Last week I got my butt kicked by a gross cold bug that was going around, but I was determined to not let it deter my mood/training/life…because I’m stubborn. Winter also decided to show up last week and since I am a baby, I didn’t run outside. Being sick + cold + wind = dreadmill. I did 5, 8 and 16 mile runs on the old pal. I’ve been spending enough time on that booger that I almost tricked myself into possibly liking treadmill running.
There is just something about being able to listen to Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, and LMFAO while catching glimpses of ESPN and
hot guys working out while running for three hours that makes the long run a little less…blah. I like people, I like human interaction, I like laughing at the guy that kisses himself in the mirror at the gym. So sue me.
Also, I had some gut feelings. I’m not a person to worry or fret, but there was just something, you know that gut feeling? I listened to mine.
One thing that people, women especially, need to be aware of while running is being safe. Here are some points that I thought of while on my long run that I always abide by and are worth taking a look at, especially if you are newer to running and wanting to maybe venture out a little, or if you are just into being safe.
- Make sure people know where you are going/what your route is, tell them when you are leaving and what time to expect you back. I always make sure someone (usually Aleeza) knows what time to expect to hear from me after a long run, and if I don’t get in contact with her in a certain time frame, she knows something is up
- Don’t run outside with an iPod/headphones. For the love of all things that are good, this is my biggest pet peeve with people running outdoors, especially women. Your sense of awareness is greatly diminished when you’ve got Kanye blaring in your ears and make yourself a vulnerable target. If you absolutely must run with music, have it turned down low and be VERY aware of your surroundings.
- Pepper spray is not always safe to carry. Many people suggest carrying mace/small weapon (yes I’m serious, pocketknife, etc.) while out running alone, but just because you have it doesn’t mean that it will help you. There are instances where the victim’s weapons will be used against them by the attacker, putting them in a worse position than to begin with.
- Say hello and make eye contact with every person you pass/see. Even if they don’t respond, make your presence known. Saying hello lets the other person know that you are aware of their presence, and strong eye contact is a sign of confidence.
- Remember people. I make it a point on every run to remember every person I see, their clothing, distinct features, where I saw them, and what direction they were going. If for any reason I needed a description, it is good to have.
- Change up your routine. Don’t run a regular route on the same day at the same time on a weekly basis; people pick up on patterns even if you don’t realize it. Still run in areas that you are comfortable/familiar with, but don’t become a target.
- Run with people. This is a hard one for me, because sometimes I prefer running alone. There are power in numbers though, I have had friends join me for 4-5 mile legs of long runs, and other times I have taken my dog out for a jaunt, dropped her off and finished my distance. Do what works for you.
- Brush up on your judo. Ok maybe not judo, but know some basic self defense moves. Before I started running, I was seriously into boxing and kickboxing, and thankfully still know all of the basic moves of self defense. If you don’t know them, that’s what Google is for. Do yourself a favor and educate yourself on some mechanisms.
- Listen to your gut instinct. If you feel like an area is unsafe, don’t run there. If you have a weird feeling about a certain route, change it. If you feel like something is behind you, turn around. We are given those instincts for a reason and don’t be afraid to use them
- Don’t wear your hair in a pony tail, braid or pigtails. I know this one sounds stupid, but when your hair is like this, especially if alone, you’re giving a potential attacker something to grab onto. This is seriously the reason why I wear my hair in a hot mess bun every time I go running, solely for safety reasons. It’s harder for someone to grab you from behind when your hair isn’t flailing around behind your head.
This is an uncomfortable subject to discuss because no one wants to think about the ‘what if’s’ and the bad things that could potentially happen while doing something you love. It’s not about constantly worrying, but being self aware.
Protect yourself, know what is surrounding you, be proactive, be powerful!