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Training to Trot

Tips to Stay Safe Exercising in the Dark

By Amy Morgan


Get your Thanksgiving off to a healthy start at Bulverde’s Third Annual Turkey Trot, conveniently located just up the road in Bulverde Community Park. The fun starts at 7:45 a.m. with a kids’ race around the perimeter. Adults run an out-and-back course beginning at 8 a.m. Participants will earn Thanksgiving-themed medals and t-shirts. You can find more details about prizes and the costume contest at


Besides helping you work up an appetite for your feast, the Bulverde Turkey Trot has raised more than $40,000 to support the Health, Innovation and Sciences (HIS) Centre, the non-profit arm of the Bulverde/Spring Branch Emergency Services Division. HIS Centre provides enhanced community health programs, Wellness on Wheels and training for first responders.


Not only is Physicians Premier freestanding emergency room a repeat sponsor of the event, several staff members, including Regional Marketing Director Jennifer Meachum, look forward to walking the 5K route every year.


As you train for the big race, you may notice you’re running out of daylight. Daylight saving time has ended, and days are getting shorter. When streets are dark, it’s important you stay visible to other pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers to remain out of harm’s way.


Physicians Premier Medical Director Zack Baum, M.D., reminds you to keep alert and pay attention to your surroundings. Consider leaving your earbuds at home so you can listen for cars. Always walk or run against traffic so you can see what’s coming.

“Unfortunately, all too often, people are struck when walking or running,” Dr. Baum said. He’s seen everything from scratches and bruises to fatalities, and everything in between, during his 11 years as an emergency room doctor. 


Consider your route. Can you switch to a well-lighted park instead of the street?  At the very least, select a well-lit area with sidewalks. Invest in some bright, reflective gear – a hat, socks, or a vest, so you’ll show up in the headlights of an oncoming car.


Carry a flashlight or wear a headlamp. Others will be able to see you, and it will provide a light for your path. Headlamps are a good investment for runners, as most organized night runs require them. And since Far North San Antonio is full of wildlife, a light will help you look out for deer, foxes, racoons or the occasional coyote that might wander close.


Dr. Baum, an avid runner himself, offers a few more training tips as you increase your mileage. “Stretching is key,” he said. “Make sure you warm up and cool down, and don’t try to do too much too fast.” If you do sustain an injury like shin splints or a stress fracture, he admonishes overeager athletes to take adequate time to rest and heal.


And don’t forget about hydration. Even though the calendar has turned to fall, South Texas is still experiencing high temperatures and humidity, putting exercisers at risk for dehydration. Dr. Baum reported he treated more people for dehydration in October than throughout the entire summer —despite record heat!


Take a few precautions as you train, and you’ll be ready Thanksgiving morning to trot off those calories in advance.

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