Be Aware.

Since its inception in 2011, AfterShokz has been enhancing lives and changing the way people listen with its unique use of bone conduction technology. Through a suite of proprietary audio technologies and open-ear design, the company’s award-winning headphones deliver premium stereo sound and a promise of safety and comfort that is second to none. AfterShokz is committed to innovating unconventionally and making situational awareness a priority.

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5 SAFETY TIPS FOR BEGINNER RUNNERS

We’ve teamed up with Running Industry Association (RIA) to promote runner safety during National Running Safety Month! Whether running to add exercise to your daily routine or running 40+ miles a week to train for a marathon, safety should be top-of-mind for all runners. We’ve outlined some tips to help you feel safe and confident when you hit the pavement for your next run.

1. BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS

Wearing in-ear or over-the-ear headphones make it difficult for you to hear your surroundings, so it is best to avoid them, especially when running on roads with low lighting or high traffic and particularly in unknown areas. AfterShokz headphones have a unique open-ear design, so you can remain aware of your surroundings while enjoying your favorite songs. Our headphones use patented bone conduction technology to send mini vibrations through your cheekbones to your inner ear leaving your ears open to ambient sounds for maximum situational awareness and safety.

2. KNOW WHERE YOU’RE RUNNING

A good strategy for new and seasoned runners alike is to have your intended route in mind before beginning your run. Nothing kills runner’s high faster than realizing you have no idea how to get back. You may also want to consider selecting routes in more populated sections of the community, especially if you’re new to running or are unfamiliar with the area. Should a problem arise like a twisted ankle or depleted phone battery, there’s plenty of people around who can help. By planning your routes ahead of time, you also have the advantage of calculating your distance and letting a friend or family member know the route you’re taking.

3. RUN WITH YOUR PHONE

Running with your phone may feel like extra baggage, but it can be your lifeline, so it’s essential to have it on you at all times. It’s likely that you’ll never need it, but it’s better to have and not need, than need and not have. If you’re going for a run to disconnect and clear your mind, then turn on the “do not disturb” feature to avoid those pesky vibrations and notifications.

4. WEAR BRIGHT, REFLECTIVE GEAR

Be sure to make yourself as visible as possible to others – especially if you’re going for an early morning or late night run. This is important when hitting the roads so cars can see you and when trail runnings in case you find yourself somehow separated from the path. Many fitness brands keep this safety tip in mind when designing apparel, so it’s easy to find clothing, sneakers, headbands, and caps with neon hues, reflective strips, and LED lights so you can’t be missed.

5. CARRY IDENTIFICATION

If you’re only going to carry one thing, make it your identification. While you’ll probably never find yourself in a situation where you need it, it’s always good to have it available. While rare, medical emergencies can happen, even if you’re the picture of perfect health. If you don’t want to bring your driver’s license with you on every run, explore other options – there are ways around it! You can buy shoelace tags, wristbands, or even download an app on your smartphone. Carrying identification and medical details can save your life.

TRAINING AND RACING AT NIGHT FOR YOUR NEXT RELAY

Nighttime running can be one of the most exciting parts of a relay experience – it feels foreign and provides an entirely different sensory experience. That unfamiliar experience is also what makes it one of the most challenging segments. As you train for your next relay, we wanted to put together a few tips to ensure you are fully prepared to have an incredible overnight run!

GET THE RIGHT VISIBLE GEAR

One of, if not THE most important thing for running in the dark is to get gear that allows you to see and be seen! Here’s a list of gear we recommend (and most relay races REQUIRE) for safety while running at night!

Light – This one should be obvious. You need to see where you’re going, right? There are a ton of great lights on the market, and they each have their benefits. It’s essential that you find something that’s lightweight and comfortable while being bright enough to safely light up the trail. We recommend looking for anything over 200 lumens to ensure the trail is adequately lit for the first-time night runner!

Blinking Lights – If you’re lighting up the front of you, what will help people see you from behind? Blinking lights, of course! There are a ton of different options, from magnetic lights that clip to your waistband, to shoe lights and slap bracelets that blink. All of these options will make you more visible from every direction. Bonus: you can have a TON of fun with all the different color options, so feel free to light yourself up like the Vegas Strip!

Reflective Vest – A good reflective vest can be worth its weight in gold, and it’s a hard requirement in any relay race. There’s a reason you see every road worker on the planet wearing these things; they make you easy to see without having to rely on batteries to last all night. There are plenty of styles and fits to peruse. Find one that fits you well and feels like you could run in it for miles!

Batteries – This might be the most often overlooked piece of gear for nighttime running. Have you checked the batteries in your headlight lately? What about your blinky shoe lights? Well, keep some on hand, because if you can’t remember when you last changed them, we highly recommended that you swap them out for something you know will last. And, if you’re running for several hours, we recommend you throw additional batteries in your pack or running belt. Being alone at night without any lights is a recipe for disaster.

TRAIN SAFELY FOR THE DARK 

So, you’re not just going to buy all that fancy new gear and then try it out for the first time on relay weekend, right? RIGHT?! Okay good.  We have a few training tips to make you a nighttime running pro!

Train at Night – Running during the night is a different animal than running during the day. Especially if you’re running on any dirt or rocky trail, the shadows from your light will do weird things that only training will help you learn. Getting comfortable running at night is something that only happens with experience, so get out there and try it a few times before race weekend.

Listen – Mother Nature gave us some pretty darn good alarm systems, so make sure you keep your ears free and open to the sounds around you. Run with a pair of AfterShokz (we recommend Air – our lightest, most comfortable model with the longest battery life). These open-ear headphones allow you to hear everything around you, while also listening to your tunes, podcasts, and audiobooks.

Wear Your Gear – The night time running gear you just purchased is not very useful if you’re not wearing it. Even if you’re only going around the block at night, put it all on and get familiar with how it all works. You’ll be safer, and will get your money’s worth out of your new stuff!

Go Slow – The first few times you run at night, go slow. Make sure you’re taking time to see everything, and that you’re not stepping on anything dangerous. Play with your light, adjust it, and figure out where you like the beam focused. If you try to run too fast the first time running with a light, you could hurt yourself fairly easily, so slow down and practice safe running!

What do you think about our list of gear for new relay runners? Did we miss anything you think should be a must carry in the team van? Let us know! Tag us in your posts on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram!

So what benefits do bone conduction headphones offer?

#1 Increased Situational Awareness

This is a big one!

Immersing yourself in the latest playlist or compelling audiobook is a great escape when walking, running, cycling or driving, but it’s a habit that greatly increases the risk of an accident; closing yourself off to the outside world also closes you off to trains, horns, and hollers.

According to a 2012 study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, 70 percent of these accidents resulted in death.

With bone conduction headphones, there are no speakers going over or into your ears, depleting your senses. Instead, the transducers sit on your cheekbones directly in front of your ears, leaving your ears completely open to your surroundings.

If you’re out for a jog, you can hear another jogger approaching behind you. If you’re cycling around town, you’re aware of the dog that broke from its leash. If you’re in construction, you can enjoy your music while still being alert to hazards. If you’re working in a cubicle, you remain connected to the office environment and approachable to your colleagues.

#2 More Comfortable Fit

Do your earbuds fall out? Do your ear canals hurt? Are full-size headphones too heavy for your morning run? Speakers getting all up in your earrings’ business?

Let’s face it – most headphones don’t get their reputation for being comfortable. Few things are more annoying than running on a treadmill with your right earbud dangling by the wire because you’re actually working up a sweat and the darn things won’t stay in.

Bone conduction headphones do away with the drama by leaving your ears out of the equation. For many individuals, it’s a whole lot more comfortable.

#3 A Unique Listening Experience

Jamming out to your favorite tunes through your cochleas, while still enjoying the sounds of the outside world through your eardrums, is a unique, double-layered listening experience that’s unlike any other. It’s almost like having a super power. It’s something you’ll just have to see – or hear – to believe.

Ready to give bone conduction headphones a try?