Be safe, be seen and be a Spartan!

Be safe!

– Never assume that because you have heard/seen a danger/obstacle that your fellow runners have. Make the call to advise them. If leading a run, set a positive example by practicing the advice set out in these guidelines.
– Where possible run in pairs or groups. If you haven’t got anyone to run with, ask another member of the club if they will run with you. There will always be other runners in the club that are training for similar races/events. Networking will help forge opportunities to buddy up with other runners, one of the many benefits in being in a running club.
– Whenever you venture out, even if it is for only 20 minutes, you should always let someone know where you’re going, your exact route and approximately how long you expect to be. If you’re heading out from an empty home or office, call a friend, partner or relative to advise them of your plans, and call them again to check in when you return.
– Plan your routes carefully. That doesn’t mean you should avoid your favourite routes because they go across remote areas or miss out on some spectacular scenery, but that you should take care with your choice. Try to limit danger points on your runs. For example, areas where you would be difficult to spot if you had a fall or injury, dark alleyways, or known local black spots.

Route planning

  • Circular routes are safer because you don’t have to retrace your steps.
  • Vary your route to minimise chances of being targeted.
  • Try and avoid deserted areas or places where people could easily conceal themselves. For example: paths surrounded by bushes.
  • Choose well lit, populated routes, especially if you are running after dark.
  • Be aware of running on cycle paths — the cyclists may not be expecting to see you. You wouldn’t drive your car along the middle or right hand side of the road — use the rules of the road on the cycle paths and stick to the left. Where a path has dual use, make sure you run on the pedestrian side.
  • Look for places on or near your route where you could be sure of finding people and where you could call for help. For example: shops, garages etc.
  • If possible, check out your route first on foot or by car. Look to see if there are other people using your route — this is a good sign.
  • See if you can run with a friend or in a group. Is there anyone that could perhaps cycle with you instead?
  • Before agreeing to exercise with someone, take time to get to know and trust them.
  • Carry some form of identification with you. The club has a plentiful supply of Cram Tags — small plastic identification tags that can be threaded through your running shoe laces and hold your key contact details. If you haven’t already got a Cram Tag on your shoe please see one of the kit team.
  • When running on your own, always face oncoming traffic (unless running round a blind bend). This way you can see oncoming vehicles and take avoiding action if necessary. On blind corners take extra care and run where you can get best visibility. If you need to cross the road to do that be decisive and then cross back to face oncoming traffic as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • Cross roads at crossings and always be aware of traffic lights. If using a crossing, regroup before the entire group crosses as one (i.e. do not press any buttons until all the group are there!). Make sure you make eye contact with the driver before crossing in front of a car. When approaching an intersection/T-junction, make eye contact with the driver who is waiting to proceed onto the main road. If the driver does not see you, pass behind the car.
  • Be careful if anyone in a car asks you for directions – if you stop to answer, keep at least at arm’s length from the vehicle.
  • MP3/iPods may prevent you from hearing trouble approaching and distract you from your surroundings. Expensive equipment could also make you a target for thieves. Wearing MP3 players whilst out in a group will also mean that you will not be able to hear the coach’s/group leader’s instructions or be able to talk properly with your fellow runners.
  • When running with a group, ensure that all members of the group return safely. Start and finish together. If you need to finish early, let the group leader/coach know you are leaving. Do not leave the group without letting someone know what you are doing.
  • Listen to the coach/group leader at all times. This ensures that the group hear and can follow consistent instructions. Do not use an MP3/iPod during a group run (see below).
  • On steady/slow runs (e.g. Sunday training runs), faster runners must regularly return to the back of the slower runners. You should not leave the group before first speaking to the group leader/coach about what you are doing.

Be seen!

Precautions to take while running at night/low light levels

We always need to think about safety and being seen at night. The most important thing is to make sure you can be seen. Dark clothes and shoes can make you virtually invisible to motorists, particularly if you’re trying to cross a busy road or if you’re running along the edge of a narrow road without a footpath. You may also not be visible to other runners and/or pedestrians and cause an accident as a result.

  • Wear bright clothing and light colours; at the very least wear a white t-shirt as a top layer. You are also best to look for wind jackets, tops and tights with reflective strips that are highly visible even on the darkest road. The club kit team have a great range of hi-viz tops and jackets. Visit http://fvspartans.org.uk/ClubKit.shtml for further details.
  • Invest in a lightweight reflective running bib in a luminous colour with reflective strips around the middle. These are cheap and readily available at all good running shops. You cannot be missed in these even if you are padded up in many layers on the coldest of days, they will still fit.
  • Obtain a flashing LED armband. These are cheap and effective. Please see a member of the kit team.
  • Avoid using the roads unless you have to. When you are on a road watch the surface – wet or icy patches are considerably harder to see in the dark.

Be a Spartan!

We pride ourselves on being a friendly and considerate club. Look out for your fellow runners as well as yourself on training runs. Follow the advice in the Be Safe and Be Seen sections above and always lead by example.
During ‘speed’ sessions run at your own pace. Faster runners when finished should encourage slower runners until they have finished or continue with the speed session set until the last runner has finished. Then warm down together.
Remember that our training runs are just that (even ‘speed’ sessions). Don’t run so hard that you are putting your health, other runner’s health or members of the public at risk. Don’t leave your race on the training ground/route!!
Be aware of members of the public and other road/cycleway/path users when you are running. Don’t expect them to move out of your way, make room for them at the earliest opportunity so that there is no chance of any accidents. This means that when you are out in a group that you will need to be prepared to run no more than two abreast and be ready to get into single file to accommodate other cycleway users at appropriate times. This applies to runners of all capabilities. Above all be polite and remember that you are representing the club. You would not drive on the right hand side of the road so you should not run on the right hand side of a cycle track.
Listen to your coach’s/group leader’s instructions during the session and don’t wear MP3 players/iPods otherwise you won’t be able to hear them and have conversations with your fellow runners.
Above all enjoy your running and support those runners around you so that our reputation gets passed on!

Leave a Reply