I always make sure it’s light out (which isn’t a problem in Vegas!) and that there are other people out and about. And the bonus to this jump start for your day is that you will feel so much energized for long meetings and sitting, and ensure you can take full advantage of all the deals that a new destination like Vegas has to offer.

To wrap things up, I sought the advice of some friends to share their top runner’s safety tips! You’ll see some similar themes.

Someone should always know where you are. Even if you’re not running alone. Especially important off the grid. Let someone know where you’re running and when you should be done. Be specific. Pro tip…let them know when you get back too. –Rob P.

I’m not a good safety person as up until about a week ago I would run with no phone, nothing just my watch. I realized that is completely ridiculous in hindsight. I now have a very small waist pack that I can fit my phone, keys and some other small things. I do not run with music for the safety aspect so no headphones. I like to be aware of my surroundings at all times. I do always tell my husband when I’m leaving, my planned route and approximately when to expect me back. Other than that I don’t have advice but I probably need some! -Lesley R.

Ditto to all of that! I never run with headphones in. And always carry keys and phone in a Spi-belt. And tell someone what route I’m planning to run! -Brittany B.

1) If you feel nervous on your run, trust your gut and turn back. 2) Don’t run with headphones; 3) Pause at stoplights, intersections, etc. and make sure drivers see you before crossing. -Nicole T.

I don’t have much to add regarding safety (wear bright clothing at night, carry your phone if possible, etc). I would add that if you’re running an extra long distance (i.e., more than 15 miles) and/or it’s hot out, is to listen to your body. Run much slower than you normally would and at the first sign of fatigue (i.e., really low on energy, legs are starting to burn from lactic acid, or feel nauseated) to immediately change the run into a search for water and rest. By the time your legs start to cramp up it’ll be too late and you’ll likely become immobile and unable to even walk to a nearby water fountain. -Isaac Y.

And just as with anything in life don’t live your life in fear. If I feared for my safety every time I put on my sneakers I’d probably never have experienced as much of the joy that has come from this sport or a lot of the friends I have made along the way. My mantra for running (and life):

Prepare and always listen to your inner compass but don’t ever stop exploring! Push the boundaries in a healthy way and be willing to take some leaps of faith in accomplishing your dreams!

I’d love to hear from you!  Leave a comment below to share your top runner’s safety tip (and favorite travel destination for running). See you out there!


About mileoneandcounting

I'm a young professional living in the Washington, DC area. Since moving here in 2007 I have honed a passion for running and fitness. Growing up I played soccer and softball (and tested track & field for one year). After college I ran a few 5K races, but running was really only a means to staying in shape for me. Never in my wildest imagination had I thought I'd ever run a marathon, let alone three. Nor did I think I'd get the running bug after doing so, but I'll admit I'm hooked! Over the years my blog has grown into so much more than a running blog though. Sometimes I have deep thoughts. Other times I'm simply sharing a training story or a review of a product. Here's the place where you'll learn about me through my many adventures--even I enjoy going back to re-read some posts from time to time. I've also been able to hone my love for health and wellness through my business called IDLife which stands for Individually Designed Life. I'd love to help inspire you to live your best life yet so please don't hesitate to reach out to me and may my words resonate with you. See you on the trails...
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