Midday Fix: Running safety tips from Todd Williams

Todd Williams

Run Safer
www.runsafer.com/

Seminars:
Asics Run Safer
Saturday, 6:00 p.m., Fleet Feet Elmhurst
Sunday, 10:00 a.m., Fleet Feet South Loop
Sunday, 3:00 p.m., Fleet Feet Old Town

For details:

www.fleetfeetchicago.com

The $5 seminar fee proceeds go to the National Women's Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation

Todd's Tips:

Be Aware of Your Surroundings
No matter where you go to run, jog or walk please make sure you're always aware of your surroundings. It's so easy to get complacent and forget to be diligent about your safety. Make sure it's a priority every time out.

Identification
When you head out the door to run, jog or walk please make sure you have personal ID attached to you. Hopefully nothing ever happens, but having your information just in case of an emergency could possibly save your life. The Have The Drive Emergency ID is one of many great products on the market that you could utilize for your safety.

Walking the Dog
A simple but effective deterrent while out running, jogging or walking is your friendly dog. Potential assaults are less likely to happen when Fido is attached to your wrist barking as someone that shouldn't be there comes too close. Please make sure the dog is trained and doesn't drag you into harms way though. I have a German Shepherd mix and he will make sure I'm safe if he feels harm is approaching.

Parking
Many people drive to the location where they will walk or run. Please be aware of your surroundings when pulling into a parking lot. If you're the only one there, or if someone is in the area that gives you a gut feeling that something isn't "right," then leave and go to another place to run that day. Never be complacent about your personal safety.

Safety Name
If anyone approaches, confronts or, in worse case scenario, they put their hands on you and you feel you may be in danger try to have a name in your head you can start yelling out. If you could possibly plant the seed of doubt in their head that someone is near by, they may leave you alone without having to physically fight them or use a weapon.

Be Smart Listening To Music
When I was training for the Olympic Games I never listened to music. But now I listen to anything to get me through that run. I see many runners and walkers with their headphones on not paying attention with their music blasting, which is a big mistake. Please try to keep your volume down to a level where you can hear everything around you or only use one ear bud. This way you are better aware of other individuals, bicycles or vehicles and can react much faster if they enter your personal space. Turn it down.

Go With Your Gut Feeling
When preparing for your run, jog or walk please try to remember to listen to your gut feeling.  We've all been in situations where we need to pay attention to our surroundings and make smart choices about our personal safety. If it's choosing another training route because of lack of people in the area or picking a different parking spot because no one is around those are the smart choices to make to keep you out of potential trouble.

Power in Numbers
As we all know, running can be a very enjoyable experience, but it can also be a dangerous one. When preparing for your run, always try your best to select a route that's going to be populated with many other runners, joggers and walkers. I know from experience that it's easy to find yourself completely alone and vulnerable when you're out there, but it's critical for you to do your research and exercise around others. If you enter a park or trail that you usually run, but no one is around, make the choice to find another location. A dangerous encounter is less likely to happen when you make this choice instead of being alone.