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The Ultimate Guide: 8 Ways to Stay Safer While Running

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The Ultimate Guide: 8 Ways to Stay Safer While Running

Wow! This is literally an “Ultimate Guide” to staying safe while out on the trails! I have packed in and given as much and many resources as I could think of for you about how to stay safe while running!

I hope you enjoy, and find at least a few running safety tips for your future runs!

“Sketchy Moment” & “Red Zone”

Most runners, if not all runners will encounter a sketchy moment while out on a run, at some point in their lives. A sketchy moment may be encountering a threatening dog, being harassed, or even going out on a “red zone” knife edge ridge.

That “sketchy moment” has happened to me one too many times. What about you? 

Sometimes these sketchy and dangerous moments are caused by the route you choose, animals hanging out, or that creepy person around the corner. Regardless of what that sketchy or dangerous thing is and when or if it happens, how to protect yourself while running should be on a runner’s mind. But most importantly knowing running precautions, what you can do to prevent it, and what you can do if you do end up in a sticky situation, are the key.

The Dangers for Women

Women are more likely to be targeted out on a trail or on a road by themselves. I’ve heard and seen too many stories of women being catcalled, physically or verbally assaulted, or worse. Running safety for women is crucial.

According to Taylor Rojeck, editor of Runner’s World, “84% of women have been harassed while running, and 70% of men have not, so it’s a hugely gendered problem.”

In the USA, it’s not unheard of for female runners to carry protection while running, such as firearms, pepper spray, a self defense noise maker, or to have taken many years of self defense or self defense for runners training. Please take safety while running seriously.  And if you’re going to use weapons or sprays know how to use them. For example, it’s important that you know how to carry pepper spray while running.

Female Runner Safety

Should something happen while you’re running or jogging, it’s advised to:

“Report it to the police immediately. An assault is not your fault – do not let anyone convince you so. Do not keep it a secret because you are ashamed or fearful. Assault is a crime and must be treated as such.”

Laura Norris

Everytime something does happen, I get scared to go running again, but everytime I do, I get stronger, and feel more confident. I think it’s so important that women don’t stop running because something happened. If you love or loved running it’s important that you continue, you find a way to make it work. Women are strong. You are strong. <3

Night Time or Early Morning Running

When it comes to running at night, or very early in the 5am light, safety is especially important. Is it safe to run at night then? Yes! Lots of runners run at for lots of different reasons. For example, their schedules are tight during the day, they prefer night time running, or they’re training for an overnight race such as an overnight 24 hour ultra marathon event (or even longer like 48 hours!!).

If you’re running on the road during the night, I recommend wearing high vis (visibility), everything, haha. Glow like a Christmas tree! Wear blinky lights, get dog running lights (if you’re running with a furry friend), wear ankle lights for running (like LED ankle lights), and wear reflective clothes and shoes.

If you’re running trails or other terrain, and are worried about animals, there are many gadgets that you can carry with you, such as, bear bells! And if you’re worried about people, please read the list below!

How to Protect Yourself While Running?

I’ve run in some situations that aren’t ideal, and somehow I’m still alive, haha. I’ve always used these methods and ways to stay safe while out running, so, here are 8 Ways to Stay Safer While Running.

1. Run with Poles

I’ve found that the majority of European runners run with poles, while in the USA I can only think of one or two people that run with poles. Maybe it’s the mountains though! Anyway, running with poles is a great way to scare off any animals or even humans. When I go for long runs alone or 

2. Be AWARE

This may seem obvious, but I’ve seen some runners who are wearing headphones that don’t hear a motorbike coming up from behind them, or a rider shouting he’s out of control coming down the trail. It’s important to be aware, and it’s good practice to be present and in the moment!

NOTE: Yoga is another way to increase your awareness, increase your mobility, flexibility, and balance which are great ways to stay safer while out the trails and prevent an injury or accident.

3. Wear or Carry ID

I wear a road ID on my wrist. There are five lines that you fill in with information: full name, two emergency contact phone numbers, allergies, and the last line you do whatever you want (I may have put “djswagzilla” on my last line, hehe). 

4. Tell People!

Before you head out for your run be sure to tell someone or write down a note of where you’re going. You know, just in case something happens or you don’t return when you were expected to. 

5. Wear and Be High Vis (visibility)

While running at night or on the road during the day it’s important to be noticeable by oncoming traffic, AND bikers.

A few weeks ago I was running up a mountain pass, and a biker flew down that was coming around a corner into my path. As soon as the biker saw me, he veered into the middle of the road, and I got too close to the side of the cliff! If a car was coming up from behind me…. oh man, game over!

NOTE: I love to wear gaiters while running and racing: To Keep the Sh$t Out of your Running Shoes – Gaiter Pods – Running Gear. They keep your shoelaces in to help reduce tripping and falling off cliffs and also has high vis options! This is also important to avoid getting an injury from a little pebble in your shoe…especially if you’re racing ultras and you’re too tired to take your shoe off OR if you’re speeding through a race and don’t have time to take off your shoe. Gotta prevent those injuries while on the trails!

6. Carry your Phone – ALWAYS!

Please run with your phone! This is so important if you start to feel uncomfortable. You can call someone or quickly text someone to let them know what you’re looking at or where you are. Find my phone.

I sometimes don’t run with my phone, and I regret it almost every time I go running not just because of that little extra safety feeling, but also because I miss opportunities to take photos.

7. Change it Up

You may be that person who runs the same loop every single night after work at 18:33 or early in the morning at exactly 7:45. That loop may be the best, but you should change it up every once in a while to avoid a stalker. Ekk!

8. Scared to Run Alone? Run with someone!

Have you checked to see if there’s a local running group that you can run with? Have you checked to see if there’s a Facebook group and asked to see if someone would want to go running with you? Or have you asked your parents or siblings or close friend if they would want to start running with you. This is a great way to get someone else out the door, while also running a little bit safer! 

Recommended Gadgets for Self Defense

There are times when the danger is the weather, the trail, traffic, bikers, animals, having a medical problem, and there are also times when the danger is someone else. An attacker. Of course attackers and predators are all around the world, if you feel you are in a more dangerous area or you would just feel a little bit safer while running there are many gadgets and things you can do!

As I mentioned above I run with with poles, RoadID, and pepper spray (only when I’m in the USA). Other gadgets that other runners run with including the following:

The hope is that no one ever has to use these products, but they are there in case something goes wrong.

*Please be sure to check your local laws about Pepper Spray, Stun Guns, Firearms, and other weapons on this list. I have heard that some runners use hairspray where they can’t carry pepper spray, but I’m not sure how well it works, haha!

Conclusion

Of course anything can happen while running, these 8 Ways to Stay Safer While Running are a few things you can do to stay a little bit safer. 

Bonus Tip: My mom has always told me, when out on the trails, say “hi” to people when you pass them, this shows your own confidence and awareness on the trail, and might possibly make you less likely to be target you. When in a city or more populated area, instead of saying “hi” to every person you pass, you can simply acknowledge people, and make direct eye contact. 

If you’re interested in finding and following inspiring people that love the trails check this out: 6 Trail Runners You Should Follow Now on Instagram.

Have you ever experienced a crazy or sticky situation? What are your tactics for staying safe? Tell me in the comments below!

If you enjoyed reading The Ultimate Guide: 8 Ways to Stay Safer While Running you may also enjoy reading about 8 Things You MUST Carry with You in the Mountains to find out about more ways and ideas you should bring with you in the mountains!

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