Autumn and winter are beautiful times of the year to hit the trail and go on a run, with orange leaves and a crisp, fresh air. Not only are the views incredible at this time of year, but the sounds of your feet hitting a leafy ground or frosty grass is something else.
However, this time of year doesn’t come without its hazards. It can be extremely slippery, unpredictable terrain. With fallen leaves, branches and possible ice on the ground, there are far more slipping and tripping hazards as winter closes in. This is why you should carefully consider what you will do if you hit the dirt while you’re out on the trail. Of course, it’s not just for the winter months, this advice can be applied all year round.
As with anything, prevention is generally far better than having to deal with an injury. With a little foresight, careful planning and by watching your step, you will already go a long way to preventing an unwanted slip.
The next key thing you should consider is a medical kit. Now, nobody is expecting you to carry a full medical kit, prepared to perform an operation. However, carrying a mini first aid kit will allow you to treat scrapes and wounds effectively. Many people believe that a cell phone is enough, however it’s a bit tricky to stick a cell phone on an open wound.
What You Should Take
Some of the most common injuries and ailments on the trail include dehydration, sprains, cuts/grazes and even fractures. Although most of these could be prevented with some preparation, they can certainly be dealt with well if you’re willing to carry a little load.
At the very least, here’s what your first aid kit should contain:
- Size 1 ambulance dressing
- Size 2 ambulance dressing
- Sodium chloride for cleaning wounds
- Emergency aluminium blanket
- Triangular bandage
If You Hit the Dirt
If it happens and you take a nose dive on your run, it’s is important to stay calm and treat your injuries as best you can. Here’s what you should do:
- Stay calm and assess your injuries – don’t attempt to hop up immediately and think everything is fine. Take a moment to dust yourself of and assess yourself for any more serious injuries.
- If you realize you’ve done some serious damage, like a bad knock to the head or a possible fracture, call the emergency services. Attempt to cover yourself for warmth, while staying as still as possible.
- If it’s not as serious, you should treat any wounds by first using sodium chloride on the inside of the bandage and onto the wound to wash away any dirt. Then, apply the bandage to the wound directly with firm pressure. If it’s the hand or feet, leave toes and fingers clear so that you can check for blood flow.
- If you suspect a serious injury, stop yourself from moving around. Although this will be your first instinct, you should stay still so that you don’t make your injury any worse.
Although not every run you will want a partner with you, it’s a good idea to have one there on long runs in particular. If you choose not to take someone with you, you should leave your route with someone, so that you can be found if you get into any difficulty. This note should include the route you’ll take, as well as the time you leave and expected return time.