The weather is getting more comfortable and there are a greater number of runners choosing to run outdoors rather in a gym. Running is a great cardiovascular exercise which not only does good for the body but keep you healthy overall. It can help keep your heart healthy, improve mood, and keep sickness away. In addition, it’s a great way to lose and maintain weight. Therefore, it’s understood why many people choose to run.
However, when you should run, where you should run, and what you should wear when you run? These are questions that most runners do not questions prior to running. According to a UNIFEM report, one in three American women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. The abuser is usually someone she knows or someone that the abuser tracks or follows. Some of these victims of assault were running when they got abducted or assaulted. Therefore, by answering the questions above will keep you safe while you run.
Here are some tips for keeping runners safe. These safety tips are suggested by police officers and other safety experts. Although these are predominantly addressed towards women, it is addressed to all runners-male and female.
1. Run With Someone
Do not run by yourself. Find a running partner or run with a dog (a dog that’s big enough to defend you). Running with someone else or with a dog makes the runner a less likely target for those who intend to find a victim for harm.
2. Keep Earphones Out of Your Ears
When you are running outside, there may be activity going on from a distance that you may not hear if your earphones are in your ears. Loud music blaring in your ears can prevent you from hearing cars coming or a potential attacker. The music can dull your senses and makes it more difficult to be aware of your surroundings. If you do choose to listen to music, use only one earpiece and switch ears during the run.
3. Change Running Route
Changing running routes can prevent runners from being an easy target for stalkers. By changing route, it helps runners become more alert to their environment and that makes it more likely to avoid danger.
4. Run Against Traffic
Prevent traffic related accidents by running against traffic. This allows the runner to see oncoming cars and oncoming objects.
5. Avoid Unpopulated Areas, Deserted Streets, and Overgrown Trails
Running in an area where runners are not easily visible to others is dangerous. It’s easier to be attacked or abducted by assailants if there’s no one around to witness it. In cases of health emergencies, there will less people around to help.
6. Tell Someone Where You’ll Be Running and Carry a Cell Phone
Tell family or a friend of your running route prior to heading out. Carry a cellphone where people can contact you if you’re not home when expected. It’s cumbersome to carry a phone while you run, but there are running gears where you can attach the phone to your arm or leg so it doesn’t weigh down on you or get in your way.
7. Self Defense
If possible, take a self defense class at a local college or police department. If you haven’t taken self-defense class, bring along mace, pepper spray, or something that can make a loud noise when activated. When in danger or attacked, bringing attention to yourself or fighting the attacker will lessen your chances of being hurt even further. Carry a noisemaker or simply scream. The noise will most likely attract attention from passerbys and bring you the help you need.
8. Run When it’s Light Outside or in a Well-Lit Area
This is probably the most obvious one. Again, visibility is key when running safely. If you do choose to run when it’s dark out, run in a well-lit area where there’s people around. Also wear a reflective jacket or running gear for cars to see you.
All of the tips above are to make runners a less likely target for attackers. Constantly be aware of your surroundings, listen to your instincts when choosing where to run or what time of the day to run. Be alert of your surroundings and react appropriately. If it doesn’t feel right or look right, stop and quickly head towards an area that is more safe.