We all want to live in the perfect world, where we can step outside and do our regular run without having to be concerned with our safety. Unfortunately, we know this is not our reality and that assailants can strike at any time during daylight and evening hours. While both men and women need to be cognizant of their surroundings, women tend to voice safety concerns more often. These tips and tech products can help women be better prepared, feel safe and still keep that independent feeling while running, walking, or jogging outside alone.
Strava has developed Beacon, an exciting and very cool app that allows you to share your location with three designated contacts. The contacts will receive a text message with a link to a map and can follow you in real time. If your phone’s battery were to die, the contacts will still know your last known location.
Pepper spray or mace can be very handy if you are attacked by an assailant or even a vicious dog. Many of these products are designed to be carried around the wrist using a velcro strap and some sports bras are now designed with pockets to conceal and easily retrieve items. Be sure to learn how to use it effectively and also check with your state’s laws to determine if it’s legal to carry.
Another great device and app by “ROAR for Good,” Athena was created for the safety of solo runners and is an effective way to reach out for help. The device can be activated by the push of a button, which will send out an alarm (it can also be sent out in silent mode) and push information to designated contacts. It’s designed with a recessed button to avoid sending out accidental alarms.
Change Up Your Route
To avoid becoming predictable to a stalker, change up your routine, especially if you run the same route at the same time on the same days. It can be as simple as switching the direction of your route, running a bit earlier or later, and having a few different routes mapped onto your phone app.
Running at Night
Running at night is popular with women as it’s quieter, there’s less traffic, and it’s the only time a lot of women can find to run after work and other daily responsibilities are complete. If nighttime running is your preference, be prepared with a few items. Headlamps are essential to let vehicles and other pedestrians see you (such as this Black Diamond Storm from REI). Run routes you are familiar with to avoid surfaces that can cause you to injure yourself, and always carry your cell phone and ID with you at all times!
Avoid Wearing Headphones
Listening to music can be a great motivator when running but not when you are running outdoors. Leave the headphones and music for when you are working out indoors at the gym. It should go without saying that wearing them outdoors at night is not a smart thing to do. You also need to know when other runners, cyclists and cars are approaching to avoid sudden collisions. Plus, if someone is yelling to warn you of a stray ball, Frisbee, or other type of danger, you want to be able to hear them!
Strong and independent women have the right to enjoy and practice solo runs, whether during the day or evening. Being prepared with safety knowledge and equipped with safety aids will ensure you enjoy a long and healthy running lifestyle.
Which products have helped you stay safe during your runs? We would love to hear about them in the comments section below.