While running down MLK Jr. Blvd today, I happened upon a man relieving himself on the side of the building. It was 4:00 in the afternoon, and plenty of cars were whizzing by (excuse the pun). As I passed him, I worried he may be drunk or otherwise incapacitated, which may lead him to be angry that I interrupted. However, he calmly zipped up his pants, gave me a nod, and went on his way. In a place like my town, sometimes when you are out there alone, you have to be cautious when approaching situations like this. The event got me thinking about some ways to stay safe when running solo, so I would like to share some of my tips with you:
- Time your runs. During the summer time, the Georgia heat makes it very appealing to get in a run before the sun peaks up and sets the world ablaze. However, running alone in the dark is not the greatest idea if you live in a questionable area. If you simply can’t bare the daytime runs, pick a route that is well lit by street lights.
- Run in populated areas. Whenever I run, I try to stick to the populated streets. If anyone tries anything, there will be plenty of witnesses driving or walking by, and hopefully someone will take notice. While, again, this method isn’t always ideal, especially when looking at the effects of frequently running on asphalt or the challenging fun of trails, your safety is very important.
- Let someone know you are heading out. If you are heading out for a run, let a friend know what you are doing and check in with them when you are done. They don’t even have to be a local friend, it just helps to have someone who can reach out for help if you don’t make it back.
- Lock your doors. Carrying a key may seem like a burden, but so is someone robbing your house while you are out for a run. I always lock my door when I leave and tie my door key through my shoelaces. Hide-a-keys and door mats are also viable options.
- Don’t run with headphones. I may be a little paranoid on this one, but I never wear headphones when I run. Why? Honestly, because it wouldn’t allow me to hear my attacker. I know it’s a little weird, but I prefer to play my music out loud. No one else will hear it, especially not if you run fast enough.
Those are five simple suggestions to keep yourself safe when out on your runs. I hate to be pessimistic, but some areas have more crime than others. It’s a fact of life. We just have to remain pragmatic in these situations.
I recommend these tips for both men and women. Women aren’t the only ones that need to worry about attackers or being victims of crimes. If you have any more tips about staying safe while running the streets, leave a comment below. I would love to hear your input.