I got thinking as I ran through Hyde Park the other night about the fact it was actually quite dark in places, despite there being several lights and lots of people doing the same…and it got me thinking – what is the limit as to where I would stop ‘just nipping through’ and stick to the main roads? It then made me think about the countless other things I do before/during/after running that apparently are AWFUL and should never been done.
Yes, I do understand about running safety, and yes, you could say I am being naive because thus far, I’ve been extremely lucky and not had any incidents – and I want to say up front that there is no way I am trying to downplay anything from a personal safety perspective – but isn’t running ultimately about enjoying yourself and feeling free?
How did people train before the days of mobile phones, of Oyster cards that get you back from anywhere in a very large SW London radius, of shoes specifically designed to make you less likely to roll an ankle? I mean they were still doing it and managing to survive – so are we trying so hard to do things ‘right’ that we forget how to do things ‘fun’?
What could make me a bad runner…?
- I rarely run with my phone. I don’t like carrying things. I specifically have to buy leggings with a decent pocket, but that’s only for my long runs. There are a few other situations where I will have it with me e.g. there could be amazing scenery, I’m meeting someone or I am on my way to/from somewhere i.e. work but the majority of times, I am probably phone free.
- I don’t really tell people where I am running. I don’t always do the run I’ve planned, so I kind of don’t see the point. Also I don’t know who I should tell? My mum? My housemate? My boyfriend? I mean in the evening they will probably know I am going running but not much more. I used to give my mum vague directions for long runs when I was living at home but not the specifics. I would like to think however that certain people would eventually notice if I wasn’t responding to their messages…
- I don’t carry money on me when I’m running. See point 1 – I don’t like carrying things. I did start taking a contactless card with me on long runs, but that was mainly because I could buy food on the way home and also, easy to bail in London if you can hop on a bus/tube. If in not in London I don’t bother because it’s not as if would actually help me whatsoever as I would probably be in the middle of a field. Not near a bus.Especially not near any Arriva buses that only come every two hours….
- I don’t carry water with me on my long runs. Too much faff. Nor do I know anywhere with water fountains on a run. Nor do I like doing loops back to my house to pick up water. This means I don’t really ever practice hydration. This is actually quite bad.
- I have never, ever, considered it necessary to do ‘ankle strengthening exercises’ before running off road.
- I don’t see why running off-road is so apparently DRASTICALLY different to running on road that it needs regular magazine features. Basically, look where you are going, mind out for horses and mountain bikes , don’t run by yourself in the pitch black unless that’s your thing, and stick to paths you know. (I am also v bad at the last one as I like to explore and just use my general sense of direction…most of the time it works)
- Sometimes, I run in the dark without any high-viz items of clothing. This is typically just because I forget.
- I do not own any clever running lights. Or snazzy wrist bands or crazy reflective tabards. I do however have a very pink jacket that I sometimes let out of its cupboard.
- I go running at 5.30am. When there aren’t many people around. I think it is actually safer than late at night…Point here – I would happily run at 5am/10pm back home where there are fewer people, but it freaks me out much more in London. Where there are more lights. And often more people.
- I run in the snow. Woe betide if I should fall down a hole. Especially if I haven’t done my ankle exercises (EYEROLL)
- Sometimes I sack off running because I want a drink. Sometimes I go running having had a drink.
- Sometimes I go running after heavy nights. I think it helps stave the hangover. I’m probably dehydrated. It hasn’t killed me yet.
- I don’t eat before I run in the morning. It adds too much time and there’s no way I’m getting up an hour earlier just to eat. Interestingly, I will always eat on race days.
- I will very happily run up to 15 miles without eating. Often because if I want to run at 8am on a sunday, I don’t want to get up at 6am for breakfast. It’s never caused me any problem.
- I had ONE bowl of pasta in my entire marathon training cycle last year. I won’t count the amount of Haribo I had. I’m just not a big carb person. And I did fine.
Do you follow all the ‘running rules’?
Does what is safe and unsafe differ depending where you are?