Even experienced trail runners can get into trouble. Every day more and more runners are going off-road by themselves and accidents are likely to increase.
These are our 6 simple tips to stay safe while running alone on the trails.
1. Be Smart, be safe
Inform somebody about your planned route and schedule so someone can notice if you don’t show up afterwards. Always bring your mobile phone (full battery please) and a whistle. When trying a new trail, plan your route in advance and bring a map, compass, or GPS.
2. Take your Safesport ID sport bracelet with you
In the event of an accident first responders may identify you, contact your family, know any allergies or diseases you might have or medication you are taking. Your emergency information is clearly visible on the bracelet, no need for scanning QR codes or downloading applications. Quick access to this vital information can even save your life in extreme situations.
3. Forget about the Distance
Tough terrain and hills can double the time you need to cover a kilometer. So consider how long you want to be out and forget about the distance. Once you consume half of your time turn back to the start point. If you feel tired don´t push your limits, turn back.
4. Fuel up
Bring food and water with you, even on short runs. Energy bars and gels are very easy to carry. Stay hydrated with frequent sips even if you are not thirsty. In case you’re in the woods longer than expected having food and water with you will make a difference and can keep you alive in extreme situations
5. Use the right gear
Temperatures can change and storms can roll in suddenly, so plan accordingly. Bringing the right gear can save your life if something goes wrong. Even in summer, bring some extra warm clothes, just in case you get lost or injured and need to stay overnight. Don´t forget to use sunscreen all year long.
6. Improve your running technique
Get used to running on easy paths first, then move on to more technical trails. Take short, quick steps so you can react. Your stride rate should be about 90 per minute, that will help to minimize impact. Trail shoes have more traction and protect your feet from rocks and roots so forget about using road shoes.