Am I a Funny Girl?

Safety first! Working out and staying safe.

– Posted in: #iwillrockthis, Bloggy Friend Fun, Life Changes, Lists, Racing

I work full time.
I often don’t get home until at or close to 6 in the evening.
If I want to get a workout in, I need to make do with the time I have.
(Yes, I know I could be getting up earlier. Don’t start with me! LOL)
So anyway, I often end up heading out on a run or ride after 6pm, and sometimes as late as 7, so I can very possibly, and sometimes do, end up out after sunset.
Here a few habits I’ve set in place to help keep myself safe, for both my late night workouts and daytime ones.

  • Warm up first. I’ve stolen my warm-up routine from Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred, but the first thing to help insure that you come home safe from a workout is making sure that your body will be able to do it! A few quick stretches to get me going are all I need to feel more prepared for what I’m about to tackle.
  • Dress appropriately. For cycling, make sure you aren’t wearing baggy pants; one cuff caught up in a chain can ruin a workout, not to mention injuries and bike damage if you crash. I wear snug-fitting capri pants most days, with my bike short liners underneath for a bike ride, or just my running skort for a jog.
  • One headphone. I have much better luck riding/running distances if I have music to keep me company, but I only ever wear just one earbud when I’m out. Specifically, my right ear. I keep my left ear open and available to listen to traffic or other people that might be out if I’m on a path. Cars or faster cyclists… the best bet is to keep my ear to the traffic that might be approaching on that side, so I can have my music and stay safe, too!
  • Tell Jamie my planned route. Whether I’m biking or jogging, I give him an idea of where I plan to go; it might be as little as “I’m going to Lake Elizabeth and back,” but it’s enough that, if something were to happen, he’d have a place to start if he had to look for me. That said, I also don’t leave without a…
  • Personal locator app. I found this awesome app, called Life360, that has already come in handy once to save my bacon. It’s a pleasantly simplified GPS app, that allows Jamie to easily see where I am, based on my phone’s location. When I got a bike flat at 9:30 the other night, AND my headlamp went out? Using this app, he was easily and precisely able to locate me and come to my rescue! It’s super handy, and even though this isn’t its intended use, I was certainly glad I had it when I did!
  • Reflective tape is your friend. Sure, black is slimming, but it also makes you disappear in the shadows that come with dusk and evening, and a simple run of reflective tape can help increase your visibility, both as a runner and as a cyclist.
  • Have ID and medical inusrance card. I keep my ID, Kaiser card and $20 in a zipped pocket in my pants at all times. There are companies that provide ID services, like Road ID, but until I get one of those, I never want to leave the house without something that will help someone identify me, just in case the worst should happen.
  • Ack! A helmet! I can’t believe I almost forgot one of THE most important things! Protect your brain! I love an organ donor as much as anyone, but I’d rather you keep them for your own use for as long as possible! Always, always, ALWAYS wear a helmet when on a bike! Jamie’s and my pet peeve is adults who ride with kids, without their helmets. Everyone on a bike should be wearing a helmet. Always. No exceptions. (Thanks to my friend Ariel for pointing out that I missed this crucial tidbit!)

These are just a few tips to help you stay safe when you’re out on the road, and just a few that I have adopted… I’d love to hear if you think of any safety habits I’ve missed!

14 Comments… add one

Stevi Deter May 28, 2012, 9:11 pm

I can’t emphasize the third one enough. I ride horses, and am astonished by the frequency that I come up behind runners who are apparently listening to music so loud, they can’t hear me riding up behind them atop a 1000 pound animal. And the animal is usually snorting mightily because she’d rather be cantering up the steep trail but I can’t guide her safely get around oblivious runner person.

And while I’m at it, if you run/ride where you have to share the trail with horses, never stay directly behind the animal; that’s their blind spot.

It’s always a great idea to speak up (politely) when you see a horse, that helps the animal realize you’re just a person and thus less scary. Ask the rider for advice on how to react around the horse – a well seasoned trail horse won’t much care, but it takes a lot of experience on the trail to get to that point. Just like you’d ask someone with a dog if you can pet it.

In general, I find most people deal well with equestrians on the trail, but it just takes one fool to cause chaos. End rant.

Lizz May 29, 2012, 7:59 am

Some excellent advice, Stevi! Thanks for adding it! I personally don’t often come across horses, since I’m on a road bike, but I do certainly see them on the trail that runs parallel to the road! I think a lot of people don’t think of the danger of a horse, if scared!

Meaghan Busse May 28, 2012, 9:16 pm

Water, & sunscreen (sunscreen during the day, but water all the time). But that’s probably because I live in a climate where it is over 100 degrees half the year.

Lizz May 29, 2012, 7:53 am

You’re so right, Meaghan! I forget that because I use it everyday, so it didn’t come to mind. (Like I forgot wearing a bike helmet on the first draft! LOL)

Nat May 28, 2012, 9:27 pm

This is great- I’ve been running early in the morning, and I know that when fall comes I’ll be running in the dark so that I can fit in my workout before the kids are up. I need to get some of this stuff in order!

Lizz May 29, 2012, 7:54 am

Definitely! And I always assume people can’t see me; I’d rather be hyperaware than miss the one thing that causes problems that one time.

Wendy May 28, 2012, 10:40 pm

This is such fantastic information! My husband runs and I often have no idea where he’s at as he changes up his route often. When he was training for a marathon, he’d be gone for hours at a time. That GPS app is brilliant! Thanks for sharing!

Lizz May 29, 2012, 7:55 am

I can imagine, if he’s gone for marathon length sessions! The app is cool for other reasons too, but I love the locator feature a ton!

Ann Odle May 29, 2012, 1:59 pm

That app looks pretty interesting; I’ll have to investigate it further. Great tips too!

Lizz May 29, 2012, 10:40 pm

Thanks, Ann! And yeah, you should totally check it out! It’s a whole family safety thing, but I love how it works for me in this instance!

Emily May 29, 2012, 3:09 pm

Great article, thanks! I already love my RoadID, but really really needed the reminder to run with only one earbud in. I use yurbuds, which are great for not slipping out when I’m sweaty, but they’re in my ears so securely that they block out a lot of external sound – and yes, it’s definitely safer to hear what’s coming up behind me. I’ll have to check out the features on the Life360 app too – like if I can turn it on/off. (I would only want it accessible when I’m actually out for a run or a hike, not just strolling through Georgetown on a Saturday night) :) But the app definitely sounds like a great concept!

Lizz May 29, 2012, 10:38 pm

I got some earbuds that have a little hook that goes over my ear to help hold them… much more comfortable IMO!

Margot May 29, 2012, 4:55 pm

I second the ID and medical insurance card. I was running a 10k last weekend and toward the finish line, a man was lying along the side of the course. As I was (jogging slowly!) past, I overheard the police officer radio in that he was unconscious and had stopped breathing. So scary! And a great reminder to always carry your ID.

The personal locator app sounds great; going to download it tonight!

Oh and I always carry my Starbucks card too :-)

Lizz May 29, 2012, 10:39 pm

Heh. Starbucks card. I ride past about 6 Starbucks on my usual bike route, and almost always wish I could stop by and grab a drink… but I feel like a latte or a frappuccino would kind of cancel out the purpose of my bike ride.

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