Running on the treadmill sucks. There’s nothing like that feeling of hitting the open road, music volume all the way up, and just going wherever you feel like running. Runner’s high is a real thing. But there is a lot of hesitation to run outside when you are alone. You hear stories all the time of a women who got kidnapped or murdered while out for her morning jog.
You try to run in groups and have a running buddy, but they aren’t always available when you want to go for a little jog. You’re scared to go alone because there are definitely some sketchy areas where the running trail goes. If you were to get attacked, no one would ever know. So you slave it out on the treadmill, again.
It’s okay to be scared, but that shouldn’t stop you from doing the things you love. You should be able to go on that run alone and not have to worry. Here are some self defense tips that you can utilize so you can go on that run alone and have peace of mind.
Awareness: This the most important factor when it comes to preventing an attack. Most attackers prey on victims who are distracted and unaware. If you are going to be attacked, being aware of your surroundings gives you more time to react. Make sure you’re paying attention to who and what is around you.
I know listening to music when running is a must. I can’t run without music and I’m guilty of having both ear buds in at full blast. But this takes away my ability to hear and reduces my awareness of what’s going on around me. Turning the volume down or running with one ear bud in can allow to be more aware of your surroundings.
Plan your route in advance. Have a general idea of where you are going to run and let someone you trust know where you are going. It could be as simple as sending a text that says “Hey, I’m going for a run in _______. Should be back in _______ minutes. Text you when I’m back!”. That way if anything does happen to you, someone will know where to possibly find you.
Shake up your routine: If you run the same route everyday, close to the same time, that is a pattern that someone could take notice of. If someone is planning to hurt you, they could easily notice your habits and wait for you. Try to run a different route or different time of day from time to time.
Don’t share your TrackMyRun location: If you use any sort of tracking app during your run, don’t share your location publicly. I know it’s fun to share what you accomplished, but you are making yourself vulnerable by sharing your location. Especially if it’s a route you do regularly.
Take some self defense training: Being a runner, you know how important muscle memory is. If you aren’t actively training your mind and your body to react a certain way, chances are, you won’t react well in a stressful, hostile situation. Learn some simple self defense moves and practice them repeatedly.
Even if you bring a weapon with you such as pepper spray, make sure you know how to use it. Practice grabbing it, unlocking it, and using it until you feel quick and proficient with it. Just because you have pepper spray doesn’t mean you are going to naturally reach for it and whip it out in enough time to prevent the attack.
I do not hope that you get attacked so you can use utilize these skills. But the truth is that violence is a reality and we must be prepared for it. You may never be attacked while you are running, but wouldn’t you rather be prepared and not having anything happen than having something happen and not be prepared?
We shouldn’t shy away from running because of fear. Being proactive about self defense and safety can give us peace of mind and the confidence to go for a run whenever we feel like it.