Runners learn safety on and off campus

Running is one of the best ways to stay active, especially for students living on a college campus. The time of day you choose to run is completely personal preference. However, the safety of yourself and others while you run must remain your first priority, regardless of when you choose to run.

There are countless people running on and off campus every day, and many of them fail to be safe. Safety rules may seem self-explanatory to most, but they are things that need to be recognized by the runners in the student body.

First of all, please do not run in the street if there are sidewalks present. The city of Waco and Baylor spent time and money putting concrete on the side of the road just for athletic people like you (and the general population of Waco). Use it. Without sidewalks, runners are subject to more dangers than need be. Work to find a route that has constant sidewalks or large shoulders.

Another tip when running is to stay on the side of the road that goes against the flow of traffic. This allows for cars to see you and for you to see cars, giving both time to slow down or move out of the way. The easiest way to know you are running in the right direction is if there are headlights blinding you as you go.

Also, music makes workouts more fun and focused, but it can also add a level of danger to running. To remain safe with music, keep the volume at a low enough level to hear the world around you. The honking of cars or the squealing of tires may be the only indication you have that you need to move out of the way, and if your workout playlist is blasting out your eardrums, you won’t be able to hear those warning signs. There are even headphones made for exercise that allow for outside noise to be heard even when music is playing at loud volumes. These can sometimes be more expensive, but when it comes to safety, a little investment might be worth it.

During your time in Waco, you may have heard of something called the Baylor Bubble. This is a generalization that Baylor and the streets that surround it are safer than the rest of Waco. If you choose to run longer distances outside of campus, try to take a companion, whether it is a four-legged friend or a two-legged friend. If neither of these is available to you, make sure to be very aware of your surroundings and always let someone know where you’re going, especially at night.

If you are a dusk, late night or dawn runner, make sure to wear reflective clothing. The amount of reflection can be on the smaller side, but there needs to be some part of you that alerts others that you are on the move. Running companies make fancy bracelets that flash as you run, and many popular athletic shirts have strips of reflective material in them. If nothing else, avoid the darker end of the color spectrum and buy clothing with a pop of color.

A few more handy tools you might like to add to your running collection are pepper spray and an identity card. These are crucial if you come across any unwelcome guests and for people to help you if you are found hurt. Many stores around town will sell small canisters of pepper spray, and other safety tools and further tips can also be found online.

Once these safety practices are under your belt, the world may rest knowing that you are working hard to be a safe runner, and being more equipped will also prevent run-ins with speedy drivers. It’s a win-win situation.