Danger can come in all shapes and sizes. From choppy water to wet roads, to stranger danger, there can be plenty of ‘threats’ when out training. As women, we do need to be careful of the latter, unfortunately. But, instead of frightening you with stats of falls or attacks, we want to empower you with tips to stay safe and get the training done.
Here are our top 10 tips to stay safe when out swimming, cycling or running.
1. Think like a pilot
Before a pilot takes flight, not only will they plan their route but log their search and rescue time (SAR time) either with a person (this could be a friend or partner) or on the government’s aviation network. If the pilot does not return and notify their designated person or log their return, it triggers an attempt to contact the pilot (they might have forgotten to log their SAR time). Failing that, a rescue could be initiated.
When heading out for a swim, bike or run this is a fantastic rule to follow yourself. Tell someone, a friend/your partner for example and give them your SAR time. If you don’t return or contact them 30 minutes after that time, they should try contacting you. Failing that, they can start the search for you. The 30-minute window allows for those days when you’re not feeling your run and need to walk without raising alarm for no reason.
2. Tell people where you’re going
Continuing in a pilot’s mindset, tell your designated person your ‘flight plan’ (route). This way if something does go wrong, they know where to look for you. Garmin Connect has a live track feature so your designated person can check in and see where you’re at and even be alerted when you hit certain points. Learn more about this feature here.
3. Turn all the lights on
When it comes to safety, being seen is highly important. If swimming, wear a bright coloured cap such as yellow or orange and use an inflatable swim buoy. The swim buoy will not only increase your visibility but if you get tired to provide you with something to hang on to and float until you regain your strength.
Bike lights are essential for cycling. Even on busy roads in daylight, blinking lights will draw attention to you and make other motorists aware of you. Go for strong blinking lights on the front and back, making sure you put the red lights on the rear of your bike.
You might think you don’t need lights when running but, if you’re crossing roads or hitting the park or trails headlights are fantastic. There are plenty out on the market as many trail runners use these even on regular runs should they get stuck. Extra tip, headlights are great to have with you when setting up transition for race day – so a great tool to add to your kit!
4. Listen up
Listening to music may keep your pace going but it can be a distraction and means you won’t be as alert to what’s going on around you. If you can avoid wearing headphones altogether, that’s your best option. However, if you need the beats, try only using one headphone so you can at least tune in to what’s happening.
5. Don’t go alone
Let’s be honest, training with a friend or group is always more fun. It’s also safer! Try your best to always train with at least one other person especially when swimming in open water, completing long rides or runs and when training in the dark.
6. Don’t post in real time
If it’s not on social media, did it even happen? Yes, but not in real time. Avoid posting your training in real time on social media. It can draw unwanted attention to where you are. Instead, record and save your videos and photos and post them after your training is complete. It will also let you edit your content a little and avoid posting awkward shots 😉
7.Mix it up
While we recommend using well-known routes when training alone, try to mix up which route you do and which days you do them. Being predictable makes you an easy target for unwanted attention. You might not think people are paying attention to your routes, but you never know, and posting them on social media increases the likelihood.
It can take a split second to hit a pothole and go butt over handlebars. A good samaritan may come to your rescue but without an ID or road ID band, it can be difficult to help you. A road ID band is perfect for triathlon training. Made from silicon or rubber the band is a bracelet which you add an ID tag on. You can add your name and in case of emergency contacts on there should you need help or (god forbid) need to visit the hospital. Some brands even produce the tags alone which can be added to your Apple watch or Garmin strap.
9. Bring your phone
As we mentioned, danger comes in all shapes and sizes and your phone is your key to get help. From a flat tyre to a stack, a single phone call can get you a lift home or a ride in an ambulance – always bring your phone!
10. The best offense is a good defense
Didn’t think you’d hear that when talking about triathlon huh? Well, it’s true. If you can attend a self-defense class you’ll be armed with some basic techniques to defend yourself if you should find yourself in real stranger danger. A quick google search should put you in touch with your local karate or boxing club and you might be lucky to find some that specialise in defence for runners.