The area I run in is pretty safe — I’m not worried about being attacked or anything. But I’m also not foolish enough to think it couldn’t happen to me. Truthfully, I’m more worried about being chased by a dog than a person, but either way, there are a lot of women I see out running who are being really naive, assuming they are safe. I can tell because they’re running with headphones and when I run past them, I can hear the music blaring. The fact that they don’t hear me run up next to them is also a bad sign.
Everyone should run defensively, but girls, we should especially! Here are a few tips to keep you safe:
1. Be aware of where you are — Listen for dog collars jangling or footsteps, see people loitering, make eye contact with those you pass and say hello
2. Leave an itinerary — Let people know where you are going and when they should expect you back
3. Run with a friend if you go somewhere new
4. Be visible — Wear reflective gear for runs early in the morning and at dusk (and later)
5. Ditch the iPod — I know, this is torture, but it will really keep your senses engaged and running without one really isn’t that bad
6. Carry mace and/or a cell phone — While I don’t carry my cell phone, I do carry mace when running in an unfamiliar place. After I know I won’t get attacked by a dog, I’ll leave it at home.
What happens if you are confronted by a person? Think. Yell. Run. Fight (as a last resort).
No matter what, use common sense before and during your run. Be prepared. Don’t run panicked, but run smart!
What happens if you are confronted by a dog? Okay, I’m not sure on that one. I need to do a little more digging because that seems to have conflicting reports. Any insights?