Self-defense strategies are not new conversation amongst female runners. Over the past few years, safety while running has been a major hot-button topic. So when Los Angeles-based writer Amanda Deibert posed a question on Twitter Wednesday afternoon what other women do to stay safe, it wasn’t all that surprising that the tweet went viral.
“One of my mom groups has a thread that is just women listing and recommending which kind of protection they take when them when they go out running (Ie. pepper spray, alarm necklaces, whistles, etc) in case you wondered what being a woman is like,” she wrote; followed by a second tweet: “Also, women: what do you use when you go out running.”
Within two days the tweet has collected nearly 2,000 comments, with women all over the world sharing their best safety tips and what they take with them on walks, jogs, hikes, and runs.
For some, their self-defense strategies aren’t so much about what they carry as opposed to the precautions they take before heading out for a workout.
I don’t carry anything, but I tell my fiancé, send him my location and ask him to monitor it and check in if he doesn’t hear from me in an hour.
— Kristen Holmes (@KristenhCNN) May 30, 2019
While others make sure they have plenty of options on hand.
I carry mace (can also be used for bears and mountain lions) and a knife. My vest has a whistle. It’s almost standard running gear up here for us. Also live tracker on my phone when doing long runs.
— Sherree Worrell (@Sherree_W) May 30, 2019
Some bring alarms.
my parents gave me a thing for Christmas where I pull a string and it releases this deafening sound to throw my attacker’s off and it alerts the police
— ellbells (@elliequently) May 31, 2019
Others bring safety tech gadgets like a RunAngel wristband, which emits a loud, high-pitch sound and alerts friends and family when activated.
My husband bought me @myrunangel two Christmases ago, essentially an alarm on my wrist that will also notify him of my whereabouts if I press it. Even though I generally feel safe in my neighborhood, I feel better having it.
— Lori (@ItsOnlyLori) May 30, 2019
And yes, some even bring knives and guns.
I have one of these. Also a small knife (that I know how to use- I don’t recommend carrying a weapon you haven’t learned how to use properly) in a sheath that fits easily INSIDE the waistband of my leggings so it’s not super noticeable/grab-able by anyone but me. pic.twitter.com/EpyVYansW8
— tay (@taylorcaren_) May 31, 2019
[Editor’s note: We highly encourage checking with your local police or looking into the laws and regulations in your area; for some, the above self-defense keychain could be construed as brass knuckles, which are illegal in some areas.]
But by far the most common reply? Bringing a dog.
I really enjoy running at night because it’s peaceful. But I don’t feel safe doing so without my dog. She’s the goodest girl. I know she has my back. pic.twitter.com/WBQm9NIPEl
— Alycee ⚓️ (@leecee517) May 30, 2019
Or multiple dogs.
My girls. One on each side. pic.twitter.com/XZhKAXtRaO
— Lily, Pit Bull THD (@LilyPitBullTHD) May 31, 2019
Seriously, there were so many good doggos.
A few even brought additional reinforcements.
My wife has started running again in the evenings. Atm, our youngest insists on going with her, dressed up as a ninja and carrying a 7 iron (don’t ask!), as well as taking the dog.
She feels pretty safe.
Recent photo when she stopped for a drink. pic.twitter.com/LOUy8sYjiw
— Rob (@bobbyblue5) May 29, 2019
Some women shared feeling totally safe where they run.
While others have been practicing self-defense for years.
Depending on location, a lot of stuff’s illegal, so my dad made me weapons-that-aren’t-weapons growing up. Including: small customized screwdrivers, sharpened pens, etc. I’m partial to screwdrivers, they tuck well into a sports bra/up a sleeve. When I hike, my cane works well too pic.twitter.com/RmUQ6tSWvs
— TheseVioletLiteBrites (@RebeccaDreiling) May 29, 2019
A few awesome supportive guys even chimed in.
Thank you for this thread, as distressing as it is to read. I appreciate all the voices, it gives me perspective I don’t have. I will do my part to make women feel safe by being more aware.
— Joel Cardella (@JoelConverses) May 30, 2019
Mostly, a similar sentiment was shared: It’s sad that we have to think about things like self-defense strategies while we’re out there running, but it’s real. And being aware and prepared is a reality that pays dividends in keeping us all safe to keep enjoying something we love to do.
Editor’s note: At Women’s Running, we are committed to helping readers feel safe and empowered on each and every run. This coverage is made possible by sponsorship from Sabre.