Running is a great adventure. Every time I run out the door, I wonder, “What’s in store for me today?” Despite the fact that I routinely run the same few loops, every single run is a different experience. That’s what makes road running so dynamic… and it really keeps me on my toes.
That being said, the greatest of adventures come with certain perils. As Bilbo wisely warned Frodo, “It’s a dangerous business… going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Certain negative situations that you may encounter will either make you or break you.
Here are a few perilous situations that we face as road runners, along with a brief explanation of how to deal with each obstacle as it comes.
Crowded sidewalk ahead. It’s kind of like real-life pinball! Ricochet between each person, dodging carefully and seeing how quickly you can navigate. So fun! Bonus points for making it around those double-wide strollers.
Cars rapidly leaving driveways without looking. I love freaking drivers out. That might sound messed up, but I’m sorry (not sorry), if you aren’t taking the few seconds to look both ways before backing up to see if it’s clear, you deserve a little scare! So I patiently jog in place as close as possible to wear they could possibly have just flattened me to the pavement. As they continue to back up, they usually hit the brake super hard and give me a horrified “OH MY GOSH I’M SO SORRY” look. In return, I give them huge grin, a tip of my hat, and a wave as they depart. Thanks a lot for not killing me!
Huge puddle. There are three ways to handle the occasional flooded sidewalk or giant puddle. 1. Splash through it because you’re that hardcore. 2. Find a safe way around it to keep your socks from getting soaked (which could lead to blisters, chafing, and discomfort). 3. Do a little of both. Because you know you want to splash a bit. Let’s just not be excessive here.
Debris blocking the path. If it’s not too big, jumping over debris is super fun. All of the sudden I’m Mario and getting around the debris as quickly as possible (and in the coolest, most ninja-esque way) gets you bonus coins. Save the princess!
Construction. I’ve found the occasional “Sidewalk Closed” construction sign to cause me to channel my inner secret agent. What would Mr. Bond do in this situation? Probably dart down the adjacent street to scope out an alternative route like the BA he is. And then he would probably treat himself to martini post-run. Shaken, not stirred.
Biker on sidewalk. This is especially frustrating when there is a clear bike lane available. First of all, bikers, don’t be that guy. Second of all, see this as an opportunity to educate said bicyclist on the proper street etiquette by running in the bike lane as an example. “See! This is how you do it! This is where you should be. There’s plenty of room, and it’s totally not scary out here!”
Catcalls. And no, unfortunately I’m not referring to myself calling my cat for dinner when I fill up her bowl at night. This kind of catcalling is harassment, plain and simple. Catcalls range from terrifyingly aggressive to annoying and passive, and they are to be combated on a case by case basis. If you feel like you are in real danger, call 911. Don’t leave it to chance. But otherwise, consider alternative routes for your next run if this seems to keep happening. No matter what, though, remember that this is not your fault. You didn’t ask to be hollered at, and it’s a shame that this issue that could cause you to fear running. If it makes you feel safer, run with a friend or on a well-trafficked route.
Homeless man yelling obscenities. See this poor soul as a free trainer! Because seriously, have you ever run that fast?
Large dog on the loose with no sign of owner. The path you were taking was too boring anyways. Re-route! And quickly.
What other road running hazards to you face on your run, and how to you deal with your situation?