Running Safety Month highlights safety tips for outdoor runners year-round

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November is Running Safety Month and whether you are an experienced runner or just starting out, there are several outdoor running safety tips to keep in mind year-round. 

Bishop LeBlond High School Cross Country Coach Gregg Mrkvicka recommends running with a friend whenever possible and being smart about when and where you run.

“Always make sure somebody knows where you’re (running) and when you’re going and when you think you’re going to be done,” Mrkvicka says. “I do that to this day… There have been times when I’ve come down really sick or been injured on a run and my wife knew where to go look for me because I text her every single time I run – Here’s where I’m running from, here’s how long I’ll be gone.”

There are smartphone apps to help keep you connected on solo runs and other safety tips galore, but Mrkvicka says the best thing to do is pay attention to your surroundings.

“Your best weapon is your eyes and your ears. Take the headphones off, pay attention to what’s going on around you.”

  

For those who prefer to run outdoors, even as the temperatures get colder, J. Jenkins, co-owner of Ad Astra Running in St. Joseph, says there are another set of challenges and safety tips.

“You want to wear a hat and gloves, that’s going to go a long ways toward keeping you warm and you want to use several lighter moisture-wicking layers rather than just one or two heavy items,” Jenkins says. “What happens if you throw on a cotton sweatshirt and go for a run is you start to sweat and then that sweatshirt absorbs that, it gets wet and then the cold turns it into… you’re wearing like an ice shirt instead of being warm.” 

Jenkins recommends having a base layer of moisture-wicking material such as a polyester blend or merino wool.

For anyone wanting to begin running or who needs a running buddy, Ad Astra hosts group runs year round.

“Very friendly, very welcoming, all different ages and paces. We’ve got plenty of people that are using the run walk method, sometimes we’ll have people that are strictly walking,” Jenkins says. “So it would be a good option for anyone that was wanting to get out and get a little activity in a group setting.”

The Parkway Pacers run from the store at 6 p.m. every Wednesday. For more information, visit Ad Astra Running St. Joe on Facebook.