Runner safety, this isn’t just something to consider when it comes to smart training. It also needs to be thought about in just a general safety genre itself.
You wouldn’t drive without headlines on at night—-so why would you not light yourself up at night when you run? You wouldn’t go somewhere you didn’t know by yourself while it’s early morning—-why do that on your run? You wouldn’t tell a random stranger where you lived so why would you post your route on social media with street names listed?
I am in no way shaking my finger at anyone who does the above but sometimes we all have moments of “Wow, I never really thought about it”. While I like to believe that most people have no ill intention towards other people, unfortunately we live in a world where we can’t take that for granted. It’s exciting to post a great run, or share a beautiful view we had but we also need to be smart about protecting ourselves, our location and our privacy.
When You Are Physically On The Run:
Bring something with you that identifies you. This could be your ID or something easier to wear like a Road ID. My sister got one for me in bracelet form after I almost lost my ID while out running (I forgot it was in my running shorts) I’m able to put my name, emergency contact, any medical info, etc. on it and just pop the bracelet on before I head out. They make ones for kids, pets, watches and more. If heaven forbid you are in a situation to where you are unresponsive this little accessory can make a HUGE difference.
Be aware of your surroundings and don’t get so lost in the run that you don’t look around. I’ve seen WAY too many people (runners and non runners alike) be completely oblivious to cars, other people, or conditions. Never take for granted that anyone, including cars, see you or care that you are on the sidewalk/road. It doesn’t matter if you have the right of way—-if someone isn’t gunna stop regardless it’s not going to matter. Don’t pump up your music so you can’t hear anything, run against traffic (it’s how it’s supposed to be— plus you can dodge a car easier when you see it coming).
If something feels wrong or off—Get away!! Feel like someone is following you? Make eye contact!!! Don’t pretend to ignore them—let them know you see them and are aware. Know your routes and know where the populated areas are so you can get near other people fast and be safer. When in doubt call 911!! Do not feel bad about being wrong or offending someone if you feel uncomfortable/followed. I personally would much rather be wrong than wish I would have listened to myself.
On the note make sure someone trusted always knows where you are, when your going, how long your expected to be and then touch base with them when you are safely home/in your car. Bonus points if you even share your tracking info with them!! There are many apps for this but I love RoadID the best—you can choose the contacts you want and include a message saying “going for a run” and set your time. They get a text notification so that they can track your route. An extra feature they have is a stationary alert that will send them a text if you don’t move for 5 min. While I admit sometimes I forget to turn off the tracker and get annoyed when my contacts call me a bit panicked to make sure I’m ok I know that the small eye roll I give could very well be my lifesaver.
Have some sort of safety device with you. I’m not saying you have to be packing on your runs but bring one of those safety alarms, pepper spray, a key, just something that can either fend off an attack or at least draw bystanders attention that you need help. Pick whatever you are comfortable with but have SOMETHING!
Some Basic Things For Social Media Post Safety:
Are you showing a GPS screen shot that shows street names? Consider using a different screen, the general track outline that is just lines, or putting a emoji/blackout the names. Most runners run around their houses, you don’t always know on social media who is seeing your posts and may be keeping track of this!
If you are taking pictures with glasses/reflective items near you check for what the reflection shows! I’ve realized that before I posted a picture you could see my surroundings in the reflection of my glasses—-take the time to mark it up so you don’t make it easy for people to find you!
Be sure if you do choose to post where you ran/where you are you wait until you LEAVE to do so. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people post exactly where they are while they are still there. While you may not care that your friends know where you are at all times, you don't need to broadcast it to every person who follows you on social media/sees your posts.
Be aware of who is following you on social media/how much info you are giving out. It's exciting to see your audience grow you also should take the time to make sure as best you can that you know who is following you and also the content you are putting out there in regards to personal details. You can be genuine and open without having to be a complete open book. We are all allowed to not share every nook and cranny of our lives.
While I was taught this type of stuff from a young age I recognize that some people weren’t. This may be redundant for some but for others it genuinely could be something they never considered. One day I hope that we don’t have to take SO many precautions and so much thought into safety—-today is not that day. Don’t live in fear, don’t let it stop you from lacing up to go outdoors, but also don’t make it easier to not be safe.
Words of wisdom my dad always told me—-don’t park near vans, drink water and eat a grapefruit. The last one has absolutely nothing to do about running, but have you had a grapefruit lately?? I'm justtttt saying