Since I started running on a regular basis five years ago, I’ve learned a few things about the sport. Something I know I took for granted when I hit the road is safety. Last year, two women set out to run and were attacked and later found dead. Even in our small community of southern Illinois, a man was caught on camera stalking a runner. He later tackled the woman to the ground, but she was able to fight back and the man ran away.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to running.
Do be aware of your surroundings. One of the fun things about running is getting to explore different areas. But this can be dangerous too. Know where you’re running before setting out on a new course. This can prevent being a victim and also running into unwanted four-legged creatures. I’ve been on more than one up close and personal encounter with dogs, coyotes and even a deer. Carrying runners’ mace is also a good idea according to experts.
Find a Partner
Don’t run alone. Head out with a partner or partners you know and trust. Typically speaking there is safety in numbers. Run with people who are at a similar pace as you. It does no good to have a partner if you leave each other behind.
Don’t run with earbuds in. I’m guilty of this, as I listen to my favorite podcasts when I’m out on a run. If I am near a busy road though, I do pull out one bud to keep an ear on traffic. But keeping your ears open will make it easier to hear if a threat is near, whether it be an animal or a person looking to do harm.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Do change things up. Running the same course repeatedly can make your trek more predictable to someone keeping tabs on your patterns. Also, posting the map of your workout on social media gives strangers a chance to know where you’re headed each time. Even if you have privacy setting in place, once something goes up on social media, people you don’t want seeing it can still view it.
Do run against traffic. This helps runners see who is coming in their direction behind the wheel. It also makes it harder for someone to pull a runner into the vehicle.
Do S.I.N.G. That’s an acronym to keep in mind if you’re ever attacked. Kick, smack or hit that person in the Solar plexis, Instep, Nose or Groin. These moves can save your life if you ever come face to face with an attacker.
These are just a few safety tips when it comes to running. Use common sense. If something doesn’t seem right, trust your gut.
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