What to do if Someone Gets Injured on a Training Run
Every runner feels invincible. The longer you have been running the wiser you feel. Short of the occasional oblivious driver and the random dog that can come out of nowhere you are pretty bulletproof. Or so you think. The truth is that accidents can happen at any time to anyone. This is why when you are running having a buddy to log miles with is important and why telling someone where you are going and how long you will be gone is essential. The reality is that you can get hurt at any point during a training run and so can your running buddies. What do you do when someone gets hurt on a training run?
In this day and age being completely disconnected is unheard of, between the ease of carrying your phone and/or smartwatch, the world is never far away. Being disconnected is great, but it’s not always smart. You can hit the Do Not Disturb function on your phone to reap the benefits of being disconnected without taking the chance.
Everyone in your running group hates carrying a phone? Alternate who carries the phone. It’s safe and fair. And have the phone carrying runner remove their lock function or share their code. The phone is useless if the person carrying the phone gets hurt. Even running in an urban area the closest phone, open shop or police station could be a mile away and often in the emergency situations every minute counts.
It’s also not a bad idea, no matter how annoying to some, to always carry water. Distance and temperature shouldn’t determine when a runner carries water, though it often does. Sometimes a little water can go a long way in an emergency situation or in preventing one. Having an awareness of your routes is also helpful. Know the locations of bathrooms, street names and other helpful landmarks along the way.
Know Your Basics
Order of events is crucial when someone gets injured. First things first, make sure everyone is out of harm’s way. Make sure that no one is laying, standing or sitting in the middle of the road or another equally dangerous spot like a blind curve on a trail with bikers.
Next, assess the situation. Does an ambulance need to be called or is basic First Aid all that is required? Anytime that an injured party is not making sense or incoherent, bleeding profusely, unable to speak, passed out or when a bone is visible professional help is required, regardless of protests by the injured. After professionals have been called, or in the event no one was wise enough to bring their phone and someone has gone to get help, try to stop any bleeding with pressure, distract the individual and remain calm. Once the professionals have appeared call the injured party’s in-case-of-emergency contact. It’s not a bad idea for everyone to brush up and remain up-to-date on CPR and First Aid. It’s nice to be certified but not necessary to be of assistance.
Assuming the injury requires only First Aid the kindest thing you can do is assist but not hover. Often when someone has a minor injury on a run it’s the ego that’s bruised hardest. Offer some water to clear out dirt or blood from a wound and take a seat with the injured party. Don’t stand over them and pace around waiting to get back to the run. Most runners with minor injuries like a fall that scruffs up a knee will continue a run. Pull the pace back a bit and monitor your friend. If something looks off, speak up. Some runners will choose to end the run. Do not send them back to their car, house or wherever they are headed alone.
As with all things in life, you are responsible for yourself and your body. The single item any runner should own is a form of easy identification. The great thing is that there are multiple options like ID tags for your shoe or a bracelet. It is your responsibility to have that on your person; no excuses.
Even if you are coherent the adrenaline and stress of a situation can fog even the most level of heads and reciting your in-case-of-emergency person’s phone number might not be as easy you’d think. If things are on a level where you are not able to speak you can imagine why your basic information, including any allergies, can help your friends and paramedics.
In addition, it is your responsibility to be intelligent about how you are feeling. If you begin to get cold, light-headed, dizzy or any other abnormal feeling you need to tell your running buddy and, whether alone or with a group, stop running. If you are in a situation where you to need to get off your feet it’s best you make that choice than to fall and cause bigger problems.
It’s a fact of life. A few friends (or even yourself) over the course of your running career are going to get injured. Most will be minor injuries but on the rare occasion, it might be a serious injury. Being prepared and aware is the best way to get thorough a potentially bad and scary situation in the best way possible.