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Welcome to our flight filled with great expectations to your next exciting Running Destination! This is your captain speaking and today we will analyze and checkoff our preflight running checklist to make sure we are fully prepared and ready to RRRRRRUN! Please fasten your shoelaces securely and make sure you have your keys before you leave your home. Please stow all your running gear below the seat in one tiny overstuffed drop bag. Watch out during your running flight: some running gear may shift and you may have to adjust accordingly. Sound familiar?

Lately, I have encountered some issues when running of forgetting certain things prior to leaving on the run. It became apparent today that I should write about this when I returned home after running with the dog on snow and ice only to discover that one of my shoes was untied (that’s why it felt so loose while running). Fortunately, the Yaktrax were still fastened. I kept checking during the run, suspecting the Yaktrax were loose (i.e., that the velcro was unfastened). But the velcro was secure. Also, today I realized after leaving the house that I had forgotten to grab a doggie doo-doo (poop) bag. My Yaktrax were already on. So I carefully sneaked back inside to grab the doggie bag. Within the past week, I have also found myself outside with the dog on the leash ready to run and NO GARMIN WATCH! On that occasion, I did take off the Yaktrax, retrieve the Garmin, put the Yaktrax back on, sort of an organizational hassle to do have to take these extra steps. So it seemed appropriate to develop a pre-flight running checklist similar to what a pilot does before flying a plane. And if that plane is not ready to fly or in good enough condition to fly, it doesn’t take off at that time. Similarly, if we are not prepared to run taking steps to be safe and simple things to remember like our house keys and ID, we should not leave home without them.

So I asked myself, what items or steps do I take before leaving home on the run. To paraphrase the famous American Express commercial: Don’t leave home without…WHAT? If we can be more mindful of taking the correct precautions, we can be more careful and avoid injuries, emergencies, inconveniences, and other problems.

So here is my preliminary Preflight Running Checklist of what I cannot/will not run without these ten items:

1. Remembering my house keys (my wife will appreciate this one, we’ve both locked ourselves out before). It’s especially tough to be locked outside the house with the dog when she is thirsty/hungry. I’ve called my wife a few times to have her let us back in. Once, I ran 10 miles to her workplace to pick keys up and 10 miles back home. But I can’t do a 20 mile run with a puppy. Maybe leaving spare keys with the neighbors just in case is a good backup solution.

2. Tying my shoelaces and making sure they are double-tied without being tied too tightly which can restrict your blood flow/circulation. Sometimes in my haste to go run (or our dog’s haste to run, chase rabbits, and/or find a place to take care of business) I forget to tie one of my shoes or I don’t tie them well enough to stay fastened. Certain running shoes seem to come untied more often (replace laces and/or shoes if this happens) so they may not be as safe. Maybe it has to do with the lace design or normal wear-and-tear. But I think the velcro strip on the Yaktrax may unfasten shoelaces if we are not careful in how we secure them. Maybe that is what untied my shoe today.

3. Asthma albuterol inhaler. I usually don’t need it during my runs but should have it with me at all times just in case. I frequently pre-treat with a few puffs of albuterol before I run just to be safe, especially if it is cold or high pollen counts, etc. By the way, if asthmatics are more careful about eating whole food nutrition, we are less reliant upon our medicine. I’m living proof of that.

4. My iPhone. After falling last March in the dark without a headlamp, I realized that I should have had my phone with me in case of an emergency like that to have my wife and/or someone else pick me up instead of getting up and running after hitting the pavement. Make sure your phone is charged too and be aware that cold can affect and shorten battery life in winter conditions (phones can overheat and shut off, too: at least iPhones do).

5. Road ID: Try to wear some type of identifying information, especially if you have a medical condition like asthma (my road ID says “asthma” on it so they know). Think of it as an In Case of Emergency precaution.

6. Light snack: Any light snack (protein bar of your choice) just in case you get hungry or stranded somewhere while running.

7. Hydration: Dehydration happens year-round and we need to take adequate precautions that we are not dehydrated while also ensuring that we don’t drink too much water on the run.

8. Headlamp: After falling without a headlamp last year, I have been wearing my headlamp a lot more. I use a Petzl Tikka R+ headlamp that illuminates using white, red, and blinking red light depending on which you select. I have to remember to charge it (look for yellow light on the Petzl instead of green on the side, that means charge it).

9. Glasses: As someone who wears bifocals, my ability to see is very important. So I have Rx sunglasses for running as well as lightweight Rx glasses I can wear in the morning if it is too dark to wear shades. With the dog pulling me on the leash, it’s easy to hit low-lying branches (deflect them with your arms to stay safe).

10. For winter, I must wear my Yaktrax. It’s not safe not to if there is snow and ice and I am working closely with my dog with commands like: ICE, ICY, SLOW DOWN! Misty (our English setter puppy) is beginning to understand and obey. Thank goodness!

So I hope you have enjoyed the preliminary Preflight Running Checklist. Feel free to modify it for your purposes, medical conditions, etc. I will write a separate Pre-Race Running Checklist later in the week as race day is a little different routine.

Enjoy this Periscope to explain more about the Preflight Running Checklist and what prompted it! Happy Running Run Crew!