In the summertime, it often feels like every minute that you’re not outdoors is a waste. Rather than hit up your overly air-conditioned gym after work, you might consider forgoing your treadmill or usual boutique workout for a run in the great outdoors.
But before you lace up your sneaks and run outside for the first time, there are a few ground rules you should know. Safety is important, especially in a bustling city, so we asked running experts from the best clubs in New York City to share their advice for running outside.
Ahead are the tips you need to know, from New York Road Runners (NYRR); North Brooklyn Runners; Dashing Whippets Running Team; and Natalie Johnson, a NASM-certified trainer and running coach. Whether you’re running for the first time or are signed up for a marathon, this helpful info will keep you on track.
Stay on the beaten path.
Don’t just “wing” your running route; be familiar with where you’re going before you head out. Look for set running trails and paths that are well lit and populated, so try those first before you go rogue on the streets alone.
If you usually use a playlist to help you zone out on long treadmill runs, then running without music might sound like torture. But when you’re running outside with headphones, it’s harder to hear cars, cyclists, and other runners. So, if you absolutely have to run with music, keep it on low or only wear one earbud. Definitely leave the noise-canceling headphones at home.
Run against traffic.
In general, you should run against traffic so you can see the cars coming toward you. You should also be predictable — in other words, don’t just change direction abruptly. Drivers may not be able to see you, or react quickly to sudden changes, so it’s important to stay as visible as possible.
Pass on the left.
Before you pass someone, take a second to check that it’s safe and that you have plenty of room to get around them. Alert the person that you’re going to pass them by saying some version of, “On your left!” Also, make yourself easy to pass, and don’t run more than two people abreast, especially if you’re running on a track. Patience is important, too, so accept that you might be stuck behind someone for a few seconds.