The sad reality is that most women will admit to being victims of catcalling, propositioned and made to feel uncomfortable with inappropriate remarks, gestures or sounds while just trying to go about their lives. 50% of women say they are too afraid to walk or run in their own neighbourhood and 11% prefer to exercise in a gym because they don’t feel comfortable exercising outdoors.
When women get ready to go for a workout, running safety is often top of mind and includes anything from running with their dogs to carrying a knife. Running during the day can also be just as hazardous as running at night because assailants are just as willing to strike in the early hours of the morning or during your midday trail run.
Considering this distressing information, we suggest some running safety tips for women (and men):
- Don’t go Solo
This is a simple rule. Make plans with a friend/friends or join a running group. It might mean rescheduling your week but it is worth the effort. It is wise to let someone know that you are going for a run and when you plan to be back. Nowadays it is also easy to use GPS tracking.
- Trust your Intuition
If something feels off while you are running, then trust your gut and do what you need to in order to feel safer. This could be crossing the street to avoid someone, skipping a route or contacting someone to pick you up. If it doesn’t feel right then rather use safety measures instead of feeling invincible.
- Don’t be flashy
A lot of runners will use fancy gadgets or take their phones on runs to track their workout and play music. Attackers are aware of this. Aside from running in a group, also try to be discreet with your gear. If you do happen to run alone then avoid wearing earphones so that you can always be alert of your surroundings and not draw attention to yourself.
- Stay in the Hustle and Bustle
You are more likely to be assaulted in darker, quiet areas. Rather choose areas that are busy with other runners or traffic; places where you can be easily seen and heard.
- Learn Self Defence
Taking a self defence course does not mean you should feel invincible on the roads or trails, but it equips you with skills and tactics that can help you avoid or escape dangerous situations.
- Use Safety Gadgets
Some options include using your keys as a weapon, carrying pepper spray, a taser or something that makes a lot of noise like a whistle or alarm.
Unfortunately, these are the measures that most women (and men too) must adopt to prevent being potential victims but it is better to rather be safe than sorry. Stay alert, use these tips, run in big groups and have a safe running experience.