Good morning, friends. Today I’m chatting about a subject very near to my heart – safety while running.
I’m sorry to say that staying safe on the run hasn’t always been a priority for me. And maybe this is true for you too…when we are so caught up in mileage that we want to cover, times that we have to hit, and new routes that we want to try, safety might not even be a blip on our radar. I hate to say it, but as women, we are especially vulnerable while running alone and we only increase that risk when running solo on trails or isolated areas.
I’ve been running alone and outdoors since I was 13, and only recently have I prioritized making smart, strategic decisions to ensure safety on my runs. Here are a few tips, tricks, and tools that have worked for me to stay safe – while also still having a blast and enjoying my love of running.
Run Fast, Run Far, Stay Safe:
- Join a running group! Not only will running with friends help the miles fly by and increase your speed and endurance, but it will also provide some extra protection. There’s strength in numbers. Most running groups are totally free and have varying meeting dates and times to work with your schedules. Find the perfect group for you by inquiring at your local boutique running store, or online at Meetup.com.
- Join a gym (or get a treadmill). If you work a typical 40-hour week like me, most of our runs have to be done in the early morning dark hours, or after sunset. Having access to a gym with a track and/or treadmill provides an opportunity to run at all hours, without putting yourself at risk. Hate the “dreadmill”? Try some 400m/800m repeats, or test out these treadmill workouts to get faster and have so much fun, you’ll forget you’re inside.
- Use a safety app. Glympse and RunSafe are two popular safety apps to give you more confidence while running alone. With Glympse, runners can share their location with a select group of recipients for up to four hours. The best part is, your recipients don’t even need to have the app to track you. RunSafe is similar, and has the capability to notify your trackers at the start and end of your workout. In case of extreme emergency, RunSafe also has a Panic Button feature, which not only alerts your friends and family when activated, but also sounds an alarm, flashes a strobe light, and records several minutes of audio that will be sent to your recipients. Using both of these apps are free and will allow your mind to be at ease while you accomplish your goals.
- If you must run alone, be strategic about where you go. I totally get it that sometimes, we don’t always have the luxury and availability to run with a group or at the gym. When you have to run solo outside, be sure to pick a place that is well-lit and well-populated, and always go during peak hours of the day when plenty of people are around. When I was home on the East Coast for Christmas, I set out for a run in the mid-morning on a bright, sunny day near my in-laws’ house. I ran in their neighborhood park, which has baseball fields, playgrounds, and a 2-mile track. A few miles in, I ran past the parking lot and there was a white SUV sitting by itself. As I approached running past it, a large man got out, called out to me, and motioned for me to come over towards him. Immediately, I knew that something wasn’t right, and I turned around and sprinted towards the playground, where I told a family what had happened and asked for their help. They allowed me to use their phone to call Chad, and then walked me back to my in-laws’ house to ensure that I got home safely. I am so thankful that I had this wake-up call, because it reminded me that anything can happen – even on a bright, sunny day in a nice, safe neighborhood during the holidays. Because I ran in a public park with lots of people around, I was able to find someone and get help quickly. It could’ve been nothing, but it really could’ve been something. I have no idea what I would have done if it was just me and the man alone in the park.
I hate to have to talk about a heavy topic, but staying safe is truly important to runners. Let’s not let a few bad eggs in the world keep us from enjoying the sport that we love, but instead, let’s just make smart decisions and have more confidence while tackling our goals and logging miles. If you have any favorite tools or tricks for staying safe on the run – please share them with us in the comments below.
Thank you for reading along! I wish you a wonderful week ahead and whatever goals and distances you are going after – stay safe, and stay great. XO