5 Tips for Urban Running

From speeding taxis and buses to pedestrians and cyclists, the congestion of a main road makes incredibly dangerous terrain for runners. For those of us who live in the city, our options can be limited when it comes to finding a runner-friendly route near home, so we’ve listed a few tips for staying safe while running in the city.

Tip #1: Always run against traffic
By running against traffic, you’ll have a full view of both lanes of traffic and be more prepared to avoid a vehicle driving too close to the shoulder. Additionally, you’ll have the vantage point to make eye contact and wave down a driver in case he or she doesn’t see you at first.

Tip #2: Get back to nature
City parks are the perfect place for a run. In addition to the natural scenery, not only is there usually less noise and foot traffic, but running paths are often in better shape than the concrete and pavement you’re used to.

Tip #3: Run familiar streets
It’s always best to run a familiar route, but if you decide to change it up,  do so during the day, rather than at night when street signs and people are more difficult to see. You can even scout out your new trail ahead of time by car.

Tip #4: Wear reflective clothing
In addition to your own safety, visibility is important for keeping drivers and cyclists safe as well. It’s not uncommon for an accident to occur because of a driver trying to swerve out of the way of an unseen runner or cyclist. Though a neon yellow or orange shirt looks bright from a few feet away, they can leave you unseen to drivers and cyclists when running in the dark. Even if you’re running just before sunset, it’s important to wear some kind of reflective clothing, whether you go with a reflective armband, a vest, or a reflective headband.

Tip #5: Stay alert
Hearing and vision are your most important defenses against hazards on city streets, and you’ll want to make sure that nothing is impairing these senses in any way. Keep your eyes focused on the path directly in front of you, and avoid diverting your eyes away from the road.

Additionally, while many people like to wear earbuds when exercising, wearing both earbuds at any volume while running can greatly impair your awareness and increase your risk of danger. Without full hearing, car horns, screeching tires, construction equipment, and other sounds of city streets can go unheard. Add pedestrians, cyclists, and barking dogs into the mix, and your lack of hearing can also put others in danger while running with both earbuds.

To stay safe, one option is to use one earbud and tuck the other one under your shirt, but as we all know, the sound quality of one earbud on a dual earbud set just doesn’t cut it. On the other hand, an even better way to listen to audio and stay safe while running is by using a single earbud headphone set, such as the XDU Single Earphone from Far End Gear.

By channeling both sides of a stereo mix in one earbud, the XDU Single Earphone allows you to fully enjoy your favorite music or podcasts while keeping one ear open so you can stay aware of your surroundings when running. Unlike other single earbud sets, the XDU Single Earphone features a reflective fabric-wrapped cord that helps you stay visible when running at night. It even comes with multiple sets of rubber eartips for a perfect fit.

Jeff Sheerin

By Jeff Sheerin