Being a woman who runs alone a lot something that is on my mind often is safety. Not just in the listening to my body, making sure I feel good while I run, keeping myself injury free kind of safe, but making sure I make it home kind of safe. I’m really lucky to live in a really safe area and I’m comfortable being outside and letting my kids be outside and all of that, but safety something that as a mom and a runner I feel like I should take responsibility for. I also feel that something every person should know is how to defend themselves and keep themselves safe. So today I’m sharing a few tips on being safe during a solo run.

In college, I took a women’s self-defense class.  I only took it once, and it was a quick course but I felt like it was something that really helped in making myself feel more comfortable.  At the time my cousin was a good running buddy for me and she always joked around that every time we passed someone she pictured me yelling at them to stand back. That never happened, but I won’t lie and say that the thought didn’t cross my mind once in a while. Having a basic knowledge of self-defense helped me feel more confident that I could, at very least, stall and get someone’s attention for help. If you haven’t taken a self-defense class before, I suggest finding one near you to enroll in. Even the basics can save your life if that time ever comes.

Some of the simplest ways to keep yourself safe on a solo run are:

Run in a popular area: Running in an area where there are a lot of cars and people can be a pain sometimes but the likelihood of you being attacked drops.  And if you were to get attacked, there would be enough people around that if you screamed, or put up a fight, there would likely be someone there to help you out.

Run on the sidewalk: I prefer running on asphalt instead of the sidewalk because it’s a little bit softer for your joints. But when it comes to running on a busy street, it’s better to be safe on the sidewalk than risk being hit by a car on the road. Along those same lines, you should be running on the right side of the road so that cars can see you when they are driving by you. You can also buy a lot of different kinds of reflective gear to help cars see you at night.

Run when its light: Running during the day is not always an option so when it’s not an option, try your best to stay under the street lights and in well-lit areas. It not only helps you see your surroundings more but it helps other people see you.

Carrying some sort of self-defense weapon with you.  My Husband got me some pepper spray (affiliate link) to run with that is super convenient because it has a nice handle that you strap on over your hand.  And later he also got me a tactical pen. The pen is a little trickier to run with unless you have something to put it in that is also easy access, but I love my tactical pen! You can use it in so many different ways (and believe me, it would hurt to get hit with it) and you can take it on a plane with you. You can find a tactical pen similar to mine HERE (affiliate Link).

Those are all simple, well-known ways to keep yourself safe on a run, but there are some other things you can do to keep yourself safe that most women don’t normally think of.

Be friendly: When you pass someone, smile at them, make eye contact and say hi. We’ve been taught our whole lives not to talk to strangers, but the truth is that doing this one thing, can sometimes save you from an attack altogether. When you make eye contact and acknowledge someone, you can always give a good description of that person.  It also makes the other person know that you’re not scared or intimidated by them, that you’re alert and aware of them and your other surroundings and that you’re confident in yourself.  You don’t have to always say hi, even just looking someone in the eye and smiling will work for this.

Be alert and aware: Don’t run with music if you can help it.  Music is a great help for running sometimes, but it’s better to be alert and aware of your surroundings.  If you do run with music, make sure it’s quiet enough to hear other things around you.  Don’t zone out and forget about your surroundings. Pay attention to where you are, the people around you, the sounds you’re hearing, where the cars are etc.

Know where you are: Run in a neighborhood you’re familiar with. If you feel like you’re being followed, you will know what roads to turn on to cut your run down or to lose who ever is following you.  If you think you are being followed, go to someone’s house near by that you know and are comfortable with, somewhere you know you’ll be safe telling someone. If the attacker sees you knocking on a door or going into a house, odds are they will leave you alone.

There’s no reason to be scared or paranoid about running alone. These tips can help you feel strong, safe, and empowered instead of worrying.  Sometimes despite the things we do bad things do happen. There isn’t a repellent for attackers like there is for bug spray (unless pepper spray is one but that is usually used during an attack and not to prevent one).  I’m not a professional at this, but I take it very seriously.  And I hope it helps you stay safe out there.

How do you keep yourself safe on a run?

Who has taken a self-defense class?

Do you have a favorite self-defense weapon that you carry?

Jenny Albertson

Jenny Albertson

Jenny is a mom of 3 kids: J(5) M (3) V(1) and wife to Trevon. She loves running! She's been running for 20 years. You can read more about her on her blog, Running On Life.
Jenny Albertson

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