August 29, 2010

Doug Hawley: Stylish is fine, but stay safe training

— Something can be said for stylish running shirts, but looking good should not surpass safety as you prepare for the first national Dalton Half Marathon, scheduled for Oct. 16. Many area runners appear in the darkness of almost any early morning wearing these name-brand shirts.

Unfortunately, they are dark, making the people wearing them difficult to see. Running into somebody on a narrow sidewalk can happen under this circumstance. However, the real danger involves vehicles.

Even such darkly-clad runners going just a few yards across an intersection can be in peril.

Motorists turning might not even see them.

Logic says to wear a white or light top. These shirts also can be stylish. If you simply abhor wearing the lighter color, do yourself a favor. Purchase an inexpensive orange-yellow reflective vest, similar to what people doing construction work wear.

It is better to be safe than sorry. Along similar lines of safety, runners logically are better off without wearing earphones. It creates some unneeded distraction.

Usually the runner with the earpieces is by himself or herself. There seems the need to be entertained or overcome boredom.

If wearing earphones while running with a group, that does not say much for the associates who normally talk. You not only are less aware of vehicles, but the creepy characters who reside in our society. They stand ready to pounce upon some inattentive runners.

Earphone wearers also rarely will earn The Friendly Awards from approaching runners who provide good morning cheer and hear nothing in return because they do not even hear them.

n TRAINING REGIMEN?: Dalton High's original proposal giving students three minutes to change classes — even from one end of the building to the other — sounded like a speed workout to me. Do it enough times during the day, and you could call it interval training.

Granted, we older runners would have problems without bathroom breaks.

This is the 10th in a 16-part series of instructional columns in advance of the first national Dalton Half Marathon on Oct. 16. Doug Hawley, a competitive distance runner for more than 50 years, finished in the top 10 percent of five Boston Marathons between 1976 and 1981. You can write to him at