Over the past few years, multiple young women who have gone for a 30-minute jog haven't returned home. Take Molly Tibbetts, Laura Smither, and Wendy Martinez, for example. Their only goal was to release a few endorphins, but such a simple stress-relieving activity has caused a life-long amount of stress and worries for their loved ones. As a female runner who loves to be outside, I have been forced to learn how to keep myself safe when I am out in public, especially while running.
1. Tell at least one person your running route.
If I'm at home, I tell my mom and dad exactly where I plan on going and how long I should be gone. If I'm at school, I tell my roommates or a close friend.
2. Change up your running routes.
Don't run the same trail every day. Switching up your route not only gives you a change of scenery, but it also lessens the chance of someone watching you run day in and day out.
3. Run with a buddy.
The buddy system works for everyone, not matter the age. Running with a partner keeps you accountable, makes the time go faster, and keeps you safe because kidnapping two people is harder than just kidnapping one.
4. Buy a run angel.
This is a special bracelet you wear while on your runs that is connected via Bluetooth to a loved one's phone (through email or text). In the case of an emergency, the run angel will emit a VERY high pitched siren that is intended to scare away your perpetrator while also alerting your loved ones that you are in danger. Buy it here.
5. Carry pepper spray/taser with you.
These can come in handy if you are attacked. Not sure how to carry them? Buy a fuel belt.
6. Run in a populated area.
Make sure you are surrounded by other people while you run. This makes it easy for you to be noticed, just in case something were to happen.
7. Share your location with a family member or friend at all times.
This can allow others to track your location (as long as your phone is on) in case of an emergency.
8. If you have an iPhone, press the power button 5x to quickly alert emergency personnel.
This is a life hack everyone should know.
9. Always run with your cell phone.
You can't call 911 without a cell phone, right?
10. Don't listen to your music at the highest volume.
Be sure you are aware visually and audibly aware of everything around you at all times.
11. Don't run in the dark or at night.
This not only keeps you from tripping over things in the road/on a trail, but running during the day or in a well-lit area is also the safest. It's also common sense to not run in the dark. If you like to run early in the morning, try this vest so others can easily see you.
12. Know exactly where you are going.
Looking confused/lost makes you an easy target.
13. Run in a bun instead of a ponytail or braid.
Running in a ponytail or braid is easy to grab, so reconsider and wear a bun. Try this power bun to keep your hair in place.
14. Trust your gut if something/someone doesn't seem right.
Cross to the opposite side of the street, run in the other direction, or run straight to a heavily populated area if someone seems a little sketchy.
Staying safe while running is a very important topic that has come to national attention after one to many college aged girls have been kidnapped, abducted and killed. Use these tips to stay safe on your next run!