A new Adidas study recently uncovered that 92 percent of women have concerns for their safety when they go running. While it shouldn’t have to be that way, it’s the reality for most female runners.
Women deserve to be able to run without worrying about what might happen to them. And while running with a friend may be one solution, it’s not always practical or wanted. So we’ve put together 15 running safety tips for women unwilling to let what-ifs ruin their training.
Be smart, of course, but with increased awareness and a plan for how to react to potential situations, women can run with confidence and enjoyment.
Tips for Running Safety
Not all of these tips will work for everyone or during every run. But they’re all worth considering. Use the ones that might work for you, and remember to stay alert!
1. Share the Details of Your Run
Make sure that before you head out for your run, you tell someone where you’re going and how long you expect to be gone.
You can let your significant other know your route and time frame, or you can send them a quick pin location via your phone or watch so you can be live-tracked. That way, they can keep an eye on you and take note if you’ve stopped moving or are way off your planned route.
Sending someone your live location also means that if something does happen, they know exactly where you are and can find you as quickly as possible.
2. Plan Your Route
Choose a route you’re familiar with, or get familiar with a new route before you run it. Use Google Maps to do a virtual run beforehand and make sure you’re aware of any potential problem spots, like dangerous terrain, places with construction, or dead ends.
Some simple route planning ahead of time can give you the knowledge and confidence you need. You’ll also know where you’re going, which is a bonus because looking lost and confused can make you a magnet for those with bad intentions.
3. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Sometimes when running, you just get “in the zone.” But staying alert and aware during your run will serve you better. This is true regardless of whether or not you know the area well—you never know when something unexpected might happen.
We recommend running without music and paying attention to your surroundings. Keep an eye on the people, animals, obstacles, and other interesting things. If you hate running without music, you can try bone-conduction earphones, which keep your ears open and free.
If you notice something strange or that makes you uneasy, don’t hesitate to remove yourself from the situation or call for help so you can feel safe.
4. Vary Your Routes and Times
Variety is the spice of life, and it’s also necessary to run safely. If anyone with bad intentions has been keeping an eye on you, it’s best if they can’t pinpoint a running routine.
Mix up the time of day you run, where you run, and even change your rest days. Every now and then, you might want to do a week of treadmill runs to throw any potentially dangerous creepers off track.
5. Be Visible
If you’re running in low-light conditions, wear something reflective. It not only makes you visible to other runners or pedestrians, but it makes you light up like a Christmas tree to oncoming vehicles.
If you’re running during the day, we still recommend having something reflective in case the weather changes. You can also opt for brightly-colored clothing that’ll make you stand out in a crowd.
6. Run With a Buddy
Running together can increase safety if you can find a friend or family member to run with (while sticking to your varied run times). However, don’t feel obligated to run with someone else if you prefer running alone.
If you choose to run together, remember that you still need to be alert and aware. Doubling up won’t eliminate the risk.
7. Carry a Personal Alarm or Safety Whistle
It’s the kind of thing you get and hope you’ll never need, but carrying a small personal alarm or safety whistle can draw attention to you if you need help. You can find small, unobtrusive ones that are also well-priced.
Having something like this with you can make you feel more confident. And if you do have to use it, it’s quick, easy, and effective.
8. Be Prepared to Defend Yourself
Brush up on your self-defense skills and stock up on self-defense products. You never know if or when you might need to defend yourself against a person or an animal, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’ll never happen to you!
Understand that you may need to defend yourself and accept responsibility for that. Consider how you might defend yourself. Would pepper spray work for you, or is it illegal in your state? Is there a nearby self-defense class you can take?
9. Carry Identification and Emergency Contact Information
It’s worth carrying a copy of your ID document and emergency contact information just in case. There’s no need to carry ALL your personal information, but make sure that if something happens, someone will know who you are, any relevant medical information, and who to contact.
Don’t carry your real ID book, either. Make a small copy and laminate it so that it won’t get damaged in bad weather. It’s also a good idea to do this for your emergency contact info.
10. Limit Distractions
Run without music, stop listening to podcasts, and don’t get so caught up in the data on your watch that you aren’t aware of what’s happening around you! The fewer distractions, the better… So you can focus on your run and your surroundings.
11. Be Cautious of Strangers
There’s no need to be rude to strangers, but there’s also no need to be overly friendly. If someone approaches you, it’s best to keep your distance. Don’t just whip out the pepper spray if someone gets too close; be cautious.
It’s a good idea to warn them verbally to keep their distance. If they ignore you, you know there might be more cause for concern, and you can prepare yourself for what you might have to do next.
12. Run Against Traffic
Staying safe isn’t just about staying away from scary people. You must also stay safe from hazards, animals, and vehicles. The best way to minimize the risk of traffic-related problems is to run against traffic.
That way, you’ll see them coming, they’ll see you coming, and there’s more chance of everyone staying safe. Wear your reflective gear, though!
13. Staying Connected and Informed
It’s a good idea to stay informed and aware of what’s happening in your local area. Keeping up to date with news can help you make smarter choices about your running routine and avoid potential problems from the start.
If you aren’t part of a running club, consider joining a community that will help you stay up to date and meet new friends at the same time.
- Trail Sisters Communities
- Black Girls Run Communities
- Jersey Women Strong
- Distance Project NYC
- Latinas Run
Also, consider downloading an app to help you stay connected to help. Here are a few that could work for you:
14. Limit Personal Info
Avoid sharing your personal information on fitness-tracking apps. Be careful about who can see your running routes; if possible, make your data is visible only to people you know.
It’s also best to make sure none of these kinds of apps don’t have access to personal information like your phone number or address. You never know when your data might find its way into the hands of the wrong person.
15. Trust Your Intuition
That gut feeling is often right. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring it and regretting it later! Trust your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, make a change—switch up your route, move to a more crowded area, push your panic button, or do what you need to do to get to a space where you feel safe.
Rather do something unnecessary and deal with it later than avoid doing something because you aren’t sure… And regretting it later. Be alert, trust your gut, and stay safe out there!