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Rules of the road for runners

Jamie Bunton enjoys a run while following the rules of the road. Photo submitted

Jamie Bunton enjoys a run while following the rules of the road. Photo submitted

Cokeitha Gaddist Healthy Lifestyles Columnist

Cokeitha Gaddist
Healthy Lifestyles Columnist

Autumn is upon us and the changing weather makes it a terrific time to get outside and start running. But first you should know the rules of the road for runners. The first and most important rule is safety. Safety begins before you leave your home, it starts with your running attire. Try to wear white or brightly colored reflective running clothes so that you are visible to others especially drivers. If possible, let a friend or family member know the route or location you plan to run and an estimated time you might return. Just in case an emergency occurs you want to make sure someone can find or locate you.

Carry identification with your name and an emergency contact number somewhere on you in the event you have an accident. You can purchase a small ID tag for your running shoes or an ID bracelet for your wrist. Or, simply take a permanent marker and write your name and emergency contact number on a piece of durable tape. Place the tape somewhere that will remain stuck and won’t sweat away during the run like on your shirt, shorts or hat. You could even write it on one of your old sneaker shoelaces and tie it securely around your wrist.

When you start your run, remember to always run on the left side of the road or run facing traffic. It’s better to watch the traffic than to have it come up from behind you. You should never assume that a driver can see you. If you can see a vehicle coming toward you, you can easily get out of the way. The exception to running on the right side of the road is when you’re running into leftward blind curves or if there is construction on the left side. Of course if there are sidewalks accessible, please run on the sidewalk.

If you’re like me and enjoy listening to music while you run, please use caution. Keep the volume low or run with one earbud out so you can hear. For your and others safety, you should make sure you can still hear what is happening around you. Of course, the best practice is to run without music and enjoy sounds of nature.

Remember to stretch before and after your run to prevent injuries. Check your running shoes to make sure your laces are tied tightly and watch out for bumps and cracks in the road or sidewalks to avoid falling. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and don’t forget to refuel by eating a nutritious meal about 30-60 minutes after you finish running. Have fun running, and remember the rules of the road to keep safe and stay healthy.


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