7 Safety Tips for Women Runners


The world can be a dangerous place, especially for women. A recent poll conducted by Runner’s World Magazine showed that a whopping 84 percent of the women interviewed experienced harassment while out on their daily run. Incidents ranged from cat calls and horn honking to physical groping, foul language, threats, and even pursuit. These numbers, while sickening, are not surprising.

What Can Be Done?

I’ll come right out and say it to my fellow men: We need to hold ourselves and each other accountable and stop harassing women. Do better. Period.

But until that glorious day that half of the world’s population agrees to respect the other half, there are more tangible stopgap solutions. Women can increase their personal safety on the roads and trails by following these safety tips.

1. Safety in Numbers – When possible, run with a friend, your spouse, or even your dog.

2. Situational Awareness — Remain aware of your surroundings at all times. This is excellent advice for every walk of life, but is especially important when out on a run. Assess the perils around you whether in the form of traffic, weather, terrain, animals… or harassers. Don’t be afraid to cross the street — or even make a complete 180 — if your Spidey senses tell you something isn’t right up ahead.

3. Lose the Buds — As an addendum to #2 above, running without headphones or ear buds will help you detect perils and improve your situational awareness. All the more pity since music can be so motivating.

4. Vary Your Route — Decrease the likelihood of someone memorizing your daily routine by changing things up, even mid-run. It will give you the added bonus of fresh scenery along the way.

5. Take Your Phone  — And keep it charged! Don’t be afraid to call for help if a situation makes you feel unsafe. It’s also handy as a GPS and for motivational exercise apps.

6. Personal Protection Devices — Many runners carry mace, Tasers, personal alarms, or whistles. Runners who wish to go armed can choose from a large selection of special fanny packs or body-hugging holsters to contain a small firearm during exercise. It is essential to know your local laws regarding the carrying of weapons, including pepper spray.

You may also want to check out offerings for self-defense or martial arts classes in your local area.

7. Share Your Plans — Pick someone you trust — a spouse, family member, friend, or neighbor — and let them know you’re heading out to run. Tell them of your likely route, and approximate duration of your run. Check back in with them if something comes up.

It is sad that women need to make such considerations for their personal safety, but it is the reality of our world at the moment. Maybe one day it won’t be necessary. Until then, stay safe, stay smart, stay vigilant, and keep running.

by Jason Braun