5 Running Solo Safety Tips


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If you follow me on instagram you know that I love to run. I often run with my friend who I refer to as “the redhead runner” but other times I like running alone.

5 running solo saftey tips

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 your 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 finds 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?

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  1. Great tips! I think it really depends on where you live, as well. The pepper spray tip is spot on!

    • Victoria says:

      Yes, location matters as well. If I lived in a more rural area my tips would probably be different, and if I lived in a big city they would change again. I live in a smaller town currently.

  2. I always find it interesting that the first thing women say with this topic is I carry pepper spray. That should be the last thing you think about! Communication is #1. Always. The general route you are taking – not exact – because if you do get followed then you obviously detour your route -in the moment. You always give the idea of how long you think you will be. And you always have a an emergency back up meet up location (in case you do get followed. after your set time has passed your loved one knows to follow the route, and go to the meet up spot – not your house).
    I have to add that taking self-defense classes are an incredible and empowering asset! It gives you an extra amount of courage and confidence – there is a knowing look in your eyes that you can easily tackle anyone who mistakes you for easy prey.
    Also I don’t think women realize how easy it is to simply knock small items out of the hand – such as spray, phones, keys.
    Great topic!

    • Victoria says:

      Great tips! Thanks for adding them.

    • Nicolette,

      I do 100% agree that carrying pepper spray with you just gets in the way. It is way better to have your hands free then to holding your phone, keys, water bottle. Also taking a self defense class every woman should take at least one time in her life, especially if they live alone or running alone. I live in a City where it can become dangerous from one corner to the next. Telling your loved one your route is a great idea, but I do agree that sometimes things change. Having that person know the different areas you normally go or would go in case of emergency is also good too. I don’t listen to music through my headphones, because they do drive me crazy. Since I run alone and on streets i typically listen to my music through my phone. It doesn’t bother anyone because I am not running with someone and it works for me. I do think having headphones in is a distraction and more people should not wear them.

      Thanks for this topic! Sorry if i am adding too much.

      • These are great tips. Thanks for adding them. I carry the pepper spray primarily for dogs. In the small town I live in I have had a few close calls with them. Thankfully each time I have had someone close by see the dog approaching and help me fend them off.

  3. I know a lot of women who run alone will appreciate these tips! I need to get out there and run each day!

  4. These are really great tips. I prefer running solo – but there are definitely precautions I take! I used to run on a back road in a rural area and preferred to take my dog with me.

  5. Great tips! Thanks for this. i always worry when I run, but never thought to bring my pepper spray! Thanks

  6. These are all so important to practice. I always make sure to vary my times and routes. I don’t like to be predictable. Thank you for sharing these!

  7. Theresa says:

    Women running with headphones in makes me crazy!! I can’t decide if it is stupidity or arrogance that makes some women think that they don’t need to listen to safety tips.

    • Victoria says:

      I run with just one ear bud in and on low volume. I find music motivating and uplifting during a run.

  8. Hi all, So if any one can help me figure out this problem that would be great. I am seeing that with MyRun app that it pauses when you stop, but it doesn’t continue once you start running again and then you lose some of the distance in that run. I mainly run on busy streets, so have to stop at stop lights and so forth. Anyone know what setting it is to make this stop and for the app to keep tracking me without me stoping and getting out the phone.

  9. Brittany says:

    Love these tips! I run in a sub division across the street from my home. I learned how to organize my route that if I ran up and down every street in the neighborhood I could get 10 miles in without ever being more than 1-1.5 miles from my home. It was always comforting to know if I felt unsafe, got caught in weather, had an injury, or even tummy troubles, I was never too far from safety and relief.

    I would recommend that to any runner. You don’t realize how far you can go in a small area.

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