Whether running alone or with a group, make sure to be alert to your surroundings
By Lori Mork
If you’re a runner, you know how much enjoyment you can receive by hitting the road for some time alone. But, running solo means you need to be aware of what’s going on around you.
Stay alert to what’s going on around you and use these tips to stay safe while running alone.
Know where you’re going and make sure someone knows what your route is.
You may like the challenge of a new route, but don’t go alone. And if you have planned a new route, make sure someone is aware of it so they know where to look for you if you don’t return when scheduled.
Oppose the traffic.
Runners should always run the opposite direction from the traffic. Doing so means you won’t be caught unaware if a car comes up behind you. You’ll also be able to see any traffic hazards ahead.
Make sure to bring a credit card or a few dollars along on your run for unexpected emergencies. A couple of bucks can buy you a sports drink if you have an energy lag, or you can catch a cab home if you can’t finish your run.
Be a defensive runner.
Always assume every driver is not paying attention – talking on their cell phone, texting, drinking coffee or changing radio stations. Be sure to make eye contact with drivers before running into an intersection and try to avoid high-traffic areas whenever possible.
Don’t forget identification.
It’s very important to carry identification, especially when running alone. Make sure you have a driver’s license or a runner’s ID tag in case of emergency.
Run with the crowds.
Running in populated areas is a much safer alternative than running in an isolated location. There will always be someone around to help you if you should sprain your ankle.
Bring your cell phone.
It can be a hassle to carry your cell phone when running, but it gives you access to a phone in case of emergency.
Change your route.
Although you shouldn’t run an unknown route without letting someone know where you are, it’s also important to change up your routes so that you’re not predictable. It makes it much harder for an assailant to know where you’ll be.
Keep an ear open.
Turn down your music, use just one earpiece on your headphones, or better yet, don’t listen to music at all. You need to keep an ear open to what’s going on around you.
Here are a few other tips for staying safe:
• Use well-traveled and well-lit roads, and don’t take short cuts through the woods or areas that are not well lit.
• Run with a dog or a group of people, if possible.
• Cross the street or go the other direction if someone doesn’t look right. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
• Make sure you know where you’re going. If you look confused or lost, it can make you a target.
• Don’t be distracted. Perpetrators specifically look for people who aren’t 100 percent aware of their surroundings.
• Consider taking a self-defense class. You never know when you might need these skills.
• Reconsider the ponytail. This is an easy thing to grab and pull.
• Have an air of confidence. Walk or run tall with your head up.
• Trust your instincts, if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
• Bring pepper spray, but keep in mind it can be used against you too.
• If attacked, do everything in your power to not be taken to another location.
Lori Mork of Lowry is a mother, grandmother and dabbler in all things food, photography and decor related.