With a new year upon us, Karen Bitton of Napa is determined to get in shape, lose some extra pounds and feel healthy: Bitton, 31, has taken up jogging.
“I used to jog many years ago. But then I got married, had kids and got lazy,” she said. “I need to have more self-discipline.”
Although getting in shape is good for your health, personal safety while working out is just as important, says Napa Police Capt. Jeff Troendly.
“This time of the year with all the New Year’s resolutions, people are changing their lifestyles. They have taken up running, walking and going to the gym,” Troendly said.
“Joggers have to focus on personal safety.”
Troendly strongly urges joggers to follow safety rules to prevent becoming a victim of assault, a traffic accident or personal injury.
Being aware of one’s surroundings is essential, he said.
“Run in well-lit areas, rather than dark or remote places,” Troendly said.
“We don’t suggest joggers run on roads, that they share with traffic. There are also potholes or other obstructions the runner may not see. It’s better to run if possible on the sidewalk.”
Wear bright clothing, preferably clothing with reflector strips, he added. “The runner should be (as) brightly visible as possible. Reflective materials magnify the light.”
He also recommends joggers run in pairs or “even better” in groups. “There is safety in numbers.”
Always, take a cell phone, Troendly said.
“That way if you feel threatened or fall, get hurt you can call someone. And let someone know what route you are running and don’t deviate from it.”
And Troendly warns against running with headphones.
“It’s a bad idea. You need to be able to hear what is going on around you,” he said. “You have to be able to hear if someone or a dog is coming up behind you and also the traffic.”
Lisa Eckart, 49, of Oregon, who has run in the Napa Valley Marathon, echoed Troendly's message.
“It’s not safe to run alone in the dark,” Eckart said.
“I jog five days a week for about an hour and half. I start at 5:30 a.m. and since it’s dark at that time, I jog with a group. I have a headlamp that I put around my head, that way I can see where I am running,” she said.
Eckart said she wouldn’t think of running without her cell phone.
"If I fall down and get hurt or if someone or a dog gets me, I can call for help,” she said. “I also carry pepper spray, which I can use on either two- or four-legged predators.’
Troendly said joggers must run with the traffic and obey traffic lights.
Do you have a safety tip for winter joggers? Share it in our comments section below.
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