Keep one earbud out if you’re running with music, use GPS-enabled devices and, above all, be aware of your surroundings while running alone.

Safety While Running

Running has a way of providing a much-needed mental break. Whether via extreme exhaustion or utter joy, it takes us out of our day-to-day lives and into our own heads.

What should I eat after this? Where did that squirrel come from? Would I be good at skateboarding?

We think through a lot of things while on the run, but safety isn’t always one of them. Here’s the thing, though: It needs to be. While the chances of being attacked mid-run are slim, there exist real dangers for runners—especially women. The potential for harassment and assault is legitimate, especially if you are in an unsafe area.

Regardless of where you are, there are a few measures you can take to protect yourself on your next run—and none of them are all that difficult.

First, remain alert. If you’re listening to music, either leave one earbud out or invest in a safer alternative, like Trekz Titanium Headphones, which rest in front of the ear, allowing you to listen to your surroundings. Speaking of surroundings: Yours shouldn’t be the same for every run. We all have favorite routes, but it’s not safe to run in the same place at the same time every day. Plus, doing so can get incredibly boring. Instead, solidify at least four running routes, and rotate through them at random. It’ll keep you, and any perpetrator, guessing.

While it is safer to run with others, that’s not always realistic. Sometimes schedules don’t match up or you can’t find a solid running buddy. If you do a lot of solo mileage, make sure that someone knows where you are going and roughly how long you’ll be gone. If you don’t have a friend or family member to enlist, consider buying something to carry with you. Pepper spray is a great option, but so are recent technologies like Athena, Run Angel or Revolar. Run Angel, for example, will track your location and allow you to alert others and sound an alarm if you are in danger. The device costs about $115, and if you want to send a text alert to your safety network, you’ll need your phone to be within Bluetooth range. So, if you’re not in the market for a GPS wearable, just bring your phone!

As women, we should never have to run in fear. Unfortunately, we live in a dangerous and unpredictable world. To ignore that would be foolish. Safety, however, need not limit our freedom. We can help protect ourselves with a few simple precautions and a basic understanding of what’s smart and what isn’t. Running by yourself at night with headphones in? Not smart. Going on a long run with a group of friends and a GPS-enabled phone? Smart—and fun.

Ladies, there are trails to run and adventures to enjoy! Prioritizing safety is one way we can guard those miles and have a long, healthy running career. It’s absolutely worth it.

Related:

4 Of The Best Safety Products For Runners

14 Running Safety Tips For Runners Who Like To Run Alone

The Top Tools For Finding Safe Running Routes