Running is a hobby that I have grown to love. Not only is it great exercise but there is something very relaxing about being out on the road. It gives me time to clear my head and work through anything that might be troubling me. But it also tends to be an activity that I do alone and sometimes that causes a bit of worry. It’s not something that I want to worry about but realistically I am a small person with very little options in the way of self-defense. Of course, it’s not just other people I need to worry about but cars and stray dogs too. Thankfully there are some steps I can take to make my hobby safer and my hope is that you too, can take steps to run safe with these 5 tips.
Run Safe with these 5 Tips
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Wear proper clothing.
When you’re juggling your exercise with a family or a full-time job then the timing of your runs can either be really early in the morning or later in the evening. In the summer months, this isn’t too much of a problem. The days are long and the weather is mild. In the fall, winter and spring however things are different.
The combination of long nights and dicey weather means that runners can be out on the road when cars and trucks have trouble seeing each other let alone someone on the shoulder. Making sure that you wear the proper clothing for these situations is essential. As a part of our running gear, we have a ridiculously reflective jacket ( It glows a startling white with even a tiny bit of light). It’s lightweight enough to be comfortable but durable enough to stand up to a bit of rain and wind. We also have a blinking armband and some headlamps. If you want to be even more visible then there are other options to consider such as a light-up vest or shoe lights. Whatever you decide on just make sure that everyone on the road will be very aware that you’re out there!
You might also consider an item such as a RoadID which is not only a fun way to keep track of your running milestones but can also contain personal information such as an emergency number, name and address just in case something happens out on the road.
Make sure someone knows your planned route.
Letting someone know where you plan to go and when you should be expected back is common safety advice for hikers and campers. It shouldn’t be any different for runners. Some people are lucky and live near well-maintained public running trails, the rest of us have to share the road with cars and trucks. Sometimes we even head out on trails at the local state park.
But! Regardless of where you run it’s always a good idea to have someone out there who knows where to look if you don’t come back in the expected timeframe.
Consider carrying personal protection.
Carrying an item of personal protection is a bit of a controversial subject. Some people agree with it and others feel like it can just be turned against you. Regardless of your initial thoughts on the matter, this is still something that you should consider. Thankfully there are a lot of options in this department and it’s likely that you can find something that you are comfortable using.
Personal protection items can range from whistles to draw attention to more drastic measures. Personally, I run with pepper spray. While this might not be the choice for everyone I found it the best choice for me. It’s easy to use and capable of running off stray dogs without permanently hurting them. It’s also important to take your local laws into account, as this might change some of your options.
Run with a friend or use live tracking.
If possible, one on my favorite and FUN methods of staying safe on the roads it to run with a buddy. I love running with my husband when I get the chance and when that’s not possible I run with my dog Connor. Having a friend out on the road with you gives you another set of eyes to warn you if something is coming. It can also act as a deterrent should anyone mean you harm.
If you can’t find someone (furry or otherwise) to run with you there are programs that can help. Many apps such as MapMyRun include live tracking and other safety features which means people can keep track of you while you run even if they aren’t physically with you! Some programs even allow you to connect with a live person with the press of a button should you feel unsafe. Some of these programs are free while others require a monthly fee but being safe is worth it.
Remain aware of your surroundings.
Probably the best safety tip that any runner (or person for that matter) can follow is to remain aware of your surroundings. Spend a bit of time getting to know the areas you plan to run and don’t let yourself get distracted by phone apps or music. In fact, if you must run with music (I get it, I can’t either!) Then I highly recommend looking into bone conduction headphones like the Trekz Air I reviewed earlier.
Above all, if you are running and get a bad feeling or notice someone acting suspiciously or an aggressive acting animal then turn around. There is no run more important than your safety. I have turned back more than once because I didn’t like the way someone was acting or I noticed something strange happening down the road. It might sound cliche but being safe is definitely better than being sorry.