We just got an extra hour of daylight, so many runners are out there putting more miles on their shoes. Whether it’d be for training or for fun, we run. Some run outdoors and some indoors depending on the weather or circumstances. But one thing that you need to realize, is that crime, i.e. assaults happens all over the world to runners.
Sometimes we feel that because we are running during the day that it’s safer or that nothing will happen. Or that things like that don’t happen in the town where you live. I am going to give you some tips to help you stay safe from becoming a target.
1.- Don’t run alone. This is kind of common sense, especially if you run with headphones. Sometimes running alone you get “in the zone” and aren’t aware of your surroundings. If your attacker gets you from the back, it will be tough for you to react and escape for help. Try to run with your friends or join a running group. Or run with your 4 legged friend. =) Or just cancel this entire problem out completely and run on the treadmill.
2.- Change your route. If you are running on a trail or down a street, try to change it up. If an attacker is watching you and knows what time you head out for a run, chances are they will know your route as well. So change it up by running your route backwards, or run a different street or trail. That way they won’t know your schedule.
3.- Carry MACE. There are many sports and running stores that carry small hand-held mace. Small enough to even attach it to your key-chain. But there are some that velcro around your hand or wrist with a few sprays. Just make sure you know how to USE it because it is a weapon after all. You can spray your attacker and run away and call for help.
4.- Self defense class. Going to a class that teaches you some self-defense moves, could be helpful in the event that an attacker might try to attack you. It can help you survive and give you some confidence.
5.- Tell someone. Let someone know what your running plans are. Let them know your distance, place, and how long you will be running that way if something goes wrong or you take longer that usual someone is aware.
6.- Don’t run with headphones. Not only does it totally block you from being in tune with your surroundings but you can’t hear a would be attacker coming up from behind you. If you do run on or near the street, you also need to be able to hear the approaching cars. If you MUST listen to music while you run, run with an earbud out of your ear, and alternate ears throughout your run.
7.- Have ID. It’s a good idea to have some form of ID on you. I know some of you have heard of Road ID where you can customize your info on your shoe or on a bracelet. You can even put in on the back of your phone. Just make sure you have something with your name and number and with an emergency contact too.
8.- Be seen. Run in areas that are populated. Go to the trail parks that has a lot of people around in case you end up needing some help. If you run on the street, use the streets that are well populated with other runners and people walking it.
9.- Listen to your gut. If you are running down a trail or running path and you suddenly get the feeling that something isn’t right, then listen to it. If you don’t feel comfortable, in an area or around someone, chances are your feeling is right. Head towards the areas where you feel safe. If it’s too far, call someone on the phone and tell them where you are and if that creepy person around you had bad intention, maybe hearing you on the phone will spook them away.
Bottom line, as runners you must keep yourself safe…always. Lots of runners, mainly woman are constantly getting attacked. It is happening early mornings, evening, nights, not really a specific time. Which means you should always be aware of your surroundings and in tune of everything. These are just a few tips you can use to make yourself less of a target to be attacked.