As busy mums we often have to find time to ‘fit in’ our runs with our busy lifestyle. I know for me, this means often going running when it is pitch black either early in the morning or late at night. This is also the time that I enjoy running the most. Its quiet. Often I have more energy first thing and I love the sound of just me and my footsteps on the pavement. It can, however be a time when safety is compromised and predators are about, so taking precautions when running at these hours is a must. Here are some tips to make sure that you remain safe while out there ticking over those kilometres.
1. Run in well lit areas: Some of the streets around my house are dark. So dark that I think I need to call the local council to have them install more lighting. Its easy to trip and fall on the pavement and it is also easy for someone to lurk in the darkness when you don’t see them coming. Make sure that when running you stay to well-lit areas and in areas close to houses or traffic. Don’t be tempted to run in parks or trails at night time or when it is dark unless someone else is with you. It simply is not worth the risk. You could also wear a light, a head torch and reflective clothing to make sure that you are visible to traffic. This is also as important as your personal safety.
2. Don’t run alone: This is of course a hard one as a lot of us can only run by ourselves, but if you can and it is dark outside, try and run with someone else or a group. Obviously it is harder for an attacker to fight off two or more people and you will feel safer running with someone by your side. If you can, go running with someone else at these times.
3. Mix up your route. Even in the daytime it is imperative that you mix up your route. I say this because even though we don’t like to think it, predators are always watching and over time if you are running the same track day in and day out or even week in and week out, they will know and they will be there waiting. Mix it up. Change the time of day even that you are doing your run and if you can’t, make sure you tell someone exactly where it is your going, which brings me to point 4.
4. Tell someone where you are going. Make sure that if you are going out for a run, no matter how short the distance you tell someone where you are going. Tell them your route, how far you are going and how long you will be. If anything changes, call them or message to let them know. At least you know someone is there waiting for you when you return.
5. Take your phone with you. Anything can happen. Anything. You can fall, you could get ill, you could end up in the boot of a car (seriously) and your phone is your safety line. Don’t run without it.
6. Look confident. Predators prey on people that don’t look like they can hold their own. Run or walk with an air of confidence about you. Don’t look like a target. If something doesn’t feel or look right, it probably isn’t so run the other way and fast. Don’t ever feel like it won’t happen to you.
7. Take a self-defence class. This is something that I am thinking of starting up for our members. I think it is imperative that we know how to defend ourselves if the need arises.
8. Carry a weapon. This may seem strange to add, but I think its important. I think if you can, carry something like a key or something that if attacked you can use to defend yourself. Keep it in your hand or where you can access it and don’t be afraid to use it if you need to.
9. If attacked do everything you can not to be taken to another location. ANYTHING. Kicking, screaming, biting, scratching, anything goes here. Do NOT give up. Fight. Your life is worth it for you and your family.
10. Be aware of your surroundings. Ditch the headphones. Seriously. Or wear just one. Make sure that you are ALWAYS aware of what is going on around you, be traffic or people. Never be unaware of anything, especially if you are in a remote area.
11. Don’t add people you don’t know to your garmin or nike running app. SIMPLE. Just don’t. This gives them connection to your route every single run, and especially if there is a pattern. They will know about it. Only add people that you know and you trust. This also goes for posting pictures of your route online. don’t do it. Post a part of it, but never the whole thing. There really is no need.
This post is not to make you worry or feel unsafe, it is to make you AWARE. We are mums, our little people (and big people) need us and as sad as it is, we simply can’t think that bad things can’t happen to us. Stay safe and run safe girls.
What steps do you do to make sure that you remain safe on a run?