Keep this in mind whenever you hit the roads for your training. Its best to find a park or a track designed for runners but that is not always the case for most of us.
1. Turn down the volume
If you're used to running with music, make sure that you minimize the volume so that you can still hear the ambient noise around you, like cars and conversations. You need to be mindful of your surroundings especially if you're negotiating a traffic-congestion or deserted area. Pumping the volume too loud for prolonged period of time may also caused permanent damage to your hearing.
2. Hydrate adequately
For your long-distance training, it is always advisable to bring along a water bottle especially if the weather is hot and humid. You may lose a lot of fluids and that may decrease your performance and affect your recovery time. Losing just two percent of your body weight in fluids can decrease your performance by 25 percent—a major slowdown. Opt for a sports drink during longer-distance runs or when your stomach is empty. On average, you’ll need to take four to six sips for every 10 to 15 minutes of exercise.
You may also opt to do loops so that you may conveniently reach a water source to refill your empty bottles. Invest in a fuel belt or easy-grip water bottles specially design for runners to stay as comfortable as possible. Another tip would be to plan your routes to pass convenient stores like 7-Eleven or Happy Mart, but of course you need to bring some spare change.
3. Fuel up sufficiently
Determine your training distance and fuel up sufficiently. If you're planning to have a long distance run, ensure that you don't go with an empty stomach. Even though you don't feel hungry, take something light 1 or 2 hours ahead so that you won't be bothered by the time your reach the mid-way point.
For me bread or instant noodles will work on my LD training. Its best not to take meat or anything that is too taxing to your digestive system or you may waste too much energy.
4. Do stretching and warm ups
Always remember not to skip the routine stretching and warm ups prior to your runs. You'll want to minimize injuries as much as possible. Many of us train after work so our muscles may not be ready after our sedentary type of work in the office.
Finish off with a proper warm down to relax your muscles and recover fast for your next workout.
5. Prepare for the terrain
You know that you'll be training off-road, so be prepared and ready with your trail shoes. Even if its just a short distance, you'll want to be equipped with the RIGHT gear so that you don't fall trap to injured which could wreck your whole schedule. Of course, you can ditch your running shoes all together if you're heading for a run at the beach.
6. Plan your route ahead of time
Predetermine your route and distance! If you're planning to try a new route, map it out on the FREE web applications first. Applications like the DailyMile and Mapmyrun allows you to trace out the route on Google maps and determine the distance and elevation automatically.
Avoid running in deserted areas at odd hours. Some areas are also littered with stray dogs so know your routes and avoid them if possible.
7. Steer clear of traffic
If you must run in an urban setting, run opposite the flow of traffic, and stay on side streets and sidewalks when you can. Avoid rush hour and highways at all cost. Often there are no proper tracks or sidewalks on roadsides so try to avoid these too. Assume that not all motorist give way to runners especially here in Penang. Your safety is the utmost priority.
8. Run with a partner
Try to avoid running alone, especially in the evening or early in the morning when daylight is scarce. If it’s not possible to always run with a buddy, at least let someone know where you are. Leave a note, or send a text message to a friend. Other tips: Carry identification, wear reflective apparel and/or a light, carry a mobile phone, and run a familiar route. Choose an area in which there’s a friend’s house on the way in case you need to stop for help.