It happened even before I realized it. I was on the ground with a burning sensation on my chest and both of my knees. “OUCH! Son of monkey’s uncle!” (edited for content). I face planted during a sub eight minute mile during a run on Davis Island this morning. (Pause for laughter) (Pause for more laughter) It’s ok I’ll wait.
I hope everyone does laugh because it is funny. Here I am, Ironman, Running Coach and motivator, on the ground bleeding for a full 10 seconds. What makes it even more funny, is that I teach two major aspects when I coach form. First is to raise your knees in order to make you lighter like a gazelle, second is to look five feet in front of you. Well,obviously if I was actually following my own advice this wouldn’t have happened. (Pause for more laughs)
There I am. I scraped and bruised both hands, my chest and both knees. Needless to say the shower hurt and of course the Hydrogen Peroxide “bath” stung as well, but nothing compared to my ego. Don’t get me wrong it was still dark, and the curb was one of those six-inch step ups, but I still should have seen it.
What makes matters worse, is that I was running with Scott and Sarah out by the airport and a biker came by and suggested we have lights on because he couldn’t see us. I understood that, it made sense, but would I even think about adding more weight for lights? I have ran that route a thousand times, he wasn’t going to hit me and I sure would never hurt myself running. Biking? Maybe, but surely not just running. That incident happened all of ten minutes before I bit the concrete. It tastes a little salty this time of year from the sweat that seeps off all the runners, but it isn’t bad.
It did remind me of some safety aspects we as athletes need to think about, especially if we work out in the morning or at night. Daylight is not coming as early or staying as late this time of year so we need to take some more precautions. Here is just a couple of gentle reminders of tips you may know or may not:
1) Use a reflector belt when running in darkness. They are light and you can just put them around your waist. I was required to have these belts in the military and I hardly remembered they were there, but I also could see the people around me.
2) Lights come in all shapes and sizes both to help you see and help bikes, people and cars see you. There is a great visor light that allows you to see the road in front of you and also lets the cars see you. Also there are plenty of red lights that can be attached to your shorts or fuel belt for your back.
3) It is not a bad idea to run with pepper spray or some kind of defensive spray that can be reached easily if you run alone. This means guys too. Don’t get an ego if you are out there alone. No one will be around to see you anyway. Of course the best thing is to always run in groups at night and it is a heck of a lot more fun.
4) If you are running on the road, run on the left against traffic. First, it makes it easier for cars to see you and you have more time to assess if you are in danger to move out of the way. Second, it is actually the law. I have never seen it enforced, but it is the law. Pedestrians against traffic, bikers with traffic.
5) Keep a change of clothing or at least a shirt change in your car. Sometimes you don’t realize how much you sweat during the cooler months and when you start to cool down it will get uncomfortable. After your cool downs, change your shirt before heading home or anywhere else. It may be just a short ride, but you will thank me for it.
is a certified running coach, triathlon coach, personal trainer and sports nutrition coach who's real passion is to help others enjoy the journey on the way to conquering their goals. He has written many articles and guest posts on the technical, nutritional and psychological aspects of endurance training. He currently lives and trains in Tampa, Florida.