What to carry on the run.
Its very rare for me to head out for a run without carrying something. Even in the best weather I take my grab bag with some basic emergency stuff. I've been laughed at for this but wanted to put something together to encourage people to think about what they ought to be carrying when out running.
It could be that, after thought, the conclusion is that you don't need to carry anything but making an informed decision not to carry anything is very different from setting out without anything due to thoughtlessness.
One must consider route, weather and potential emergency situations.
For example take a broken leg. If I think I might break my leg and need to be able to deal with it them I need to think about taking trekking poles, pain killers, possibly bandages and more. Personally I don't carry stuff I'd need to deal with a broken leg because I believe its unlikely enough to not worry about. But I have thought about it.
The situation I do want to be prepared for is my pace dropping. There are lots of reasons this might happen and it's potentially dangerous because if you're wearing enough for a given pace and you end up moving slower then you'll get cold. So I want to carry things to make myself safe should that happen.
One way to make this situation safe is to get my pace back up so I'm thinking about why I might slow down and what I can do about it. One cause would be bonking, so I always take glucose tablets in the hope that I could get some quick calories and get my pace back up. Another cause might be cramp so I always take salt in the hope that some quick salt would sort the cramp and get me running again. Another cause would be shoe failure. This has happened to me and although it didn't slow me down next time it might so now I take a small roll of duct tape.
Next I want to think about what would happen if I couldn't get my speed back up for example if I'd rolled an ankle. If that were to happen then I'd be walking and it's cold that is the danger. Depending on conditions it doesn't take long to get cold in lightweight, and potentially wet, running gear. I think how far I'd need to walk and plan my carry accordingly. So if I go for a run in the woods I could be up to two miles from my house or the nearest pick up point so I need to have enough stuff to keep me warm for the time it would take to walk that distance. What to take depends on weather. In summer just a space blanket might be the best option (I tend to carry one all the time anyway) but if it was dawn or dusk maybe a long sleeve base layer might be needed. As it gets colder a mid layer, extra windproof or waterproof might be necessary.
I've put together a grab bag with glucose tabs, salt tabs, duct tape, space blanket, cash, and vaseline which I always take with me. I also always carry my phone. Then I carry extra clothing to fit the conditions.
Here's an example of when I got it wrong. Last year I ran to work one Friday morning as I often do. It was -6c I was wearing two base layers and a windproof and had with me a fleece vest as my emergency layer. I set off and put on the fleece thinking I'd take it off when I got up to temperature. I never got warm enough to take it off. I considered that a fail and whilst running was genuinely worring about the fact that I had no extra warmth with me.