A little history for you all. I went through a significant break-up in the fall of 2012 and fell back in love with running. As corny as it sounds, runny really did save me during this difficult period in my life. I was living alone for the very first time and I relished the freedom of not having to check in with anyone, ever. I didn’t have to tell someone I was working late, or stopping off at the grocery store on the way home. I really enjoyed this independence, especially with runs. I could go out as early or as late as I wanted and no one knew or cared.
I also moved to an area that had idyllic views. I had a 5 mile loop by a river including a 1 mile trail run. I LOVED this route. I would post photos of the fall leaves changing along the wooded path that was well maintained. One of my friends commented on one of my cute photos to “be careful” . My first thought was “That’s why I chose this well maintained trail…” Then I was borderline offended and thoughts like ” I am a grown ass woman, I know how to take care of myself” went through my head to the tune of “You Don’t Own Me”.
Then, one day on a run (on my favorite running route) I noticed the same truck drove by me 4 times. Was he lost? Was he looking for someone or something? The 4th time he slowed down and made eye contact with me. He did not smile. My heart began to race and I was a bit afraid for my safety. I was close to my house, but did not turn into my driveway as I really did not want him to know where I lived. I headed towards town where I knew there would be people, got a cup of coffee and called a friend. I told her how sketched out I was feeling and talked to her on my walk home . I never saw that truck again and nothing unfortunate happened to me, but it did make me realize something could happen to me.
Even though I live in a safe town,I am not invincible; hard pill for me to swallow. Unfortunately, bad things happen in “safe” towns all the time. Not only am I not necessarily safe from potential predators, I am definitely not safe from myself and my clumsiness. My town is pretty rural. I sometimes see no one on a run, if something were to happen to me it is not guaranteed that someone would be coming by anytime soon. So therefore I think there are some precautions every runner should take.
Always bring your phone. Do people really not bring their phone with them on runs?!? How do you listen to music? Or track your miles? Or call your husband if you need to poop halfway through?? Even if you do not use your phone for any of the aforementioned reasons, bring it in the off chance that you do fall down and sprain your ankle.
Get the VIP version of MapMyRun. It is super affordable, like under 20 bucks for the whole year so don’t even go there. It also comes with a bunch of awesome features including live tracking. Any of your pals who also use MapMyRun will know where you are. My husband rarely runs, but he can see where I am because of this feature.
Tell someone about your run. This one trips me up sometimes. I’ll tell KC I am going for a7 mile run and he will ask me when he should expect me back and I get all defensive. “Hopefully 70 minuites but I am fat and out of shape so probably longer! GOD!” is close to how I react. But this is important. I try to start my run when KC is leaving for work, so I usually text him when I am back. When I was single and living alone I often called my parents to let them know. It’s hard for someone to know you are in danger if they don’t know you are missing.
Wear reflective gear. I am not sure why the other article is saying not to. And she seems to have had some wicked sketchy things happen to her in her running history which has made her hyper-alert and that is all well in good. I think you are more likely to get hit by a car then for some psycho to stalk you and pick you up. That’s just me. So if you are going to be running when it is dark out, get a head lamp and some reflective gear. I like having a vest and arm bands as I can add that to any running outfit so I do not need 7 million reflective shirts.
Change up your start time and your finish times. This can be challenging. We are creatures of habit and typically need to be at work at the same time everyday. So maybe instead of running every Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week run Tuesdays and Thursdays occasionally. Go a different way out of your driveway. Start your run 15 minutes earlier or later. This way if there is a psycho stalking you, they will have a harder time catching you.
Stay alert. I need a distraction for long runs, or they wont happen. BUT I do not listen to my music or book on full blast. I often run with only one ear piece in so I can pay attention better. And, also so if anyone is watching me and thinking I am all vulnerable I appear to be more alert. It’s kind of like people who put signs in front of their houses and say that they have a home security system but just have a dog.
Always have ID and a little cash. What if your phone dies or breaks and you need to make a call? What if you get sketched out on a run and need to duck in to a store. It is always good to have these things on you JUST IN CASE.
Use social media wisely. What is the point of running if you do not brag about it on social media? I am pretty sure no one ran before FB and insta. But none the less there are safety precautions to be mindful of. Don’t put maps of your route out there. Don’t post right after or before your run so people know when you are running. Play it safe!
I do like the author’s advice to trust your gut. Women are wicked intuitive creatures. If something is telling you not to run this route, don’t! If you see someone coming towards you go the other way and call someone.
Running is supposed to be fun and not a fearful thing. And honestly the chances of something horrific happening to you on a run is probably pretty slim. Well, outside of rolling an ankle and getting honked at by teenage boys. But there are definitely precautions every runner should be taking to ensure that they are as safe as possible.
What do you do to keep yourself safe during runs?