During National Running Safety Month and all year long, people everywhere can increase their awareness of the importance of staying safe on the run.
Hudson River Park Friends is proud to be an Official Charity Partner for several races produced by New York Road Runners (NYRR), a non-profit running organization based in New York City whose mission is to help and inspire people through running. NYRR put together a guide — How to Stay Safe on the Run — that should be mandatory reading for NYC runners.
Essential tips from the New York Road Runners guide include:
- Stay in populated and lighted areas — if you must run before sunrise or after sunset, stick to well-lit sidewalks, streets or pathways with plenty of foot traffic. Wear bright or reflective clothing or strap on a headlamp or shoe lights—any gear that can help you see and be seen.
- Run with others — find a friend, join a running group or run around the areas where others are also present.
- Be flexible with your plans — give yourself the grace to take a day off from running, or adjust your plans to avoid running alone and/or after dark. If you do run, alter your route if you feel unsafe.
- Don’t wear headphones or earbuds — listening to music or a podcast can distract you from possible dangers and make you a target of theft. If you run with a phone, keep it concealed.
Here are some extra tips for enjoying heart-pumping and safe cold-weather running in the Park:
Warm up before you head out
Warming up before a workout is always a good idea – just a few minutes help increase the temperature and flexibility of your muscles. And, it’s especially important for avoiding injury in cold weather, since cold muscles are less pliable and easier to strain. The best warm-up for you will take place indoors and incorporate low-impact movements that mimic your workout.
Protect your skin and extremities
As the temperature dips below freezing, be aware of the possibility of ice and plan accordingly. In the cold, blood flow concentrates in your core, leaving extremities more vulnerable. Be sure layer up and wear a hat or ear-warmers, gloves and warm socks to keep your extremities safe and comfortable with helpful accessories. Getting a sunburn in the winter is just as easy as in summer if you’re running during the day, so be sure to wear sunscreen on any exposed skin.
Consider the temperature
If you must run before sunrise or after sunset, wear bright or reflective clothing or strap on a headlamp or shoe lights—any gear that can help you see and be seen.
The faster you are moving, the higher the windchill factor and your risk of hypothermia. To help reduce the impact and keep you core body temperature up, make sure that you head into the wind at the beginning to ensure that on your way back, when you’re at your sweatiest, you aren’t fighting the windchill, says Jeff Galloway, a former Olympic runner and the author of Running: Getting Started (and other running training books and programs).
Keep an Open Ear
Running with loud music in crowded places can be a dangerous practice. Doctors have seen an increase in the number of runners who had accidents while wearing headphones, says Dr. William N. Levine, of New York Presbyterian-Columbia Medical Center’s orthopedic department.
If the headphones are an essential part of your routine, consider keeping one ear free while you run — especially before sunrise and after sunset.
If you are running alone most of the time, be sure to keep friends or family aware of your running habits. Staying connected to your running network can help maintain healthy, positive relationships that can be motivating—all through November and in the winter months ahead. This also allows others to keep tabs on you in case you fail to return from a run in a timely manner.
This National Running Safety Month is the perfect time for runners of all experience levels to put their health and safety first. With four riverfront miles of running paths – alongside inspiring views of NYC – Hudson River Park is the perfect place to get active outdoors and fight the winter blues. We look forward to seeing you in the Park.