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Admitting to people that I love solo runs often leads to gasps of “that isn’t safe,” which makes me smile, nod my head, and change the subject. I am willing to take the risk of running solo because honestly, if I couldn’t run solo now and then I would start to feel like a caged animal.
All my life I have been an introvert who fills her “energy tank” up with solo runs, walks and bike rides.
I am not naive–I realize that everyone out there doesn’t have good intentions, and neither do those pesky loose dogs. I can’t 100% stop all chances that I will ever be attacked by either human or animal. However, I can reduce them by taking precautions. This list below are some of the precautions I personally take, but they are not an exhaustive list and you needs may be different than mine due to where you live. (update–there are some great ideas to increase safety beyond these 5 tips of mine in the comments section at the end of this article)
5 Running Solo Safety Tips I Practice
1. Always carry pepper spray
Pepper spray is good for protecting yourself from both dogs and humans. I keep a small vial clipped to my runner’s belt at all times. Lately I have been running into dogs that are running loose more than usual, so I have taken to using the strap (mine came with one) to Velcro it to my hand so it is ready to go at a seconds notice.
2. Make your cell phone easy to access
If in an attack you have to first rip the ear buds out of your phone, rip it out of the handy arm case it is in, and then enter a password to access it, chances are it really isn’t much help to you.
I listen to tunes on a small sansa clip MP3 player (with only one ear bud in so I can listen to my surroundings at all times) and then keep my cell in an easy access velcro case on my runners belt. In under a second I can have my phone out of my case and in my hand ready to make a call.
I also have key people labeled in my contacts should the worst happen and someone find me with my phone still on me. For example, I have my husband labeled “my hubby” and our home number marked “my home”.
3. Map out loops on MapMyRun and share them with loved ones
I have all the roads I run mapped out and saved in MapMyRun. I text my husband just as I am about to start running to tell him the area I will be running in so he has a written record.
I also text him how long I expect to run. Should I not text him “done” within 30 minutes of when I said I would be done, he knows to first try and contact me to see if I forgot, and if I don’t answer he knows something is up and to call for help. Should this every happen he will have a list of all the roads I run to give to authorities, thanks to MapMyRun.
4. Stick to routes where there are always people around
I don’t run out in the country; there are too many dogs and too much space between houses. I run in town during daylight hours in areas where I could run up to the front door of a home for help in under a minute. I also try and plan routes that will take me by homes of those I know. This came in handy one time when I experienced some “runner’s tummy trouble,” although it was slightly embarrassing.
There is one public park I run through, but I only run through it in good weather when I know I will be one of several runners and walkers out enjoying the weather.
5. I vary my times and routes
I am a very routine person so varying my running times and routes was a little hard for me at first, but I knew it was vital for runner’s safety. I don’t run solo on the same day of the week. I don’t run solo at the same time of day week after week. I don’t run the same route on my solo runs week after week.
Variety keeps people from knowing when that runner gal will pass by again. Although I know attacks are usually random I also know some are not so why not just reduce the chances of an attack by mixing things up.
Do you run or walk alone? If so what would you add to my list to keep safe?
Other articles about running
- My Top 10 Favorite Running Products
- Why Running A Marathon Is Like Childbirth
- How I finally Calmed My Plantar Fasciitis Enough To Being Running Again