PSA: Be Safe!
I love winter training. Definitely much prefer it over battling the heat in the summer. You may modify the type of exercise you do in the winter, perhaps your goals change, but if you, like me, like to train outdoors, you definitely need to take the time of day you train into consideration once the clocks go back to ring in winter. Often we like to just crack on as usual, but being safe and most importantly, visible is crucial at this time of year.
In London last week, six cyclists lost their lives on the roads. The reason I’m writing this post is because a reader emailed me saying she almost rode into a runner on her cycle commute home as he darted out of nowhere, wearing dark clothing and she just didn’t see him. Whether you’re a runner or cyclist, now is the time of year that you really need to up your safety game. The first step in this is to acknowledge the fact that people really just can’t see you. It’s dark out there people! We all make the mistake of thinking that because we can see ourselves and we’re aware of what we’re doing, where we’re moving, everyone else around us will be too. WRONG.
The number of cyclists I see out at night wearing all black, no helmet and with no lights on their bike is actually astonishing. They must not like their lives. That kind of stupidity is basically begging for an accident to happen. With city cycling especially, weaving in and out of traffic etc – buses, trucks, big vans just can’t see you. Runners are equally guilty of this. Don’t think that just because we’re on the pavement, we’re safe. Ninja runners (as I call them) wearing all black, dart out into traffic, cross roads when it’s unsafe. Again, just because you know where you’re going, doesn’t mean everyone can see you.
I don’t care how uncool you think it is, LIGHT YOURSELF UP LIKE A CHRISTMAS TREE! If you’re out on a bike at this time of year, a fluorescent jacket is a no-brainer. Big, bright, flashing lights on your bike are an absolute must. Ask if you can test them out in the shop to see how bright they are. A light on the back of your helmet is also useful. But really, I say whack some fluoro anywhere you can on your body. It may not look cool, but that’s really not the goal here – getting you from A to B in one piece is.
Runners, same deal. Wearing a fluorescent jacket should also be a must for us in winter and be sensible about the way you run. Don’t dart across roads or run in the street. Everyone knows I love my 6am runs but about a month ago, I got up, stepped outside to do it and the sheer darkness really scared me. 6am runs are on hold for me until the mornings get a little brighter. I’ve changed the time of day I run. I also adapt my routes slightly at this time of year so I stick primarily to main roads. It’s great if you can run with a friend or in a group. Trust me, I hate the idea of modifying my behaviour as a woman because there are some crazies around who may want to do something stupid to us, but alas, these are the times we live in. Better safe than randomly attacked and all that.
Winter training is awesome and you can get so much out of it, but please people – stay safe out there.