Friday Five : Stay safe, be smart

Good morning ! I am linking up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What, Mar at Mar on the Run for the Friday Five where the theme this week is of my choice.


I was in Istanbul this week for work and found time to run. It inspired today’s theme,  5 ways to stay safe and be smart while running in a new spot.


1. Know where you are going

Lookig at a map before you go out is the absolute minimum. I ask the hotel for one, and scrutinize the area on my phone. I don’t just look at the short radius around the hotel, but I see where the hotel is located compared to public transportation, maybe a tourist site, or a specific landmark. Do not get only a very macro view, you need a very detailed view. Especially in European cities with very confusing streets.

Screenshot_2015-09-09-21-41-39 Screenshot_2015-09-09-21-38-57



From a hotel in Moscow. Definitely not detailed enough !

Ask the hotel questions. Is it safe to go out ? Are there any areas to avoid ? Do they have a recommended running route ?

2. Be prepared for the unexpected

Take your phone with you and be sure it is charged !

Take money with you. You will never know if you need to buy water, or if you get lost and need money to get back.

Take the hotel’s address with you !


3. Know where you are leaving from

When you exit the hotel, look around and take your time to get situated. If you need to take a couple turns to get to your running route, take pictures. Of the hotel, of the street name, of a specific landmark. I recently took a picture of this bulletin board, knowing when I saw it on my way back I would have to turn left.


On my way back to the hotel I was a bit scared, hoping it wasn’t an electronic billboard that changed advertising !

4. Follow the crowds

Do you see other runners or bikers going in a specific direction ? Follow them.

Mothers with strollers ? Parks with kids ? Go in that direction.


5. Be attentive to your surroundings and time of day

Run without music. Be able to tune in with what is going on around you. Be attentive to things like dark areas (avoid !), shady looking characters (avoid avoid !). Night can fall fast and you don’t want to get lost in the dark. Andif you are running in Europe, not everyone speaks English, so you might not be able to ask for directions (and in some Asian countries, even fewer people speak English!)


Do you have any tips for running safely in an area you are unfamiliar with ?

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Comments: 14

  1. Kelli September 11, 2015 at 12:04 pm Reply

    Great tips! Very important, too. I try to use the buddy system when I’m traveling on business, although that resulted in me chasing a much faster co-worker through the parks in Bangkok because I was terrified of getting lost. I think I set a 5K PR That day!

    • Karen - French Inspiration September 11, 2015 at 10:09 pm Reply

      LOL ! Always hard running with someone who is not your pace but I would have done the same !

  2. Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy September 11, 2015 at 3:16 pm Reply

    Oh yes, taking the hotel address can be life saving!

    I got so lost coming back from a run in Miami once (and in Williamsburg, too); thankfully I saw a cop & had the hotel address. He actually didn’t know where it was, but he was able to point me in the right direction & I made my way back.
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…Friday Food Porn #10: Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?My Profile

    • Karen - French Inspiration September 11, 2015 at 10:10 pm Reply

      Luckily all turned out well !

  3. Tara @ Running 'N' Reading September 11, 2015 at 3:28 pm Reply

    These are great tips, Karen! I used to be very naive about running by myself, but over the years I’ve become much more aware of my surroundings and try to take precautions so that I do not put myself in a dangerous situation. Thanks for sharing these and I hope you have a great weekend!
    Tara @ Running ‘N’ Reading recently posted…Songs for your Fall Running PlaylistMy Profile

    • Karen - French Inspiration September 11, 2015 at 10:11 pm Reply

      Thank you ! I am a bit paranoid about running by myself in any new place or where there are few people. And women need to be even smarter.

  4. lacey@fairytalesandfitness September 11, 2015 at 4:54 pm Reply

    I used to travel for work all the time and I would stay in unfamiliar places. I would run but I never took my phone. I know, not too smart. I bet you had a great time in Istanbul!
    lacey@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…Fall Races on the East CoastMy Profile

    • Karen - French Inspiration September 11, 2015 at 10:13 pm Reply

      Just need to be sure the phone is charged !

  5. courtney @ eat pray run dc September 11, 2015 at 6:26 pm Reply

    yes. i travel a bit for work (used to travel more) and these are all great tips. one of my favorite hotel brands, kimpton, has preprinted running maps at each of their properties. i love it when hotels do that. i also recommend telling the bellman you are going for a run when you leave. that way, someone will be expecting you back at the hotel!
    courtney @ eat pray run dc recently posted…Five Stages of the Long RunMy Profile

    • Karen - French Inspiration September 11, 2015 at 10:15 pm Reply

      I was with a colleague this time and told her… but I often travel alone. Letting someone know where you are is definitely a great idea !

  6. Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner September 11, 2015 at 9:23 pm Reply

    Good tips! I also always run with my road id with emergency contact into. Hope you had a great trip
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    • Karen - French Inspiration September 11, 2015 at 10:15 pm Reply

      Very good idea also. Trip was good but short !

  7. Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home September 12, 2015 at 1:11 pm Reply

    This is great timing…I”m going to Seattle in 2 weeks with my sister and I’m planning on running there. I’ve already scoped out my running route. Seattle looks like a very confusing city, so the tips you’ve mentioned are a great reminder!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Book Club interview with Vanessa Runs: Daughters of DistanceMy Profile

    • Karen - French Inspiration September 12, 2015 at 2:20 pm Reply

      Oooh, running in Seattle, have fun ! I have never been.

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