Now that we live in Pasig City I am running all over the country to and from places like Makati, Quezon City, Paranaque and even old Manila.
When you have new and different routes to run it presents a lot of new challenges in terms of safety and running enjoyment.
It does not matter what country you are running in you need to think and plan ahead before putting on your favorite pair of shoes and hitting the street.
Here are my Top 20 Tips on Running Safety in No Order of Importance
1. When night running in the Philippines:
(a) Wear bright clothing so people notice you more and call out “Hey Joe” (most white people are called Joe in the Philippines – haha); (b) Carry small weights so you have something nice to give if being held up (never argue or fight with anyone as you do not know who and where their friends are); (c) Do some Coconut oil pulling for a fresher and cleaner mouth.
2. Beware of the Dog:
Even the small dogs because their bark can really startle you and pump you full of cortisol. More dangerous of course are the bigger dogs so I simply cross to the other side of the street or ensure someone who is tastier is between me and them!
3. Beware of the Person:
Generally you should trust no one and if seeing any one slightly suspicious treat them like you would a rabid dog. Cross the street, turn around or run away flat out. In Australia I have run with sand in my pocket and would use that as a first line of defense before running if attacked. It happens, so it is best not be naive and to be on guard. The picture below was taken at midday in Adelaide, Australia when an obviously drug affected guy walked past us. I put myself between him and my darlings and was super alert.
Ensure you take out an ear plugs if sensing danger and never wear earplugs if not absolutely certain of the safety of your surroundings.
4. Run into Traffic as you are Too Vulnerable from Behind if Running With It
In the picture below I would run on the side walk on the left hand side.
If there is a decent side walk on which to run and there are no dogs then run into traffic and not on the road itself unless it is safe. If you are running with the traffic you cannot see what is happening behind you. When running into it you can better anticipate any problems ahead.
5. Cyclists Are Not The Only Ones Who Get Doored
When running into traffic I always expect that the car door I run past will be opened by the person inside. This way I try to give myself more distance between me and the door. I also look to see if anyone is in the car.
The bottom line is to always be alert regarding your immediate surroundings and anticipate what is coming up ahead.
6. Never Blind Side a Stationary Driver
When crossing the street at the lights or when cars have stopped always ensure they can see you. Many cars like to get as close to the bumper of the car in front and could easily crush you to death in their pointless endeavor of creeping forward.
Hence, do not walk in front of the car from behind but from the front. Do not be afraid to use hand signals and indicate your intentions.
Please be careful at all times and be reminded of the tragedy that befell Aussie golfer Stuart Appleby whose wife Renay was crushed between 2 cars.
7. Understand your Route and Ensure Not Isolated
I ran 5km to and from my Primed client in an unfamiliar route at night last week. I planned well by examining google maps and knew where to cross the road, what were the landmarks I needed to see along the way, some safety zones should something happen and my small weights just in case some crazy dude wanted to attack me. I definitely did not listen to any music or podcasts and was in a heightened sense of alert for danger.
I also informed a few people of my route and expected times of arrival.
8. Run with friends
If you can it is always better to run with a friend or friends.
9. Use a Small Torch When Running at Night if Area is Not Well Lit
10. If the Area is Dark or Wet Take Baby Steps
If you are unsure of your footing then you cannot run normally. Take smaller steps and have your feet lower to the ground. This way you can adjust more easily if there is uneven ground.
Also stop running and walk. It is actually good to have a break from your constant cardio whilst on your run and uncertain footing is the time to do it.
Beware of sink holes obviously!
11. Use All Your Senses
When running you do not simply use your legs and arms. You need all your body and senses especially sight, sounds and even smell.
Your sense of smell is important so you breathe through your nose if there is a lot of pollution. Here you will better filter it then if simply breathing in through your mouth.
Your sense of hearing will alert you to honking cars, screams or other warning noises.
Your sense of sight is obviously important so you see the on coming cars, holes in the pavement ahead, speed bumbs etc.
Your sixth sense is also important so listen to your instincts about possible dangers and even return home if things “don’t feel right”.
12. Try Some Oil Pulling
Oil pulling with Virgin Coconut Oil is fun, cleans out your mouth very well and helps you practice breathing through your nose. It is a safety tip because it makes you look a little crazy so no one will hassle you. 🙂
13. Music/podcast in Only One Ear or None
If you know your route is safe or are running with a friend then 2 ears for your ear plugs is ok. However, if there is any uncertainty then just use one or non. Even be prepared to pull them out if you feel a danger zone is ahead.
14. Defensive Running
This is similar to defensive driving where you assume everyone is a dumb dumb on the road and danger is ahead. Hence, cross the street when you see dogs ahead, listen out for dogs barking or loud, angry voices, assume the car didn’t see you, assume the car door will just open onto you, assume the construction site might have falling debris etc. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
It is not just children who get kidnapped. Even be careful of cars following you, cars stopped ahead of you asking for help or any situation involving a stranger. Quite often they are nice and if there are people around and you know it’s ok then it is great to make a new friend. However, if isolated or vulnerable then the run away rule applies.
15. Smile and Greet People
Be mindful so as to enjoy the sights around you. Take joy in the greenery, the children playing and other people you see. This is safer as these people will then care for you and keep an eye out for your well-being. I have many Primed guards in Bel-Air Village who are my friends and I know would help me if I got into trouble.
16. Wear a Mask If Necessary
If running along particularly busy roads I think a mask makes sense. It is possible that you could do more harm than good due to the pollution going into your lungs.
17. Be Prepared
Because I am always so well hydrated before I run I can easily run 20km in the heat of the midday Philippines sun without water. I still take extra cash with me just in case I need to buy some. Of course I would never buy Sugarade or any such sugar spiking, inflammatory products. Fresh coconut water is a great drink.
I also always take my cell phone just in case I need to phone a friend and always have it wrapped in plastic just in case it rains.
18. Don’t Run on the Cracks in the Pavement as It Gives You Bad Luck
Just kidding of course but I used to believe that when I was a child.
The point here is to actually look down often enough to know there will be no danger underfoot. Having done this ensure you then run with your chin up and practice deep breathing techniques for a better run. Deep breathing is a crucial component and benefit of running so ensure you have more deep breaths than shallow ones.
19. Fuel Optimally Before Running
When you eat Primed, quality food you have a much bigger fuel tank (50,000 calories as a fat burner compared to 2,000 calories for a sugar burner). This way if you get lost you can run and last longer without having to refuel. You will also recover faster and better from your runs.
You are better off to make your own Home-made Primed Gel than buy a sugar store bought one.
20. Go To the Toilet Before Running
Haha. A Captain Obvious one I know but an important consideration. When you follow the Primed Lifestyle you become more regular, have better digestion and can even easily fix any irritable bowel syndrome problems like my Primed clients have:
“”Thanks to cutting out wheat and reducing processed carbs following the Primed Lifestyle regime, I feel much healthier, and people say I look 10 years younger. I lost 8 kilos in just 2 months — getting back to my weight 20 years ago — while eating well. It also helped me overcome irritable bowel syndrome, made me more alert and improved my sleep. A very positive outcome!” – Chris”
Hence, you’ll have no dramas on the road.
As a fat burner I take shots of Virgin Coconut Oil and have Coconut Milk or Cream in my Primed Iced Coffee. I love it. However, if taking too much on an empty stomach (I love to train in a fasted state) and then running I have almost experienced the shame of the famous pooper above.
When running it is great to listen to your favorite music or educational podcasts.
I was recently on a podcast “radio” program called That Paleo Show. It is available on itunes for those of you who want to download it and also see their other excellent episodes. Try #13, 16,25,30, 43, 44, 64, 78 and 80 for example. You can listen to these on your way to work, at work, on a walk etc. Very informative and often funny too.
I was also on a famous US podcast called Low-Carb Conversations that was is fun and insightful with respect to your new Lower Carb, Higher Healthy Fat lifestyle.
Run for the Right Reasons
Please remember that you cannot out run a bad diet if your purpose of running is to lose weight.
If you feel you have to fuel your runs with sugars like gels, excessive fruit, sugar drinks like juice or sports drinks, carbo loading with cheap processed carbs then you would probably be better off sleeping in than running. You could simply be accelerating your path to a diseased state with Type 2 Diabetes being just one.
For Those Bikers here is a nice article about riding safely below:.
Don’t be intimidated by the road. Arm yourself with this simple guide to a safer ride by Charisa Wernick.