9 Tips for Running Safely in the Dark

Running safely in the dark can be a challenge. For many of us it is the only way to get in our miles. With the sun setting early this time of year, after work or after supper runs will be in the dark for some time now.

Running Safely in the Dark are 9 safety tips offered by Road ID. These are the folks who provide the my first 5k, running bibbibs that many of us wear at races. There business is providing wearable ID and emergency contact bracelets, shoe tags and the FIXX ID. The FIXX ID is a dog tag like ID tag named in honor of Jim Fixx.

In addition to ID products, Road ID also offers high visibility lighted and reflective items such as belts, clip on lights, stick-on reflective strips and other items. Road ID also has a line of clothing for runners, cyclist or just hanging around.

Running Safely in the Dark

1. Be visible. Wear bright clothes—neon is good, reflective is even better. Choose running shoes and apparel that have reflective strips. If your shoes don’t have any, add some reflective tape. Consider wearing a reflective vest, a headlamp, or flashing light (red, blue, or green, work best). You can’t be too visible.

2. Always run against traffic. This may be true all of the time, but it’s essential in low light conditions. When possible, pick roads that have sidewalks or wide shoulders.

3. Pick a well-lit route... Even if it’s not your favorite loop, choose a route on which you can see where you’re going—and more important, drivers can see you.

4. …And a known one. Don’t go exploring new routes after dark. Stick to streets and areas you know well. The last thing you want is to end up running 10 miles when you only wanted to run five.

5. Grab a buddy. There’s strength and safety in numbers (Bonus: The camaraderie might increase your speed or mileage, too). If you must run alone, let someone else know your plan before you head out (see tip #8).

6.Always carry ID. In an accident, First Responders will want to know who you are, who to contact and important medical information. Be prepared for the unexpected. Wear a Road ID.

7.Ditch the headphones. Music, podcasts, and other distractions block out the sound of cars, dogs, cyclists, and other potential threats. If you really need a beat, use one earbud and keep the volume low.

8.Trust your instincts. If something feels unsafe, trust your gut—especially in the dark.

9.Consider a safety app. Bolster your safety with a digital tool like the Road ID App, which allows chosen family and friends to track you in real-time and be alerted of your location if you stop moving. An added perk: you can create a custom lock screen with emergency information.

You can download a pdf of these tips and use them for a hand out at your next running club meeting. If you coach kids in school or at the Y or Boys and Girls Club this would be a good hand out to use.

We all lead busy lives with hectic schedules. As athletes we often feel invincible. Combine busy and invincibility and you can get reckless behavior.

Be smart and ruin well my friends!

Andy

Disclosure –  Road ID is an affiliate sponsor of this web site and this post.

© 2016 andrew nagelin

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Lacing Techniques

Have you ever had foot pain from your favorite shoe? Have you purchased a new pair of your old favorite but somehow it just doesn’t fit the same as last year’s model?

Sometimes, just changing the way you lace your shoes can make a difference. This is more than loosening or tightening your laces.

Check out this video from Running Warehouse

Lacing Techniques for Running Shoes

I’ve had people tell me about different ways to lace my shoes to cure various issues. The problem is I can never remember how they did it. One time someone even re-laced a shoe for me. When I got home it still looked incomprehensible. Maybe I’m a little slow.

lacing techniquesWhen I was in Boy Scouts I always had a hard time tieing the different knots. I have no idea why this is so hard for me but it is.

Fortunately this video is very clear and doesn’t skip that crucial step that all other videos seem to do. I hate it when a video skips what seems like an insignificant step. I need it all spelled out for me clear as day. Explain it to me as if I was in 4th grade.

If you are having problems with a particular shoe, or if you always have foot problems, this video may be for you.

Running Warehouse has a ton of other great videos that you may find useful also.

Do you use different lacing techniques already?

What types of foot problems are you dealing with?

Did you try any of the techniques in the video and get some relief?

Run well my friends,

Andy

Boston Marathon Weather

Boston Marathon Weather predictions

As the Marathon gets closer, runners spend more time obsessing over Boston area weather on Marathon Monday. New England weather is notoriously unpredictable, but that doesn’t stop people from trying to figure it out.

Boston Marathon, runningRunner’s World wrote a good article about Boston Marathon weather in 2013. This was a year after the blistering hot 2012 marathon that baked so many runner’s beans. Weather was a top concern one year after that roaster.

Here is a graph from that article that shows recent race day temps.

boston marathon weather

The average temperature has trended up over 13 years from around 60º to around 70º. But as you can see, there have been plenty of recent years when the temperature never or barely breached 60º.

Look at the race start temps signified by the green blocks. Most race starts are in the 40s or 50s with only 4 being 60 or higher. Also notice the range of temperature on race day.

In 2004 the race start temperature was 77º but the chart shows somewhere along the way the temp dipped below 50º. In 2007 the 48º race start temp was just about the high for the day. See the Runner’s world article for more on that day.

What we know

We know that in the morning it is generally cooler. As the sun comes up and the race heads to Boston temperatures generally rise.

From experience I can tell you that when you get into Boston you are going to get some cold breezes off of the cold harbor water. When you are running past BC up to Cleveland Circle it may be sunny and warm. Heading out of Cleveland Circle you may start to experience some of these harbor breezes.

It’s a tough time to take a chill. Your energy stores are depleted and most likely you don’t have anything extra with you to put on.

I would anticipate this chill and just know that it is coming. There is nothing you can really do about it.

boston marathon
Runner’s World photo

For the race start you should bring some “throw-away” clothes or a garbage bag that you can wear. If you take the BAA buses you won’t spend a lot of time at the Runner’s Village, but your time there can be cold.

After the first mile you will be warmed up and any chill should be gone.

If it’s sunny and hot, try to run in as much shade as possible

What we don’t know

With the winter we have had in Boston this year, who knows what we will get on Marathon Monday. The temps are trending up but we did have snow flurries in Boston just last week.

A cold front could come through in the last minute. That could bring showers or drizzle: the cold dampness that just sucks the heat out of your body.

It could also be a beautiful spring day with temps in the 50s and a light breeze. With the restrictions on what you can bring with you to Hopkinton, you really need to be prepared and stay on top of the most recent weather predictions.

Runner’s Resources

Here is a link to some weather apps for your Android phone from theDroidReview. These are free to download. Here is the link to the Runner’s World article also. The article is a great read.

Here is a link to Boston’s WBZ-TV on-line weather page. For everyone coming from out of town, you’ll want to book mark this page and perhaps down load their app. Who knows local weather better than WBZ?

  • Do you have any tips for first time Boston runners?
  • How do you deal with adverse running conditions?
  • Do you use “throw-away clothes?”

Run well my friends and have a great race,

Andy

OMG I’m running a half marathon

Last night I remembered that I have a half marathon on Sunday. Not just any marathon but the Great Bay Half Marathon.

Beyond the rainbow,5k raceLast year I ran the Beyond The Rainbow 5K. I had one of my best 5Ks ever, helped partly by starting at the front of the race.

For some crazy reason I thought it would be fun to start with the fast guys. I’m in the white hat and shirt to the right in this photo.

Both races start at the same time with mostly 5K runners in the front. The 5K guys always go out faster than everyone else, and I tried to keep up with them.

When we got to the turn where the 5K folks head back to the finish line, I was relieved. In past years when I’ve run The Great Bay I always envied the 5K runners who were heading home.

At the point where the 5K runners head home, the half marathon runners are just getting warmed up and heading out into the Great Bay Estuary down Dame Road.

It’s at about 2 miles. The legs are warmed up, you know if you’ve over dressed and have a pretty good idea what type of race you’ll have. Sometimes the thought of continuing is not so enticing. But the race has just begun.

It’s a beautiful course and the weather will be perfect for running, sunny and 55º. If I was in half-marathon shape I might be able to set a personal course record. Alas, I’ve been a short track guy so far this season. Mostly 5Ks with the occasional 4 or 5 miler.

First time Great Bay Runners

If this is your first Great Bay, be prepared. There are several killer hills around miles 3.5, 4.5 and a series of smaller hills through mile ten that will shred your quads. Check out the elevation map on line. This is really and up and down course with hills every where.

It’s going to be warm so hydrate properly and make sure you can unzip or pull off a layer. It may be cool in the wooded areas but if it is 55 and sunny it will get warm on the exposed roads.

As I mentioned before, the scenery is beautiful. Be sure to look up and around once in a while even when you’re digging deep.

Apre Race

VFW, Newmarket, smuttynose, great bay half, 5k race

Our good friends at Smuttynose Brewing will be pouring at several locations in town. The VFW hall is great with plenty of room and kegs.

All I ask is that the 5K runners don’t drink all the IPA before I get there.

Why do we run?

We run these races to support activities at the Exeter Hospital. My Aunt and Uncle spent some of their last days at Exeter Hospital, so I’m proud to be giving a little something back with my race registration.

There is also a food drive for the Newmarket Community Church Food Pantry. Bring some food, get a free pair of Gone LOCO socks and help out some folks in need.

If 1,000 runners each brought two items, we could really help some folks out.

So we run to challenge ourselves. We run for a good time with our friends and our Tribe. We run to enjoy the great outdoors, some fantastic ale and we run to help our fellow man in their time of need.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

Run well my friends,

Andy

How to Prep for your First 5K

In January I wrote How to choose your first 5K and How to choose a running watch. I was expanding on the information from the info-graphic below.

my first 5k, running bibIn this post I discuss the other points in the info-graphic.

I don’t have a dog, so I can’t give any advise from my own experience there. I’ll let the pros advise you on how to treat runner’s knee or any injury for that matter. But I will cover the other items in this post.

How to Prep for your First 5K

First, you should pick a race that is at least 8 weeks out. This will give you the time to properly train and avoid injuries. You should follow a couch to 5K program or some other beginners program from a reputable source.

Safely Increase mileage

new runners, first 5kThis is #4 on the info-graphic. Any training program for beginners will slowly and carefully increase your mileage. The rule of thumb is no more than a 10% increase in mileage per week.

When you are first starting out it may be safe to double your mileage in a week. If you jog one day for two miles the first week, you should be able to add a second day of jogging for two miles.

Depending on your schedule you could then add a third day in week three, or make your two two-mile jogs into two and a half or three-mile jogs. If you have the time it is better to spread your miles over three days.

As a first time 5K runner, your goal is to be able to jog three miles comfortably. A 5K is 3.1 miles. If you can jog three miles, you can do the race.

Once you are able to run three miles at a time, you don’t need to go much further.

If you want to try a few four or five-mile runs, go ahead. The important thing is that you feel comfortable doing the run.

If you feel sick, dizzy or have any of the other heart attack or stroke symptoms you should stop immediately and see your doctor or call 911.

If you feel good running three days a week for three or more miles, start working on your speed.

Keep your miles the same but start adding a little kick and see what you can do.

As a first time runner your primary goal is to be able to jog/run three miles comfortably. On race day your only goal is to finish. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing.

How to safely run in the heat

The best advice is to try to avoid the hottest parts of the day. If you can run in the mornings or evenings when it is cooler, that is the best choice. If you do have to run in the heat do not push your speed or your distance. You want to take it easy.

You may want to choose a different route. Can you switch to a tree-lined street or a park? Can you use a treadmill in an air conditioned gym?

It’s a good idea to wear a hat and take a bottle of water with you. Almost all runners wear a hat. It shades your face and keeps the sun out of your eyes. If you run in hot conditions often, you should buy a running hat at the local running store.

I run races with a water bottle. Don’t feel like you can’t train with a water bottle.

Don’t feel like you have to prove anything. If you can only do one or two miles before you start to feel the effects of the heat, walk home. Your family will be impressed that you used your head and aren’t passed out on the sidewalk somewhere.

Hot days are often sunny days. Don’t forget the sunscreen.

I have run a marathon in 85º weather before. It can be done. But, as a new runner don’t be foolish and train in the heat unless you have to. Until you know how your body will react , play it safe. I have seen experienced runners fade on hot days. I’ve seen marathoners hauled away by EMTs.

Race day anxiety

Almost everyone I know feels the nerves before a race. It is totally normal and to be expected

There are things you can control and things you can’t. What can you do to reduce race day stress?

  • Get to your race early and not stress over parking or being late
  • Pack your gear the day before and don’t worry about checking it many times
  • Bring your own food and beverage, so you have what works for you

You can’t avoid race day nerves but you can control some of the contributing factors. A race is fun. Only a hand full of runners at most 5Ks are out to prove anything. Most are there to do their best and have a good time; just like you.

The info graphic above lists “How to prepare for your first 5K” as #7, and focuses on food.

Food and Hydration

Food is very important. Ryan Hall, a famous American runner, talks about how a meal the night before a race can ruin four months of training.

You are running a 5K, so don’t get too worked up about food. The rule of thumb is not to eat anything new the day before a race, or day of a race. For a 5K you don’t need to carbo-load or eat special foods.

Don’t eat a big heavy or greasy meal the night before. If you eat oatmeal every morning, that’s what you should eat race day morning. I try to avoid fiber since my race day nerves tend to move things along all on their own.

Hydration can make or break you. Just about every 5K I have ever run has a water stop around the half-way mark. Just make sure your race does.You may still want to carry your own water bottle on your first race.

My rule of thumb is to stop drinking anything an hour before my race. I drink plenty of coffee or water up until that point. I stop an hour before the race so my body has time to process most of what I drank earlier. This helps me avoid a porta-potty break during a race.

I often take a bottle of water with me on a marathon or half. You should take a bottle with you for your first 5K. Just before the start take a few drinks, but not much. If you need a drink before or after the water stop, you will be prepared. A bottle is a nice insurance policy.

Running YOUR race

The last and one of the most important tips for your first 5K, is to run YOUR race.  What do I mean by this? If you did the eight-week training plan, you’ve run three miles many times by race day. You know what a comfortable pace is for you.

On race day, all you need to do is run that pace. Run YOUR race. That’s what you’ve been training for. Your race, not the lycra wearing hotty’s next to you race.

For your first 5K all you want to do is finish. Once you have your finish time for your first race you can start to set goals and work on your PR (personal record). But that’s a subject of many books and another blog post.

Recovery and Cross Training

At the end of the race grab a bottle of water and any food items available. Chips are okay on race day, your body needs the carbs and salt. Don’t grab a ton of stuff, just a few items to help replenish your body. If you finish near the end of the race you may not have much to choose from, so the extra food you brought with you can be handy at the end of the race also.

Your best bet is to walk around after the race. The movement of your muscles helps increase blood flow which helps your body remove waste and bring in nutrients to aid in recovery. If you can’t walk or feel ill, seek medical attention.

When you get home a hot shower is a good idea. This will help relax your muscles and make you bearable to be around! If you have been stretching for your training runs, do that routine soon after your race.

As a new runner, I wouldn’t worry too much about cross training. I think it is more important to get the running routine built into your life first. Cross training is important and has running benefits. Running can take up a lot of your time and early on I think you should focus on making that time part of your weekly routine.

Let me know if you have questions.

Run well my friend and enjoy your first 5k.

Andy

Moments with Meb Keflezighi

Meb Keflezighi

Recently I’ve posted some videos with Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher. There are so many interviews with these two, it was hard to choose.

Last week I promised some video clips with Meb Keflezighi, Here are three I think you might like: The Big Win, Training advice and a bit of comedy.

Meb wins 2014 Boston Marathon

I’ll never forget moving through the finish area in 2014 and hearing people talking about an American who won the Boston Marathon. I didn’t find out it was Meb until later on.

The end of a marathon can be a little chaotic. Everyone is exhausted, there are announcements of the runners approaching the finish line. There is excitement and people yelling all over the place.

At the 2014 Boston Marathon

We just kept walking and walking. We got our medals. We got the new foil hoodie and some food and kept walking.

Before I knew it I was outside of the security area and headed for the Boston Common to retrieve my drop bag. I didn’t even realize I was just walking down Boylston Street without all of the barricades. And then I was.

I ran Boston in 2012 when it was 85º and all we worried about was the heat. In 2014 the temperature was much more reasonable and all we worried about was finishing strong.

Training for a marathon with Meb Kefleghizi

See how Meb trains for his marathons.

New Balance is based in Brighton, MA. I shop at their outlet store in Brighton and at their Boylston Street location on occasion. I have picked up some great deals at the outlet store.

We are proud that Boston is their home and that they are growing their presence in Brighton, MA. Brighton is a neighborhood of Boston.

Run well my friends,

Andy

© 2015 Andrew nagelin