This is a dangerous world, especially for female runners. But safety tips for runners is crucial for everyone. It’s important to stay safe and take precautions, not because you can’t defend yourself, but because you might need to. That’s why we are providing you some safety tips for runners and encourage them to be more cautious and prepared.
According to a survey conducted by Runner’s World, more than 43% of women reported that they were harassed while running. The younger the runner, the more frequent the harassment, with 58% of females under the age of 30 reporting harassment. Another shocking statistic according to a UNIFEM report, states that one in three American women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime.
It’s not all rapists and murderers you need to be concerned about, either. In some places, there are predators around who can and will jump you and try to have you for lunch. So, what’s a runner to do? Here are safety tips for runners to consider.
Don’t run alone
Two people are harder to take on than one, and attackers are usually cowards at heart. When someone looks like she’s too tough of a target, they won’t take the chance. If you don’t have a person you can run with, then run with a dog. Or, if you don’t own a dog, many animal shelters will let you borrow one for a few hours. It’s good for the dog, and it keeps you safer. (Of course, when you’re looking for a dog to accompany you, try to make sure it’s not a toy breed.)
Run With Personal Safety Devices
Carry pepper spray or mace. There are some places that are just more filled with potential danger than others. For instance, running through a wooded area where there are lots of hiding places for wildlife or criminally-minded humans. So make sure you run with a can of pepper spray or mace in your pocket to ward off danger.
Other good safety device to carry is one that makes loud alarm or siren sounds. And of course don't forget to scream as loud as possible if you get into trouble. You can wear them on your wrist like a watch, and some of them even send signals to designated people if you need help.
Lose the earbuds
Running is much more enjoyable with music or a podcast to listen to. That being said, there are certain times when you absolutely should not have earbuds or headphones blocking your hearing.
The times when you shouldn’t wear earbuds are when you are running:
- Alone at night
- On a street or bike path with no shoulder (you won’t hear a bicyclist, a car or another runner approaching, which could lead to collisions)
- Near a golf course (you won’t hear golfers yelling “Fore!” to warn you of an incoming golf ball)
- Anytime cars, dogs or attackers might be a danger
Run against the flow of traffic
You’ll be able to see cars coming, and it’ll be harder for vehicles to sneak up on you. This is especially important if you run when it’s dark, at dusk or in the very early morning.
Go ahead and run at night but be cautious. Another useful safety tips for runners, is to wear headlamps and light, reflective clothing. Stay on roads you know and avoid trails. Carry your phone with you so you can call for help or look like you have someone who will come and help you if you need it. Always tell someone where you’re going, when you’re leaving, and when you’ll be back.
Don’t be predictable
Even if you are equipped with some safety tips for runners, you can’t be too confident to be always safe. Change up your routes. If you normally turn left going out your driveway, turn right sometimes. Run at different times from day to day. Look for new routes and places to run that are near your home, but not the same place you run at every single day.
Learn self-defense. There are four vulnerable places on a person, and if you’re being attacked, you should aim there first. The acronym “SING” applies here – solar plexus, instep, nose and groin. If you’re grabbed from behind, send an elbow into his stomach and stomp hard on his instep. Use the heel of your hand to shove his nose toward his forehead and use your knee to hit him in the groin. The best bet, of course, is to take an actual self-defense class.
Last but not least on safety tips for runners – in case the worst should happen – always carry ID.