Friday, June 21, 2013

Staying safe on the run

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 na├»ve 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?

18 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting advice that is helpful but not overly alarmist! I've read a few other "staying safe" articles that just reek of paranoia. And a big agree on the headphones.

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    1. I agree, we need to be smart but not terrified. I hear so many women say they refuse to run outside alone out of fear which is terrible.

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  2. Excellent advice. May I also add changing up your route a little. If someone is watching you, it's easy to establish a pattern if you are constantly running the same way/same time. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Yes, I think I get bored easily and am always changing my routes so this just seems like the norm to me ;)

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  3. I run by myself more times than not. I don't carry anything for protection and I don't have a dog but I do as much as I can to stay safe using some of the same tips from your list. I would add be very aware of your surroundings. I'm the first person to say I can get into a zone and just run but I am always aware of who and what is around me.

    Common sense goes a long way too!

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    1. I agree Jill, I too lose myself in a run but try to stay aware. SO true on the common sense.

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  4. This stuff pisses me off too! Running is a lot of work without having to worrying about some psycho lurking around. Ok, funny story. My ex was a former special forces officer and one day showed up at my house with an arsenal of things for my key chain for "when I go running". He had a can of maze, a little LED light, and an old school can opener, the one with the pointy end. The opener baffled me, but he explained that a woman can afflict some serious damage if attacked by holding it as a knife. When he finished explaining all that my only question was "you are missing something. Where is the ginormous key chain I will need for this?" He was not amused!

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  5. My sister drew a comic that represented her feelings on this topic - it's astute, and more articulate than I could ever have been, so I put it on my blog!

    http://irunonwater.blogspot.ca/2013/05/art-gender-running.html

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  6. These are great tips! Its sad that we have to worry about this, but we do! The past few years I've written articles for our local paper on staying safe when running alone, because we always need reminders. When I run, I run alone, in certain area's I skip the music, and I do carry a pepperspray/tear gas combo. I don't like to carry it in my hand, so I bought a clip so I can either just clip to my music if I using it, or if not I just clip right inside the sportsbra for easy access:)
    FYI, I mentioned you in my blog today, because of a tip you gave on fish oils a while back:) Thanks for the tip, I've been taking them since the day I read your post and believe it will help, I think it just takes time to build up in your system and body! Thanks again for the tip!

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  7. Nice post! I run with runner's pepper spray. But very good tips!

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  8. Sorry to hear of attacks in your area - make sure you stay safe! And thanks for the good advice that we all need regular reminding of. I often worry when I get tired on a run, so try to keep to main roads by that stage! Another thing I would mention is to keep clear of cars, especially if they approach you asking for directions. Good old common sense goes a long way!

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  9. This is scary and I hate that we have to worry (or even think) about it. These are all great tips and great reminders for us all to hear. I also run with my RoadID all the time, even if I'm only going out for a short run.

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  10. Ugh- I hate hearing those stories! I feel so safe here, but in a new setting I'm definitely going to need to be mindful of running trails and running alone... I need some new running buddies asap!

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  11. Great tips Jen. I am always very aware of my surroundings when I run alone. I also always have my Road ID on my shoe just in case something happens or I need help. I wish my dogs could run further than a mile with me without me having to pull them;) Maybe I should work on that:)

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  12. Thanks for a sensible and balanced outlook on staying safe on the run. I bought some mace but usually forget to bring it with me. I do always carry my cell phone and only put one earbud in while I'm running. One tip a police officer I work with gave me once is to always make direct eye contact with anyone who looks fishy or gives you the creeps. Direct eye contact and a "hello" with a strong voice will sometimes dissuade someone from messing with you because it makes you seem confident and not like a victim.

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  13. As a new mom its hard timing my runs with other people, I'm lucky to get out at all so I am often running alone these days. Agree with all of your tips, my dog makes me feel safer and save the headphones for the treadmill.

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  14. I run with a Zap Stick (http://www.amazon.com/Black-Stick-Stun-Volts-Flashlight/dp/B007GGC57M/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1372046720&sr=1-1&keywords=zap+stick) and a scalpel.

    I had a kid stalking me last summer, it ended with him being caught in the act by the police, so I'm overly cautious.

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  15. Great post! Very important for women to read. I have actually been grabbed by a man while out on a run, last year. Nothing major happened, but it spooked me. I was lucky in the sense that a biker came around the corner shortly after and scared him off. I wrote this post on is last year: http://racingthestates.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/women-runners-please-be-careful/

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