Runner running alone

Running and Walking Safety Tips



These are tips that every woman should arm themselves to eliminate or minimize the risks that come with running or walking alone.

  1. Strength in numbers – If possible, bring your dog with you, run with a group or bring a friend along. You have a higher risk of being attacked when you’re all alone.
  2. Run in populated areas and during daytime – Attackers typically ambush their victims at night or in poorly lit areas with no one else around. Make sure to plan your route where there are plenty of other people or joggers around you. Take a trail that is well-lit with plenty of passersby, bikers and fellow runners.
  3. Do not use your headphones – headphones are a major distraction. You should constantly be aware of your surroundings. Who is in front of you? Who is behind you? Additionally, being aware of your surroundings decreases your risks for accidents. While the risk of being hit while running is low, around 4,000 runners and pedestrians die in traffic accidents every year in the U.S.
  4. Find the best and safest trails for running/walking - If you’re new to the area, ask your neighbors for recommendations on the best trails to run. Scope out the area with a friend before running to make sure it’s well-lit and populated.
  5. Limit phone distractions – the more distracted you are, the better target you are to predators. Keep phone distractions at a minimum and pay attention to your surroundings.
  6. Carry a pepper spray – some women carry their keys to use as weapons while others carry pepper spray when they run. It’s important to note that you should be trained on how to properly use your pepper spray against an attacker.
  7. Change up your route – do not run the same route and time every day. Change it up so it’s less predictable.
  8. Be cautious if someone is following you – listen to your gut. If you feel like a stranger is following you and keeping your exact pace, run inside a populated building or change your route. Go to an area with more people around. Ask for help from a security person or police nearby.
  9. Let someone know where you are and use a GPS tracker – inform friends or loved ones every time you go out on a run or walk and let them know what time you typically finish your run. Check in with them once you get home. You can also use GPS trackers to track your location in real time. Running safety apps like BSafe, Glympse, and RoadID have features that notify your contacts when you go out running. Your contacts can see your location without having to download the app and they can also get smart alerts when the alarm is activated.
  10. If you see people in your path and something feels “odd” – run the other way or cross the street and go to a different direction.
  11. Trust your gut – your instincts are your best friend when running or walking alone. If something doesn’t feel right and you feel like you are being followed or watched, turn back, cross the street, go inside a store or cafe or look for a police officer nearby and ask for help. Do not head home immediately or else you’ll just lead that stranger to your own home. Use your phone to alert a contact or call the police and ask for help. If you have an odd feeling about a particular trail, do not run that trail anymore and pick a new one where you feel safe and secured.

Summary

These are tips that every woman should arm themselves to eliminate or minimize the risks that come with running or walking alone.

  1. Strength in numbers – If possible, bring your dog with you, run with a group or bring a friend along.
  2. Run in populated areas and during daytime – take a trail that is well-lit with plenty of passersby, bikers and fellow runners.
  3. Do not use your headphones – headphones are a major distraction. Be aware of your surroundings.
  4. Find the best and safest trails for running/walking - If you’re new to the area, ask your neighbors for recommendations on the best trails to run. Scope out the area with a friend before running to make sure it’s well-lit and populated.
  5. Limit phone distractions – keep phone distractions at a minimum and pay attention to your surroundings.
  6. Carry a pepper spray – some women carry their keys to use as weapons while others carry pepper spray when they run.
  7. Change up your route – do not run the same route and time every day. Change it up so it’s less predictable.
  8. Be cautious if someone is following you – if you think someone is following you, change direction, go inside a populated place like a cafe or store and ask for help.
  9. Let someone know where you are and use a GPS tracker – inform friends or loved ones every time you go out on a run or walk and let them know what time you typically finish your run. Running safety apps like BSafe, Glympse, and RoadID have features that notify your contacts when you go out running and most importantly, an alarm feature.
  10. If you see people in your path and something feels “odd” – run the other way or cross the street and go to a different direction.
  11. Trust your gut – your instincts are your best friend when running or walking alone. If something doesn’t feel right and you feel like you are being followed or watched, turn back, cross the street or go inside a store or cafe. Do not head home immediately and use your phone to alert a contact or call the police for help.

 

References

"Most Deadly States For Runners and Walkers" - The Active Times, November 14, 2014
 
"Scared to run alone? Women runners share their best safety tips" - NBC News, November 13, 2018
 
"Running and Walking Safety Tips" - Pretty Loaded, November 3, 2015
 
"Running Safety: 5 Apps to Keep You Safe on Solo Runs" - Runner Click, September 8, 2017
 
"What to Do If You Think You’re Being Followed" - SafeWise, January 9, 2017