Prioritizing Safety While Running Alone
2 October 2020
By – Michele Weinstein – Newton Running Ambassador
Things happen every single day which we don’t have control over. We can’t decide what happens to us or what happens in our lives, all we can do is live each day trying to live out our best lives.
For many of us, that involves keeping our physical and mental health in check with outdoor activities. Whether that’s running, hiking, or walking, many will agree that there’s something therapeutic about putting a good pair of running shoes on and just getting out of the house. For many, it’s the one time throughout the day where we can destress and just focus on ourselves.
Sounds great, but sadly enough, and especially for women runners, this isn’t the whole picture about running.
In fact, studies showed that:
- 34% feel afraid running, biking, walking or hiking alone outdoors (Source: https://www.womensrunning.com/health/statistics-runner-safety-stay-safer/)
- 58 percent of women under the age of 30 have experienced some form of harassment while simply trying to go on a run (Source 2: http://www.collegiatetimes.com/lifestyles/running-on-fear-running-alone-presents-dangers-for-women-in-america/article_b3bdbea4-b5f4-11e8-a66d-d33c5f503dfe.html)
- 30 percent of women have been followed and 18 percent have been sexually propositioned while on a run (Source:http://www.collegiatetimes.com/lifestyles/running-on-fear-running-alone-presents-dangers-for-women-in-america/article_b3bdbea4-b5f4-11e8-a66d-d33c5f503dfe.html)
And these are just three out of many statistics showing the danger that women face when performing outdoor activities. As you can see, and sadly enough, every single year, women are faced with the decision of whether they feel safe enough to run outside. Some choose not to take the risk and some do.
But regardless of which option you choose, just know that there are several things you CAN do to stay safe on your runs or walks or hikes. Here are a few good tips!
- Find a Lit Path to Run On and/or Get a Flashlight
As the winter approaches, the days are getting shorter. As a result, many of your workouts could be spent predominantly in the dark. You may not be able to see a person approaching you as easily as you did during the summer time. So keep a flashlight on you and/or try to scope out a lit path to run on. Stay safer by staying on a lit path and/or lighting your own path with a flashlight.
- Go To Areas Populated by Runners (Not Cars)
Instead of running on an empty path, seek out areas populated by runners. Find a trail or track nearby. And if need be, drive to that trail or track and then do your run from there instead of running through an isolated area alone.
- Pay Attention to Your Surroundings (Keep the music low or off)
Instead of blasting your music, take it down a notch or two. Your safety matters most… and it’s so important to be able to hear what’s going on in front, in back, and all sides of you.
- Wear a Tracker
If you have an Apple Watch or any watch with a tracker, wear it. While you may want to go completely tech-free, having a tracker is one extra piece or protection that could offer you peace of mind while running. In addition to the tracker, you may want to check out safety apps that you can install on it, so that you can dial an emergency contact or the cops with one click.
- Bring Your Phone
Be sure to bring your phone when running solo, but do NOT think of it as an answer to everything. In a moment, someone can knock the phone from your hand or take it off your arm, so take it, but don’t walk around texting and scrolling through the gram.
- Practice Self Defense
Don’t run with the mentality that NOTHING will ever happen to you. Even if you are running in a populated area and doing all the “right” things, you could still be attacked. Learn ways to protect yourself whether that’s looking on google and/or taking a self-defense class.
- Carry a Safety Alarm
If you are completely against wearing a watch and/or bringing a phone, be sure to purchase an alarm or whistle. You can clip the majority of them to a piece of clothing which you are wearing and if you feel that you are in danger, you can either click a button to sound an alarm and/or blow the whistle to signal to others surrounding you that something is wrong.
- Start A Running Group
Instead of running alone, start a group. Run together. You are safer in a group of people than by yourself.
- Tell a Friend/Family Member Your Route
If you have a specific route that you follow daily, map it out for a family or friend. Tell them when you usually run and when you usually return. Let them know when you return from your runs daily and keep yourself accountable.
- Vary Your Route
While it’s easy to map out a specific route and get used to it, vary your route. Try a new path and/or go at another time. While you may not see everyone who sees you running, chances are that other people see you running daily. It may not be safe having everyone know your route and the times in which you hit certain points on your run.
- Don’t Post Your Route on Social Media
While you may want to post those 10 mile runs on social media to stay accountable or show a goal hit, try your best not to. You have no idea who is seeing it and who is watching you on social media.
So just a few tips for women who are performing some kind of activity outdoors. While they won’t protect you 100%, they will allow you to run with a bit more ease and a bit more enjoyment.
Have a story to share or more advice to share, please comment below. And when done, feel free to check out Instagram, as we are hosting a giveaway for a pair of Newton running shoes and a personal alarm! (All you need to do is follow @newtonrunning & @michelechristineweinstein, like the photo on our Instagram, and tag some women in your life that need to read this piece! Simple!)
Biography: Michele Christine Weinstein is a motivational writer, content creator, freelance writer, and founder who utilizes her life story and pre-medical background to inspire others. She believes in the power of our stories and encourages all to share their stories of struggle on a platform which she founded called Not a Standard. Outside of work, Michele enjoys kayaking, walking her dog (in her hot pink Newtons), and working out. She also enjoys a good home-decor project, although it usually results in bloopers (which she later shares on social media for good laughs). She’s always sharing her projects, bloopers, and little motivational quotes (which she calls Michele-isms) on Instagram. Check her out below!
Feel Free to Connect & Reach Out:
Have a story of struggle to share? Join the Not A Standard Community… https://www.michelechristineweinstein.com/about-not-a-standard/