Category : General Safety
For some, running is more than just pounding pavement. It’s a journey – from the decision to go for that first jog to powering through in those early days to that moment when running becomes natural to you.
For many, running helps improve mental wellness. The rhythm of your feet hitting the ground combined with the fresh air can be the perfect remedy to clear your mind after a long day. And for those competitive types, running is training – training for local races, marathons, or even as part of a triathlon.
Regardless of your reasons, running becomes a passion. It’s easy to get lost in your music or your mind. But as with any situation where you are likely alone, you must always consider safety, surroundings, alertness, and defense techniques.
Although everyone’s safety can be at risk – regardless if you’re a man or a woman – as a female, you’re immediately a target for assault or even kidnapping. To help stay prepared and vigilant for potential dangers, follow along as we provide some practical tips to keep you safe, as well as some products that might prove beneficial to you in a potentially dire scenario.
Know the Rules of the Road
The most basic safety tips we can give are to know the rules of the road. Always run against traffic so you can see vehicles as they approach. This will help you react quickly to move out of the way if a vehicle is coming at you, where as if it’s approaching you from behind, your reaction time is greatly reduced. Additionally, always look both ways before crossing a road, obey any traffic signals, and ensure you make eye contact with the driver before you cross in front of a vehicle.
When you’re out for a run, it’s important for someone to be able to identify you should an accident occur. If you’re a victim of a hit and run, or perhaps become medically incapacitated to continue running, when someone stops to render aid, it’s important for him or her to be able to know who you are if you cannot voice that. You may think that your phone will be adequate enough. Some people wear it on a band around their arm to use as a listening device, but if you have a lock on your phone, the person assisting you won’t be able to determine who you are. Running with your driver’s license is a possibility, but not many running clothes offer a secure spot to hold it. Consider a wearable like a dog tag or ID bracelet that provides all of your pertinent information in one easy to find location.
Additionally, visibility is key when running. Wear clothing that helps make your presence known – be it neon colors or anything that has reflective capabilities. If you are running in the early morning hours or after dark, be sure to illuminate your run with some LED-lit clothing and gear.
Join a Running Group
To help train and stay accountable, consider joining a running group of other females who compete in similar races each year. Not only is this incredibly motivating, as everyone is working towards the same goals, it also helps keep you accountable to your training schedule. But most importantly, there’s safety in numbers because you’re all running together in a group.
If you’re training for a race, check out Facebook and Instagram to see if there are any running groups you can join. You never know whom you’ll meet and the friendships you’ll make just by making a decision to put safety first.
Create a Path and Share It
There is definitely a benefit to running alone. The solitude is comforting, especially if you’re an introverted personality. But for your safety, and to create a level of unpredictability for someone who may be watching for you, it’s wise to select a new running route each day.
A good rule of thumb is to drive the route with your vehicle first, making sure you’re staying on roads that are well-lit, that have sidewalks when possible, and that stick to residential areas versus remote ones.
Also, share your route with a spouse, parent or friend. Make sure they have a map of each route that you take, and then send a simple text or phone call letting them know which route you’re running that day. In the event of an emergency, someone will know the general vicinity in which you should be.
Trust Your Gut
You may find yourself running a path you’ve run numerous times before, but today something just doesn’t feel right. Maybe you notice a person watching you from the windows, or it seems that a vehicle that’s not normally parked on your route appears each time you run. Whatever the uneasy feeling is, trust it. Change direction, and consider changing this route entirely. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Your instinct and intuition can save your life.
Along with these basic tips for safety, there are a few products that you can carry during your run that will aid in self-defense should you find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. Preparedness is key, and thinking about the potential dangers in advance will help you react quickly utilizing your instincts.
If you start to feel uncomfortable during your run, or feel like someone may be following you, an alert whistle is a good tool to have. Continually blowing a whistle and drawing attention to yourself can fend off an attacker or potentially detract them from coming your way.
While you’ve mentally prepared for potential dangers, you might still find yourself in a situation you didn’t expect. Someone could step out in front of you and try to block your way. Should you need to defend yourself, pepper spray is an excellent self-defense tool.
One thing to note, pepper spray can be illegal in certain states, cities or locales. Make sure you check with your local law enforcement agency to understand what your parameters are.
Choose to Fight
While you might not think you’re capable, the adrenaline you feel in a potentially dangerous situation can help give you the advantage you need to fend off an attacker. Some women choose to carry a concealable baton, practicing and knowing how to use the baton before you run can be a tremendous advantage to you, and can help you take your attacker down quickly.