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Staying safe on the run

Posted Jun 21 2013 9:01am
Over the past few weeks there have been multiple attacks on women runners locally, I am pissed! I mean seriously can’t we even enjoy the summer weather and get outside without wondering who is lurking around the next corner or chasing behind us? I wonder if I am being stupid or naïve as I often run alone, I enjoy the time to think and lose myself in the world around me to de-stress as I soak in nature. But this should not be taking away from me or anyone! What can we do to stay safe out there?

Run with a dog
My large, black, furry running buddy is enough to cause others to cross the street and while I know he is gentle I have no doubt he would protect me and O if needed. I feel secure with him and don’t mind that others don’t. I also think dogs have the 6th sense and know who is good or bad, he has randomly growled at people (once or twice) and I wonder if he knew they weren’t great people.
A photo shoot with my Morgan a few years back to increase awareness of black dogs!

Run with others
Many running stores and gyms offer running groups for a cost but there are free options as well. I am involved in Moms Run This Town a free group open to moms, but heck we include anyone moms to humans or animals, future moms, someone who has a mom, etc! Groups are also a great way to meet running buddies and meet outside group runs.

Moms & Puppies!
No music
I see so many women running with music blaring! I admit I do run with music at times when I need that extra kick but I keep it low, I want to hear others around me and be aware. Not only are the other runners/walkers where I run, but also bikes passing and animals. I cross roads and need to know if cars are coming. If you are listening to music keep it low, but know that ear buds make you a better target (any distraction: texting, looking at your phone, etc).

Let someone know your route or connect through GPS
Go out with a plan and let someone know where you are headed and about how long to expect you gone. There are many phone apps that now allow for others to follow you, even run apps like Runtastic alow for sharing of your run, these are a great way to allow only specific people like a spouse to have access to your route.

Carry “protection”
I know many women run with pepper spray but another option is your keys in your hand. I have done this due to lack of pockets on short runs but pretty sure I couldn’t do more than 6 or 7 miles with stuff in my hands. Your protection may be a simple as your own arms and legs, use them and your voice! Show confidence; don’t walk or run looking timid or weak (may not be possible as you near mile 20 of a tough long run).
Also carry a phone and have an easily accessible emergency dial button. Many phones allow this to be on the main screen and you can push it without even unlocking or entering your passcode. Quick, easy call to “911” from a device that will tell the dispatchers your local thanks to GPS.

Stay in well lit, well traveled areas
I frequently run early morning but stay on main roads with street lights. During day hours I run paved park trails that can get rather secluded but I don’t think I have even gone more than 1 mile without seeing multiple people when the weather is nice. Make a point of acknowledging people, saying “hello” will make others remember you and it is just a nice way to support others out running, walking, biking.

Most important Follow your gut!
If something or someone doesn’t seem right than don’t go there. I have been out before and you just see someone and get that “yuck” feeling and who knows maybe it is completely wrong but why risk it. Discretely turn or go another direction, even step into a business if something is open.

Stay safe out there and enjoy the summer! Any other safety tips to add?

Happy Friday and Happy Summer J Any big weekend plans?
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