Whether it's as part of a high school track program or cross-country team or a way to get in shape, running is a wonderful sport. It's great exercise, almost anyone can do it, and all you really need to get started is a good pair of sneakers. These tips can help you run safely. Safe Running Gear Shoes It's best to get fitted for running shoes by a trained professional. They can help runners get shoes that: fit well have good support with a thick, shock absorbing-sole Minimalist shoes are becoming popular, but there's no evidence that they're better than regular running shoes. Socks Running socks come in a variety of materials, thicknesses, and sizes. Avoid socks made from 100% cotton. When cotton gets wet, it stays wet, leading to blisters in the summer and cold feet in the winter. Instead, buy socks made from wool or synthetic materials such as polyester and acrylic. Safe Training and Running To prevent injuries while training or running: Get a sports physical before starting running. Train sensibly, by increasing distances and speed slowly. Warm up and stretch before running. Dynamic stretching is the best kind of stretching before a run or workout. Stop running if you get hurt or feel pain. Get checked by an athletic trainer, coach, doctor, or nurse before going back to running. Safety While Running Outdoors It's important to stay alert while running outdoors. Don't wear headphones or earbuds or anything else that might make you less aware of your surroundings. Staying safe while running involves the same common sense used to stay safe anywhere else, like avoiding parked cars and dark areas, and taking note of who is behind you and ahead of you. Runners should carry a few essentials, such as: a form of identification a cellphone a whistle to blow to attract attention if you're hurt or in a situation where you don't feel safe Other safety tips: Run during daylight hours, if possible. For nighttime running, avoid dimly lit areas and wear bright and/or reflective clothes. Stay on the sidewalk or shoulder of a road, if possible. Run facing oncoming cars. Always yield to vehicles at intersections. Don't assume that cars will stop for you. Obey all traffic rules and signals. Only run through neighborhoods and parks and on trails known to be safe. It's always best to run with a friend, if possible. Dress for the weather. In cold weather, wear layers of sweat-wicking fabric, a hat, and gloves. On hot days, bring extra water and wear light-colored clothing and a hat. Stop running if you feel faint or sick in any way. Back to Articles Related Articles Sports and Exercise Safety Playing hard doesn't have to mean getting hurt. The best way to ensure a long and injury-free athletic career is to play it safe from the start. Find out how. Read More Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner's Knee) Patellofemoral pain syndrome (or runner's knee) is the most common overuse injury among runners, but it can also happen to other athletes who do activities that require a lot of knee bending. Read More Hamstring Strain A hamstring strain happens when one or more of the muscles in the back of the leg gets stretched too far and starts to tear. Find out how to treat hamstring strains in this article for teens. Read More Ankle Sprains A sprained ankle is a very common injury that happens when the ligaments that support the ankle get overly stretched or torn. Find out how to avoid ankle sprains and what to do if you get one. Read More Achilles Tendonitis If the tendon just above your heel becomes swollen or irritated due to overuse, it can lead to a painful condition called Achilles tendonitis. Find out how to treat it - and prevent it. Read More 5 Ways to Prepare for Your Sports Season How can you get ready to play your best season ever? Read these tips for teen athletes. Read More Choosing the Right Sport for You If you're having trouble choosing a sport, this article can help! Read More A Guide to Eating for Sports You've prepared for the game in almost every way possible: but now what should you eat? Read about performance foods, nutritional supplements, and more. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.