When we think of safety tips for women while running it seems like a bit of an overreaction. But, if you read your local news then you are probably familiar with how often women are attacked on running paths, trails, or even their own streets. This post of safety tips for women does not exclude men, but it is from a women’s perspective with experience in self defense, where 9.9 times out of 10 we are victims of assault by men. That’s obviously not a real statistic, but it’s not exactly a leap of faith either.
What Are They Looking For?
Predator’s look for vulnerable prey and while an athletic woman kicking ass on a trail or path may not exactly seem like “prey” you may want to consider the situation from their perspective. We may be fit, we may be strong, but our senses aren’t usually focused on what’s happening around us. From a predator’s perspective he can stay hidden in the woods, watch and prepare as someone approaches. Even in well populated areas and in broad daylight there’s enough opportunity to jump out and drag someone away. All it takes is a few moments.
A woman running isn’t usually watching around her or expecting a foe to jump out of the woods. This element of surprise gives the predator a better chance of catching a woman off guard. Most of us run alone regularly and/or with ear buds for our music and those also give ample opportunity for someone looking for a victim.
Dealing With Reality
This may sound displeasing or like something out of a novel or bad dream, but this happens ALL THE TIME. You should be scared, concerned, but mostly you should prepare. Don’t ever lose your focus, don’t ever get too comfortable. Anything you can control and limit in that scenario you should plan and measure. I have some safety tips that I apply each run I go on and they may seem a little heavy handed. However, I’m not taking a chance with my body, my safety, and my life.
Safety Tips For Women While Running
- Carry a key, a small knife, or a small instrument you can place between your finger to stab with. Always have an item of the like on you. Make it quick and easy to access. If you are ever caught off guard and attacked you should immediately grab it, place it between your fingers and go for your attackers eyes. At the very least it can immobilize them long enough for you to escape. The best case is you’ve seriously injured them to a point where they aren’t going anywhere and the authorities will be able to apprehend them.
- Be situationally aware. Constantly scan your eyes on both sides of the path. Look in front of you and check behind often too. Be aware of your surroundings. If something looks slightly off, trust your instincts and stop or avoid it all together. If there’s a narrow path into the woods that’s a great ambush point, go around it or turn back.
- Map your run course out before you go and make sure you tell someone where you’ll be at what times and when they can expect you back. If you do disappear (or even have a medical emergency) you can have someone alert the authorities where you were and when and it can narrow down their search considerably.
- If you haven’t already I highly recommend you take a self defense course. You will learn basic techniques on how to defend yourself, escape, and find your voice when you need it.
- If you are in a park in the morning alone (which I often am) and you need to use the restroom, open all the stalls before you use one. I use the one closest to the door. Then I leave the stall door ajar so I have a view the entrance. Just in case someone enters who shouldn’t.
- Use a GPS location device like Run Angel. It’s a little pricey, but frankly is your safety worth pinching pennies? It is a personal safety wearable that emits a very loud alarm to attract attention in an emergency. The run angel shows the date, time and location of the wearer.
I am not selling this product, nor will I make any money off you purchasing it or clicking on the link. I just believe in the concept and want you to be safe.
Self defense is a big concern among women in the running community. While some products out there can be helpful, nothing beats good situational awareness and begin mentally prepared to handle any situation. Here is another article that covers self defense, specifically what to worry about and what not to bother with: https://runningmybestlife.com/running-self-defense/.