Did you watch the game?! I’m in firm belief that the day after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday. First order of business when I’m president. Moving on…
Yesterday my knee felt good enough for a run so I headed out around 6:45 a.m. That’s not too early for most people (especially runners) but I try to limit my time spent running in the dark. Especially on the weekend when I’m not in a rush to finish.
Also, there’s the issue concerning safety. Not the “I can’t see in the dark, I’m going to trip” issue. The “sketchy people could be around and I’m alone” issue. I see many articles about running safety that focus on not falling, running in the snow or rain, looking out for ice, etc. Yet no matter the weather, running in the dark can be dangerous. Heck, just running alone can be dangerous. I don’t always like to think about it, but being a college female (and a female in general) it’s something I’m forced to pay attention to.
Am I going to stop running in the dark? No. Am I going to stop running alone? No. But am I smart about where and when I run? Absolutely.
I think a lot of running safety is common sense. Don’t take the candy from the stranger, obviously. But what about that dog heading toward you without its owner? Sometimes your immediate reaction to a situation isn’t the safest option.
In no particular order, here are a few safety tactics I follow:
1. When you’re alone (and especially in the dark), run safe routes where other runners frequent. Sure, I love exploring new areas and going on mini “adventure” runs, but I do those with other people. There are a few popular routes in my area that have designated running paths and I never feel alone.
2. Assume the worst. Assume the car can’t see you, assume the dog is not friendly, assume people won’t just move to the side when they see you. I don’t take any chances running in front of cars, even when they’re stopped at a light, unless I’m 100% sure they see me. Better to run behind them or wait for the cross walk to change than the alternative.
3. Don’t wear headphones OR only wear one ear. I enjoy running with music but I never let myself get fully immersed that I ignore my surroundings. That is for the treadmill. I keep my volume low so I can hear when/if there are people behind me or cars coming.
4. Run with your phone. I’m going to stand in this unpopular camp but for safety reasons. Sure, it’s great running without any gear and feeling “free,” but phones are for more than tracking distance and listening to music. In case of an emergency, whether you’re hurt, feel unsafe or are stranded without a bathroom, a phone is a literal lifesaver. I guess a phone could be used as a weapon too…?
5. Alter your route. Runners are creatures of habit. Same time, same route, same days of the week. As much as I hate to think about it, there are creepers out there who take notice.
6. Go with your gut. Plain and simple. If you feel like something or someone isn’t safe, make the smart call. Runners may be tough, but we aren’t invincible.
-Get a Road I.D.
-Run with pepper spray (I haven’t done this but I know it’s recommended. Does anyone have any experience with this?)
-Find a running group
-Wear reflective gear/headlamp if running in the dark.
Whatever you do, be the smart runner/woman/person I know you are.
What do you do to stay safe while running?
Do you run with your phone?
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
Omg! So on my run yesterday, on a nice street, I happened to be the only one out though and this sketchy car started slowing and pulled to the curb, but kept trailing after me…..basically I booked it (uphill!) and got to a busy intersection and went a new way….so scary!
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Power Monday #68 Finding Happiness In The Little Things
Good for you for noticing and changing directions. It’s scary to think things can happen anywhere, even a nice street.
AJ @ NutriFitMama says
I have had far too make scary incidents happen while running- it’s actually one of the reasons I am struggling to get back out there and run alone. I do it- but not as often as I would like. For dogs (I guess for people too) I carry dog spray. After an incident of coming so close to getting attacked, I cannot run without it- even with a running group (I was IN the group when we were almost attacked!). As far as weird people, I ALWAYS go another way or turn around if I even suspect someone looking suspicious- it’s better to be safe than risk it.
AJ @ NutriFitMama recently posted…5 Ingredient Paleo Pancakes
AJ, that is incredibly scary. I can’t imagine getting attacked, let alone while in a group! I agree, it’s better to change directions or turn around than risk it.
Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie says
Great tips! I really don’t like running in the dark, but when I do, I make sure to be extremely aware of my surroundings. I think it is really important to go on routes that have other people around. If I run in the dark, I make sure to go on campus where there are people walking around and a lot more street lights than off campus.
Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie recently posted…Pretty in Pink Smoothie Bowl
Yes, I feel much safer running around my campus where there are street lights and people. Normally my go-to place.
I try to avoid running at night. I don’t mind going out in the morning when there’s generally a lot of other runners out and about and the sun is coming up, but running alone at night generally freaks me out a bit. I’ve only done it a few times but I did carry pepper spray (which is annoying to carry). I rarely run with music though so that doesn’t bother me. It’s kind of scary when you think about what could happen so running in high-traffic areas is super important!
pickyrunner recently posted…Running 1/25-1/31
I tend to go running at the same time as you because runners are normally out and about. The only time I’ve run at night was with a group of people and I kept waiting for the sun to rise, thinking it was morning.
Liv @ Healthy Liv says
I agree that the day after the Superbowl should be a holiday! I stayed up till 2 am after the party to get all my school stuff done for today– worth it, though! ;)
To stay safe while I’m running, I never run in the dark, and I also only run on trails or other secluded areas when I’m with other people.
Liv @ Healthy Liv recently posted…Superbowl Weekend Tangents
Right?! We should start a petition. I don’t have any trails near me but I don’t think I would feel safe running alone either. That, and I would probably get lost!
These are great tips! It’s so important to be cautious and safe when exercising outside… especially for us woman! :) Great tips!!
Cailee recently posted…Monday’s Motivation- Fit February!
Thanks, Cailee! We definitely need to take extra precautions.
Georgie Morley says
Thanks for sharing these tips Emily! I know I take for granted my safety – but living in a new city safety definitely something I have to think about more.
This really hits home because a really wonderful community member back home was fatally hit by a car yesterday on a run.
Georgie Morley recently posted…Week 2 of the Whole 30: Why It’s Easy, Why It’s Hard
Georgie I’m so sorry to hear that. How awful. Keeping them in my thoughts.
Lacey @ Runs and Roses says
Great tips girl! I try not to run at night or super early in the morning, but I have used a head lamp before…as dorky as it looks haha. I usually run with my phone and make sure to run on roads with enough room on the sides!
Lacey @ Runs and Roses recently posted…Love with Lace: Radiate Love
Not dorky, hardcore :) I want to get one!
Emily @ Sweets and Beets says
Awesome tips, Emily – this is soo important. People think I’m crazy when I say I don’t run with headphones in.. but I need to be aware of my surroundings!
I used to bring pepper spray when I’d run on the trails behind my house. I teased my mom for urging me to do it, but there were a few times when I was glad I had it. It makes you feel way safer!
Emily @ Sweets and Beets recently posted…Healthy Treats That Do + Don’t Hit the Spot
Even just taking one headphone out makes such a difference. I might need to look into the pepper spray, if anything for my (and my mom’s) mental sanity.
Rebecca @ MyEagerFeet says
I honestly feel very comfortable running at night. The worst thing to ever happen to me while running is being heckled by drunk guys, so I honestly feel much calmer when there’s no one around. That being said, I let my boyfriend know when I’m supposed to back from a run since I live alone and wouldn’t be missed right away. I’ve though about getting pepper spray, but the only kind I’ve seen has a hot pink canister!
Rebecca @ MyEagerFeet recently posted…Three Things Thursday – January 29
I’ve only seen pink canisters, too. Not that I’m against pink but that’s all I’ve seen. Even though I don’t live at home I usually tell my parents when I’m going for a longer run, because that means I’m in the dark for some of it.
great tips! soon i’ll be training for a marathon and cant wait to start
Best of luck, Orly!
Liz @ Loving to Tri says
Great tips! I don’t like to run in the dark but sometimes it’s a necessity. When I do run at night or in the morning, I don’t wear my hair in a ponytail. Ponytails make convenient things for attackers to grab on to.
Liz @ Loving to Tri recently posted…Week 5 Half Marathon / Half Ironman Training
That’s something I never thought about. Thanks for the tip!
Linda @ Veganosity says
Great tips! Yes to carrying pepper spray, pink can or not, it can get you out of bad situations. I’d also add not running the same route at the same time every time you run. Mix it up, just in case someone undesirable has been paying attention to you.
Linda @ Veganosity recently posted…Asian Cauliflower Rice Bowl
I completely agree! Plus variety is good to beat boredom.
Rachael @ Rachael Turns Pages says
I do keep thinking that I should getting a running id for safety reasons. I often don’t carry any sort of id with me when I run and I complete my runs alone. I just think what if something medically happens to me such as I faint. I want the person that finds me to be able to identify me and contact the correct people. Since I so often run outside and on the streets I think this would be a good investment. I’m thinking of buying it for myself for my Birthday or Christmas. You make some excellent points about safety. Living in a small town I don’t overly think of it, but the areas I run in can have a lot of traffic and I always have to assume the car can not see me or can see me, but will not stop.
Rachael @ Rachael Turns Pages recently posted…Week One at Home
I haven’t taken my running ID off since I got it (mainly because I’m lazy). I might want to invest in a headlamp or some form of light for future early morning runs.