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Training & advice

Road running and traffic

As a road runner you have to negotiate traffic at speed. Even if you're not a quick runner, keeping your wits about you so that you can stay safe on the roads is more challenging than for the average pedestrian who travels more slowly with more time to think. Here are our top tips on staying safe on the roads.

Look and listen

Just as you were taught your Green Cross Code (if you are old enough) as a child, you should stop, look and listen to cross the road or at least slow down to a safe speed so that you can be aware of every vehicle in your vicinity. Pay attention to sound: you can often hear a car before it comes into view and you should be extra alert for sounds such as engine acceleration or loud music coming from the car that could indicate the driver not paying attention to pedestrians or runners. See below for how to get their attention:

Let drivers know you are there

Don't forget that cars have people inside them and many of those people will work with you if you ask them to! By asking we mean for you to acknowledge them, make eye contact and smile. A simple smile and eye contact will often result in the driver waving you across and giving you the right of way. Don't forget to thank them with a wave and a smile as you run off and they will do it again for you next time!

Choose your route carefully

Pavements are definitely the way to go and the wider they are, the better. However, the temptation of running on quiet, country lanes can be a big draw and there are many good running routes in the countryside. The problem is the unlimited speed limit that can send you jumping into the nearest hedge or onto a grass verge to escape a car driven at speed around a blind bend. There is a lot of confusion to which side of the road you should run on. Many believe that you should run on the right hand side facing the oncoming traffic but that isn't a good idea if you are running around a bend and can't see the cars coming towards you (and they can't see you coming towards them)! When you come to bends like this you should cross onto the other side. Another problem with running on country lanes is visibility, if there are no street lamps, so in the winter time when there is a lack of daylight you would be safer to go into the town and run in well-lit areas. However, if you still need to run on country lanes you should make sure you are wearing highly visible, reflective clothing and wear a head torch.

Running in a group

When you're running with friends there is a danger of being less alert than when you are alone but you are no safer from traffic. Think about the other road users and look after each other by choosing your formation carefully. There are times when single file is essential. It may mean that you can't continue your conversation but it's better to be safe than sorry!

Carry ID

If you are running on your own you should carry some form of ID so that you can be identified if anything untoward does happen to you. Many running specialists sell wrist wallets that have space for you to put your name, contact and medical details.