As winter begins and the days grow shorter, safety becomes a big topic of discussion within the running community. To address these concerns, the editors at Women’s Running spoke with industry experts to collect tips on the best ways to stay safe and sound while you’re logging miles during those chilly winter months. These are our top four tips to run safely.
Mix up your route.
“It’s easy to get into a routine and always run the same route for a given mileage—especially if you are doing timed workouts that require you to cover exact distances and you feel comfortable and safe with a route you run frequently. However, running the same loop at the same time of day makes you a potential target, so try to mix it up. Run loops backward, try new out-and-back options, even drive to a new location (that you’ve researched ahead of time!). It’s also helpful to vary the exact time of day—if you can’t alternate between morning and evening, try leaving a half hour earlier or later on some days.” —Emily Long, runner, safety expert at SafeWise
“If you find yourself running at night, put your hair in a top knot or bun as opposed to a ponytail. Attackers often look for ponytails as they can be easier to grab.” —Katie Barrett, lead instructor at B/SPOKE Cycling Studios, certified personal trainer and USATF Level 1 running coach
Turn down the tunes.
“I see runners and walkers with their headphones on not paying attention with their music blasting, which is a big mistake. Keep your volume down to a level where you can hear everything around you, or only use one ear bud so that you’re more aware of other individuals, bicycles or vehicles and can react much faster if they enter your personal space.” —Todd Williams, former Olympic distance runner, founder of Asics RunSafer program
Bring your phone.
“Always carry your phone on evening runs. If you get injured in the dark or feel like you’re in danger, you have the ability to call for immediate help. For added peace of mind, I recommend using the Find My Friends app to notify a friend or family member before heading out on an evening run. They can use the app to track your location and receive an alert when you safely return home.” —Jessica Reeb, certified personal trainer at Cincy 360 Fitness in Ohio and running club founder