I’ve done a lot of stupid things on my run that I never think twice about – taking random turns, exploring a new trail, and full on zoning out and letting my legs take me where they may. Most of the time, I don’t think about “staying safe running” or the consequences of my thoughtless running – running is running, it lets me feel free so I never thought about it until I mention it to a friend later and they ask “Is that safe?”
I love to explore the trails and being a small female usually running solo, I guess the answer is no. There has been a many times where I had to turn around because my gut was telling me to but I’ve never thought about how I was “putting myself in danger.” I’m very grateful that the area I live in is very safe and that the crime rate is low but I know not everyone has the luxury of that. So after a quick chat with my old self-defense instructor and a helpful neighborhood police officer, I have some tips for everyone to stay safe on their runs :)
- Vary your routine.
- I know not everyone is able to change up their running time but every so often if possible, change up your routes and run times. Over the summer, I ran almost at the same time very Sunday and I’d keep bumping into the same runners and the same friendly old ladies sitting at the park which is fine and dandy until you realize if those were predators instead of friendly old ladies feeding the squirrels, you’d be an easy target.
- Carry your phone with you/have a RoadID tracking/live tracking
- I know a lot of people don’t like to carry their phones with them on their runs but I’ve have had my butt saved so many times with it. A few wrong turns and I ended up at a dead end and if it wasn’t for my phone, I would not have figured out how to get back home. Alternatively, live tracking is good if you have someone at home to keep an eye out for you. Plus if *knock on wood* you were hit by a bike or a car, your RoadID will have your contact info on it.
- Reflective gear!
- At night, don’t forget to bring a headlamp or a light of some sort. It’s been getting dark around 4-5pm now for me so sometimes a lit run turns dark real quick within an hour or less. A reflective vest can go a long way too especially if you tend to gravitate towards dark coloured running gear.
- Have “safe places”
- If you cannot vary your route/time and you don’t want to carry your phone with you, have safe places on your run. On my regular route, I run by 2 fire stations, 5 Starbucks, 1 police station, and a ton of 24 hour food places/grocery stores. Safe places are anywhere that you know there will be foot traffic/people so if anything happens you can make a beeline for it. Avoid making a beeline straight home because if someone is following you or you’re in danger, you’re leading them straight to where you live.
- If push comes to shove… fight dirty
- I’ve trained in Krav Maga and Muay Thai because as much as it sucks to say, I’m female so there is a sense of how I have to be responsible in being proactive in keeping myself safe. In a regular fight, fighting dirty is an easy way to be disqualified but if you’re on the streets on a run and push comes to shove… don’t hold back ladies (and gents). You’re literally fighting for your life here so bite, scream, scratch, kick, pull. Knee to the groin, palm of your hand up towards their nose, elbow to their Adam’s apple, forehead to their nose, bite their hands if they’re holding you.
- If you’ve been grabbed from behind, stomp on their feet then smack your head backwards towards them.
- If you’ve managed to hurt them enough that they’re on the ground, my instructor has taught me to hit hard a few more times just in case. If you’ve taken Krav Maga then you know the move where you pretty much stomp on their groin three times. I was always taught to do things in multiples of three because the first two may not do enough damage.
- Remember their most vulnerable parts are their eyes, nose, jugular, knee caps, feet, and groin. Remember that.
So do you have any safety tips to share? I would have included carrying mace/pepper spray but unfortunately it’s illegal to carry/have in Canada so I have no experience handling it. Stay safe running!
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