Navigating City Streets as a Runner
Injury Care & Prevention Sep 28, 2017
Navigating City Streets as a Runner

A Quick Guide to Safely Running in the streets

Running in the city can be interesting and exhilarating, but it can also be frustrating and even dangerous. From crowds and slow-moving pedestrians to potholes and hard concrete surfaces, getting in your run enjoyably and safely can be a challenge.

Eight tips to help you safely navigate city streets as a runner:

  • Make sure you’re easily seen. You’ll likely be running near plenty of people, bicyclists and motor vehicles so make sure everyone sees you coming. Wear bright-colored clothing, and if you’re running when it’s dark out, also wear reflective gear.
  • Carry ID and other essentials. Don’t head out on a run without your ID. It’s also a good idea to take your cell phone and some money or a credit card, just in case you forget to bring water or need to call a cab or rideshare to get you home.
  • Run with a friend. There’s safety (and motivation) in numbers. But if you’re running alone, let someone know where you’re headed.
  • Wear the right shoes. You’ll need different running shoes for running on pavement compared to running on a dirt trail. Look for shoes with added cushioning to soften the impact of city sidewalks and streets. If you have a choice between running on concrete or asphalt (assuming both are safe routes), choose asphalt. It’s a bit more forgiving on your joints than concrete.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings. There are typically many more obstacles to navigate when running on city streets compared to other locations. Watch out for potholes, construction zones, crowds, debris on the ground, uneven sidewalks and other potential hazards.
  • Follow traffic rules. Cross streets at the corner and don’t jaywalk, but don’t assume you have the right of way just because you’re in a crosswalk. Better to jog in place or do a few squats or lunges while waiting for a red light rather than trying to dart across the street and getting hit by a car.
  • Tone it down. If you love to listen to music as the miles roll away, that’s okay. Just keep the volume down or better yet, only use one ear bud. You need to be able to hear cars, bikes and people that may be approaching.
  • Find runner-friendly routes. Just because you live in the city, doesn’t mean you have to run through busy city streets. Seek out open areas such as parks and trails where there’s less congestion and more open space. But stay in areas with other foot traffic so you don’t put your personal safety in jeopardy. If you feel unsafe at all during your run, alter your route.