What do you do when you’re out on a run and you have an unsavory encounter — either real or imagined?
Well it’s obvious what I do. A common theme in my running life is paranoia and panic. No, nothing bad has happened to cause me to immediately go to the worst case scenario. But no, I don’t ever plan on letting it get to that point in the first place. Which is probably why I panic so easily. I have zero interest in experiencing an attack and I refuse to put myself in an unsavory situation.
It’s been just under two years since I last posted about runner safety. And since I had a bad scare recently, and it is still March Madness after all, I figure it’s a good time to share some ways to beat the paranoia.
7 More Tips to Run Safely
1. Learn self defense. Yeah, that’s right. Get your booty to a self defense class ASAP. I’m doing it as we speak. I’ve only been to one class so far but I already feel more confident. I even ran alone in a park on Wednesday — something I never would have done before. When you know how to use your body as defense and you don’t have to rely on outside aides to help you along, you’re in a much better position to get away unharmed.
2. Bring your canine companion. Another thing I’m working on right now is patiently waiting to run with my puppy. She’s too young yet, but once she’s mature enough, you better believe she’ll be with me on every run.
3. Run with pepper spray. I mentioned this in my last post, but it’s a good idea to have pepper spray with you, even if you have no intention of using it. It’s great for peace of mind. I wouldn’t recommend running with another weapon, however, because if you don’t know how to use it properly it could backfire and be used against you. See tip #1 above.
4. Always be aware of your surroundings. Learn to recognize cars in your neighborhood. If one looks off or unfamiliar, make mental note. Another thing I do is to note the houses that have lights on inside. I’m always scanning to see the closest place I could find safety in an emergency.
5. Let your friends and family know where you’re going and when you’ll be back. I show my husband my routes before I head out and he knows my average pace so if I’m out longer than expected I let him know what’s going on. There are several apps that will notify loved ones if you’ve stopped moving for a while — like if you drop your phone, if you fall and hit your head, or if someone knocks you out. You know, all pleasant things, of course…
6. Run with music. Ah ha! You think I’m joking, right? I’m totally not. Now, I’m not familiar with Android so I’m not sure how this would pan out, but I run with my iPhone in an armband and with the earphones with mic that came with my phone. I put one earphone in and leave the other out. Sometimes I listen to music and sometimes I don’t. But I do this so that if an emergency arises (or in my case, paranoia and panic), I can simply talk into the air (i.e. my earphone mic) which keeps my hands free to either defend myself or to book it out of there. (I should also mention this is a really great idea if you’re out on a long run and you get bored. Quick and easy to ‘phone a friend’ for some entertainment!)
7. Avoid places you know to be problem areas. If you get a bad vibe about a particular road or trail, just don’t go there. Save yourself the panic and find a different route. Our gut instinct is there for a reason. Without it, humans would never have evolved as we have today. Use your instinct. Better safe than sorry.
Admittedly, this topic is heavier than I planned for the Running Coaches’ Corner linkup this week. But since it’s been on my mind I needed to share it with you. My friends (and my husband, too) give me a hard time about being so paranoid but it’s my thing. It’s the thing I worry about. I work hard to overcome my unfounded fears but it’s always a work in progress. And I know there are others out there like me — that always go to the worst case scenario right away. If my experiences and my safety tips help just even one person escape the [March] Madness, then I’ve done a good job.
Follow the tips above and in this post and you should be good to go on your merry way with little to no paranoia or panic, and safe as can be.
And with that, I’ll take this moment to let you know starting next week we are moving the Running Coaches’ Corner linkup to Wednesdays. We will no longer be hosting the meetup on Thursdays, so if you’ve been linking with us, please make note! Next month’s topic is nutrition. I look forward to reading your posts on runner’s nutrition!
TALK TO ME!
Do you take self defense classes?
What’s one precaution you take when you’re running solo?