Friday, March 29, 2013

Staying Safe When Running Alone


     Since spring is finally making it's appearance, I thought I would post this as a helpful reminder, since many of us at times will be hitting the pavement alone.  I haven't posted this on my blog before, this is actually an article I had published in a newspaper last summer.

     We love putting on running shoes and heading out the door. When our feet hit the road or trail, we breathe in the fresh air and take in our surroundings. An enjoyable run clears our heads and helps work out stresses, and we enjoy the miles. Running helps relax our minds. We push our bodies for fun, health or goals. For the time we are out running, we are as free as we want to be.

     The last thing we as runners want to consider are dangers we might be running into. However, in the world we live in, this is sadly something we all need to think about.

     It’s important for any runner to keep this in mind. Just because you are not hearing about people being harassed or attacked doesn’t mean it isn’t going on. The fact is, unless a serious crime is committed most encounters go unreported.

     Veteran runners understand when running alone the possibility of dangers increases. For safety reasons running alone should be avoided. However, for those who love to run, there will always be times when you may decide to go solo. For women, the hazards of running alone are much higher than that of men. A few precautionary steps should be taken to help reduce your vulnerability.

* First, consider your options. Join a running group, invite a friend, have a family member ride along on a bike or have someone follow you in a car or if possible take a dog with you.

* Only choose streets, neighborhoods or populated trails that you are familiar with, and make sure you always tell someone where you will be running and when to expect you back. Try to run where there will be plenty of people around at all times.

* When running alone, never wear headphones, which prevent you from hearing people, vehicles or even a stray dog coming up behind you.

* Be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to places an attacker could be hiding. Keep a thought of who is in front of or behind you. Consider what an escape route would be if you were to be attacked. Run around and keep your distance from parked vans, bushes or other areas an attacker could be lurking.

* Take a cellphone with you. If you run into any problems, you can always call for help. Also some apps will map your route for you. You can have the information sent to a friend or family member who can track your run.

* Look strong and confident. Be on the lookout when running through a bad area or when you see people acting oddly hanging out on a trail. No matter how tired you are, hold your head up high and appear strong and alert, and speed up if possible. Don’t let yourself look like an easy target; instead, look like a fighter.

* Carry mace, pepper spray or tear gas. When in questionable areas, pull out the unit and make it obvious you are carrying it. Make sure you test it out beforehand, so you will know how it sprays, the distance it sprays and the accuracy necessary. But keep in mind, if attacked the unit could also end up being used against you.

* Alter your routes and mix up your schedules — even in your own neighborhood areas.

* Don’t go running at night. If it does start to get dark, stay in well-lit areas.

* Trust your senses. If you sense danger, get out. Don’t dismiss an intuition!

* If you are on a trail and do sense danger, pick up a large stick that you can carry with you until you are safe. You may look ridiculous, but you’ll look like less of a target to an attacker if you appear prepared.

* Last, if you feel like solo running is going to be your thing, it wouldn’t hurt to take a self-defense class to pick up a few techniques, which will help you out if you should ever need them.

     Don’t take chances — they aren’t worth it. If you are attacked or harassed, make sure you report it. By doing so, you may help save someone else. Always remember, just because you are in shape, healthy or fast, doesn’t mean you are invincible. Be smart and take precautions, so you can always enjoy the thrill of being a runner.

Visit and find other Fitness Friday blog posts on Jill Conyers blog.


15 comments :

  1. Great tips. I love to exercise alone, so it's hard for me to find motivation to buddy up. I usually stick to my neighborhood, which is very safe. But I have 2 parks I sometimes go to, where there is more like a circle around the playing fields in the middle of the park, as opposed to trails in the woods. I feel really safe there because you can see clear across the park at any point.

    When I was young and in college, I used to run alone in the park on wooded trails all the time. So STUPID!!

    (Thanks for visiting my blog and for always leaving such encouraging comments. :))

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    1. I am a lot like you, I enjoy running alone. I think a lot has to do with the fact that I don't have running partners who live close by. I've made a few stupid mistakes running alone too, but hopefully I keep getting smarter and thinking ahead first:)

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  2. Love these!

    I rarely run alone, but would definitely pick up a stick if I felt threatened!

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    1. Glad you like them! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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  3. I always bring my phone. And, trusting your instincts...absolutely! :)

    stay safe!

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    1. So smart to always bring a phone! I am really bad at that myself, but I am trying to be better this year!

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  4. Great reminders. There are times when i run alone but take every possible precaution to stay safe. I never run trails by myself!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Keep up being smart and staying safe while out on your runs!

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  5. Great reminders. I am always amazed by how many women run alone with headphones blaring in their ears having no idea of their surroundings :(

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    1. That always amazes me too! I roll my eyes a lot when I see it!

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  6. Great reminders. I run alone a lot and try to follow all of this advice.

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    1. Glad you appreciate the reminders! Thanks for stopping by my blog:) Stay safe solo running!

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  7. These are great reminders. I end up running alone more than I like but I do carry protection. Though it is a bit unconventional- I know very well that I would come out on the better end of a confrontation should there be one =)

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