How often does your track or cross-country team have practice runs on the road? And how often are you on roads with hardly any shoulder and no sidewalks? What do you and your team do to be seen and safe? These are all great questions you should think about as a coach, team member, parent, friend, or really anyone that walks the sides of the road.
Unsafe Road Running
Speaking from personal experience, it’s hard for a team to stay on school property or sidewalks. I ran track and cross country in high school and college. If the team is running a couple miles every day they want to see change in their route. Repetition is boring and most likely will not keep the team motivated.
I have done my fair share of running on unsafe roads with no shoulder during practice. In college we use to run over to the baseball field and corn fields where our cross country course was. To get there we had to run about 2.5 miles one way; once we crossed the bridge to get over the Susquehanna river there were no more sidewalks or shoulders. Instead there was a thin, winding country road offering very little to no visibility.
These types of situations are bound to lead to disaster eventually. Oftentimes, drivers are in their own heads not paying close enough attention which leads to an accident. By having the proper uniform that is much more likely to grab the drivers attention we can help prevent these unfortunate accidents.
Ugly Team Uniforms
Back when I was in school I wish that my cross country team had some cool reflective apparel made available to us. What we did purchase were the ugliest pair of running tights I had ever seen in my life. They were overpriced, thin, and horribly ugly! Some of the team even refused to wear the tights when we were all trying to match as a team because of how ugly they were.
Why weren’t we offered comfortable black tights with our team’s name down the leg in reflective. I would have killed for a pair of reflective running tights instead of these... Below are the actual tights, in my opinion the view from the front was the worst.
Practical, Useful Uniforms
There needs to be practical options for uniforms and additional team apparel. I bet when my team was searching for matching tights that neither reflective tights or any reflective running apparel even came up as an option for them.
In high school and college we designed a shirt to purchase as a team every year. The shirts were always a bit pricey and were made of cotton. It would have been a nice option to have designed a reflective running t-shirt made of polyester instead. Then it would have served three purposes, team shirt, moisture wicking, and reflective for safety. I still have my cotton t-shirts, in fact I’m wearing one right now from high school under my hoodie. They’re nice but I wish I had some college and high school team apparel that I actually used during my runs.
Dress For Success
It’s nice to have matching team uniforms for; traveling on the way there, during the race, and on the way home. While appearance isn’t everything it sure counts for something whether you want it to or not. A matching team can make your athletes look and feel like one unified team, it sends a message.
People might judge a team by their uniforms and have higher expectations of a well-dressed team. More importantly though, when your team is out running the roads for practice reflectivity can make a huge difference in visibility and safety. Nobody wants to see anyone let alone a teammate get injured, so why not take the extra step and invest in safety.
Visibility is important to us here at RUSEEN Reflective Apparel, as we are all runners and bikers. We want schools and teams to know that there are options to make your uniforms reflective and keep your team safer. So please help us spread the word about the importance of being seen while running. Be safe, be seen, and keep on running!