May 22, 2014

Who's got your back?

After living through my own private terror of being attacked by a dog several months ago,  my running habits have changed. I would like to think that I am a smarter runner now, and have more awareness of the space around me.  This is important for all runners, because honestly we need to have each other's back.



If you Google female runner attacks, you will understand exactly why we all need to have each other's backs. There are many stories that have been told, and sadly there will many more in the future.  So let's try to avoid being one of those runners and prepare in the best way possible.

For as long as I have been running, Road ID, Halt and my phone are items I bring on every run.  While telling someone where I am going is theoretically a great idea, it is not always an option, since Tom and I have different schedules.  And let's face it, there are many single runners who lace up there shoes and no one knows they are out. My mother was a walker for as long as I can remember and she carried Halt spray from the time I was a teenager and that is alot of years! Changing my route is not always an option, but I definitely vary my running times now so there is no set pattern.  Clearly that is not an option for everyone, especially during the work week.

 Here are some of my strategies and certainly many have recommended similar advice.





1. Always carry a cell phone for emergencies

2. Wear Road ID for easy identification

3. If you need music, wear only one earpiece so you are aware of your surroundings.

4. Carry  Halt spray or pepper spray.  Another tip is that your elbow is your strongest body part to fend off an attack. Don't be afraid to use it.

5. Let someone know where and how long you plan to run.  Better yet, download the app to your phone from Road ID that tracks you as you run.  There are probably other apps available that do the same thing.

6. Be alert.  I cannot emphasize this enough.  Despite being aware of the charging dog several months ago, I still managed to get a terrible injury that is still not totally healed.  Having easy access to a repellent keeps you safe. Of course this is not convenient, but neither is an attack by a human or animal. I now have a little holder for my spray so it fits loosely around my hand and is always ready for any situation.

7. Run with a friend (s).  Ever since my dog bite, I have been much more eager to find someone to share my runs.  While I do occasionally go out on my own, I am finding that the group runs make me happier and of course that old phrase, "safety in numbers" comes to mind.  A sole person is less likely to attack a group of runners versus a solo runner wearing headphones.

Do you have any other suggestions for staying safe while running outside?
(Pam)

23 comments:

  1. run in well lit areas (if early dawn or past dusk) and try to stay in areas that have more "traffic." More traffic meaning people are going to see you out running--be it through neighborhoods or on the sidewalk of a busier main road. With the extra traffic though you have to be vigilant about those cars that aren't looking for you but other cars.

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    1. Great tip Amanda. Being vigilant of cars is especially important.

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  2. Great tips! I actually never bring my phone with my on my runs(I know that's probably bad). But for me, I think that's what more thing weighing me down. I do wear my road ID when I run during my overnights in cities that are unfamiliar to me.~L

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    1. Lacey, I always wear my phone unless I am at track practice with my group or a big group run. Of course I race day, I carry my fuel and that is all. I agree about the weight, but when I am running solo, I always have my phone.

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  3. I always run during the daylight hours and often keep my music way down so I can hear what is going on around me.

    My husband got me a pepper spray once but honestly I never took it out of the package because it's as large as a small handgun..lol. ( I understand the concept, but it's just not practical to run with). He also insists that I run with my epinephrin pen as well (i'm severely allergic to bees). Which I don't. I already have so much in my little running belt, I always feel like i'm packing up to go on a run! -M

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    1. The little holder my sister gave my for my Halt spray makes it simple to carry in my hand. I bet you did not notice it in the above photo. After a couple steps you do not even notice that you are carrying it.

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  4. Great tips. We could all use a reminder in Runner Safety.
    Glad your on the mend Pam. Stay Safe!

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    1. Thanks Nicole. We all need to be safety minded when running outside.

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  5. These are all great tips. I have the Road ID app on my phone, which displays my emergency contact info on the home screen in case of an emergency. I also carry pepper spray with me in my hydration belt. It eats up some space for my fuel, especially during long runs, but I'd much rather be safe than sorry. Another tip: if you're going to listen to music keep your music low enough that you can still hear noises around you.

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    1. Kathryn, the only problem with having the pepper spray in your belt is ease of access. I had my spray Halt with me when I was attacked, but it was attached to the waistband of my skirt. Now I have a strap holder thing that keeps it attached to my hand. I can spray anything quickly now. Watch out!

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  6. Great tips! I always carry my phone with me. I also wear my Road ID if I'm running solo. And when I run solo I use the Glympse app. It sends a text to my hubby (or whoever you choose) and they can watch you and see where you are located at all times. It makes me feel safer.

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    1. Thanks for the tip Mindy. Best to be safe than sorry.

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  7. Great post, and tips. Safety is #1 for me when I do anything outdoors! I always wear my Road ID as well and I actually stopped listening to music for my outside runs a long time ago. Too much could happen! I consider myself rather lucky, too, because my husband teaches a RAD (rape & defense) class for women and has taught me a few maneuvers to get out of bad situations. Stay safe ladies!

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    1. Lauren, I took a self defense class many many years ago and need to go back for a refresher course.

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  8. Do you have more info on the holder you are using? Is it just for the Halt brand of spray? I bet if I check out one of my many local running stores, they will have something like that. I need to start carrying pepper spray on my solo runs.

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    1. Lisa, the holder I use is one my sister got with some spray she uses while hiking. I have no idea if it could be purchased separately. the only identification on it is UDAP...not sure what that stands for.

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    2. Lisa, here is the link to my holster and yes, it can be purchased separately. https://store.udap.com/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=3H&Category_Code=H

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  9. Such good tips! I fell (hard...) this past weekend on my long run. I was so fortunate that my hubby was home at the time AND I was only .25 miles away from home. I didn't have my phone nor a Road ID on me. Thank God I was not hurt too badly and I was able to walk home. It definitely shook me, and safety has been on my mind all week (especially since I can't workout at all for a while). We all need to spread the safety word--perfect post at a perfect time for me :)

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  10. Great post! I actually just wrote a similar one - I just moved to Alaska and encountering angry moose and bears on my run is a real concern now. I saw a moose on my run on Monday and totally freaked out! I may actually start carrying bear spray with me when I go running because I think I'm going to need all the protection I can get!

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  11. Great safety post. We have had several assaults and even an attempted abduction of female runners here in the DC area lately and it is super scary. I NEVER hit the trail alone anymore unless I am in my neighborhood. If I go for a run while my husband is at work I always call him and tell him the route I have planned and also tell him my estimated finish time so that if he doesn't hear from me he can investigate. I love the ROAD ID app. I use it for my really long marathon training runs so he can see exactly where I'm at!

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  12. I always wear my RoadID (even at races) and carry pepper spray for my training runs! I just found and have used the RoadID app when I do run alone. Makes me feel much safer and allows my family to know where I am for those early AM runs...

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  13. All great advice. One more tip: I always carry a $20 with me in case I need to call a cab, buy water, etc. There have been plenty of times when I've been far from needing an ambulance, but got injured mid-run, ran out of water, and the like. Having money to take care of myself then and there has been handy!

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