Before you run roads or trails know your route. Go with someone else that knows the trails or take a map with you. Last thing you want is a shorter run turning into a long run. If you don’t have someone to run with tell a friend or family member where you are going and for how long you plan to be gone. Have that person sync to your “Find iPhone” app on your mobile device so they can see where you are on a map (assuming you take your phone). There are other ways to do this through Strava and Garmin, but I think those drain your battery too quickly. Carry your phone with you and if you don’t have a protective case put it in a zip lock bag so it doesn’t get wet from sweat or rain. I don’t usually take a phone with me when I’m running on the roads, but I will when venturing onto trails. It’s nice to have to take pictures of wildlife or scenery from the trails, but it’s more about safety and being able to call for help if needed.
Beginners should first start on less challenging trails. Start slower than usual so you have more time to pay attention to your surroundings and choose your footing. Pick your feet up to avoid tripping and keep your eyes on the trails especially if there are lots of roots or rocks. As you get more comfortable then you may want to increase the speed or explore some more technical trails. Always pay attention to what’s ahead of you and the path you are going to take.
If running in the dark carry a headlamp or light to see and also have on some sort of reflective device to be more visible to traffic on the road. If running on the trails with low visibility, it’s crucial to have a light source so you can see the path and avoid getting injured from a fall or stepping wrong on something.
Know the weather before running and be prepared for extreme conditions or changes in weather. I’ve been caught in some pretty wild storms and also some large amounts of temperature changes and not had enough clothing. It doesn’t happen often but when it does it’s not fun.
When traveling to new areas I wear my Road ID bracelet which has important information and who to contact in case of an emergency.