Unlike running on the busy city roads, when I’m out on the trail, sometimes there’s no human contact for hours on end. Due to the unpredictability of nature trails, I don’t take my personal safety for granted. Here are a few personal safety rules I observe when out on the trails.
My smartphone is the number one gadget I pack fully-charged and it’s a must-have when I’m training in the trails. It not only provides me with a digital compass and digital maps, most importantly it provides me a line of communication with the outside world, until of course the battery drains out, and or there’s no cell reception.
And that brings me to my next point. Make sure you know the area you plan to run in. Even then, it is always good to have a running buddy. When you run solo, it’s always good to inform a friend or a family member where you are going. Or you may want to register at the Ranger’s office at the trail head.
When attempting to run in a new territory, carry a mini compass and a map of the area. These will become a life-saver if you are lost in new territory.
Outfit yourself for whatever weather you’ll be running in. it’s much simpler for me as the weather conditions here are less varied. We do not have the 4 seasons to deal with. What we do have are high humidity and rain. I always wear colourful top and avoid dark or dull colors which will blend into the background of the jungle. You never know what situation you may get into when you need bright colours to help you attract attention!
Speaking of attracting attention, most hydration packs have a whistle built into the chest strap, and emergency blanket stuff somewhere. If you run with a hydration pack, you are pretty much covered in that aspect. If not, then it doesn’t hurt to bring along a mini whistle which is an effective way to call for help in emergency to other trail users.
You can never predict what might happen on the trail, and that’s part of the adventure. Hence, always be prepared. Always bring more water than you think is enough. Energy bars, gels and snacks can be easily stored in the pack for longer runs.
I know it is tempting to take a detour and do some exploration especially when you have been training on the same route for a while. Stick to the planned route, don’t go off trail for some exploring. The unfamiliar surroundings and terrains can lead to getting lost and/or getting injured.
In conclusion, safety is everyone’s responsibility. Tthere are no hard and fast rules when it comes to personal safety on the trails. What works for me may or may not be applied in your situation. Most of them are common sense, and you should stick to what works for you depending on the terrain, climate and the environment you run in.