I can tell the seasons are changing, although here in Phoenix the change is subtle - it'll be 106 today, but it won't feel as hot as we're used to. (and look at what's coming next week - especially the lows!) It's also been dark outside in the mornings for the last few weeks.
But with the changing seasons comes changing needs, especially safety needs.
- Maybe you were visible on your morning or evening run when the sun was out, but now the cars can't see you. Are you wearing reflective clothing?
- As the temperatures continue to fall, maybe a change to mid-day is a good idea.
- You might not need to carry as much water or sunscreen, but that should leave you room for your sweatshirt (once you're warmed up.)
- That neighborhood or parking garage might have been mostly safe in the daylight, but you don't feel comfortable now that it's dark? Time to change your route!
Earlier this week I was running on the desert trail behind my house when I came face to face with a coyote - less than 20 feet away - and I had an uh-oh moment. He looked at me for a few seconds before moving nonchalantly off the trail. I turned around and headed back into the neighborhood (while hoping not to get eaten by a coyote or crushed by a falling Acme-branded anvil..)
image credit: nickneely.com
I've been on that trail a thousand times before, and there always seems to be other runners, dog-walkers, and cyclists. But not this particular morning at this particular place and time - it was just me and a coyote, in the dark, in the desert. Who knows if he had any buddies watching from the side of the trail..? I was completely alone and exposed, even though I was 25 feet away from the back wall of my neighborhood.
Change of plan: I'll be doing a "city run" during the winter - out the front of my neighborhood instead of the back.
Seasons change, and our safety needs change with them. When you go out for a run, your first priority should always be to make sure you get back home!