Thursday, October 23, 2008

15 Personal Safety Tips for Runners

I try to go running 2-3 times a week as part of my MMA training. It's easy for me to run during safe times when it's light out and there are plenty of people around because I work from home. But for many women, as the days get shorter they find it hard to run during ideal hours. And unfortunately women runners are still targeted these days by stalkers and muggers and sometimes fall victim to attacks.

I was recently interviewed for an article on self-defense for runners by They asked for some safety tips and suggestions for female runners. Here are 15 tips that I give for runners:

1. Carry I.D. or fasten your name, telephone number and blood type on the outside of your running shoes.
2. Carry a cell phone or sufficient change for a telephone call. *Remember in most areas in North America you can dial 911 for free.
3. Whenever you can, run with a dog or partner.
4. Run in areas with which you are familiar. Know what businesses are around and the location of telephones. Alter your route from time to time.
5. Write down information about your running route. Ensure that your family and trusted friends know your favourite routes.
6. Whenever possible, avoid unpopulated areas, deserted streets and overgrown trails. Stay away from unlit areas at night. Avoid running near parked cars and bushes.
7. Run against the traffic so that you can observe approaching vehicles.
8. Stay alert at all times. The more aware you are, the less vulnerable you are.
9. Avoid wearing headphones; You need to be aware of your surroundings.
10. Wearing reflective material will make you more visible if you have to run before dawn or after dark.
11. Don't wear jewellery. Why tempt muggers?
12. Carry a whistle to call attention to yourself if you need help.
13. Rely on your intuition concerning suspicious persons or areas. Respond to your intuition and avoid any person or area that feels unsafe to you.
14. Don't react to verbal harassment. Use discretion in acknowledging strangers. Look directly at others and be observant, but keep your distance and keep moving.
15. During your run, if you notice anyone acting suspicious or if you are the subject of an assault (even if it is minor in nature) report it to the police immediately. Be prepared to provide the best description of the suspect as you can.

*Note: The article in states that I've been teaching martial arts in Vancouver for 15 years, but she got the information wrong. I've been training in martial arts for 15 years. I've only taught for 12, but only 3 of those years have been in Vancouver.

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