I’m sure most of you have heard about the string of murders of female runners the last week or so. In case you haven’t, Runner’s World published an article that discusses the recent events. You can read it here
My thoughts and prayers are with these ladies and their families. My heart is breaking because of all of this.
In the wake of these events, there’s been a flurry of articles on how to increase safety. It’s easy for these articles or even friends, family or other runners to tell you to run with a friend or to always change up your route or to never run at the same time. Obviously, those all make sense.
But it’s not that easy. Some of us do not have the luxury of running throughout the day or to have running friends ready to run at all hours of the day. What do we do then?
I have a very small window when I can run in the mornings. Sure, I can run earlier, but does that increase my safety or decrease it b/c now it’s that much earlier (which = darker and less populated)? So for me, running at the same time trumps trying to alter my departure time each morning.
My route. I’ve spoken about how the road I run on is very well lite, populated (even at the early morning hours) with cars, buses and police cars. I often run the same stretch of road. Obviously this is not ideal and it would be awesome if I could change my route. But at what cost? I feel much safer to run on this road then on the backroads which are either poorly lite or not lite at all and are not very populated in the early AM hours.
Buddies. There’s not many runners who want to run in the early AM hours that I do. My friend, Jen, and I try to meet up – and we do, when we can. But it’s not every morning. We’ll likely do it more often now. Typically, it’s for the company. Now it will be for the company and safety.
I don’t have the answers. Truth is, I haven’t run outside all week. Simply because I am scared. And I hate that more than anything. I feel like what has happened has taken away such a huge outlet for me – where I can run, listen to music, dream of my day and just zone out. If/when I do run outside, I know I will be on edge for most of the run. That’s not how I want to run.
I know I will eventually head back out to the roads. I’m grateful that I can continue to run indoors when outdoors is not an option and I realize that not everyone has that option.
When I do head out, I will be taking a few measures to increase my safety as much as I can – knowing that what I already discussed, above, potentially could be increasing my risk.
- Self defense classes: I took these classes while I was in the Army and feel that it prepared me well to defend myself. And I still remember a lot of what I was taught – but it’s been years, so I want a refresher.
- My sister’s dog: My sister has a beautiful Bernadoodle, Trevor. Her and her family live a mile from me and we’ve spoken about me running there to pick him up and taking him with me for several miles. He’s a BIG dog, so his presence, alone, will help make me feel safe.
- Strava’s beacon: Just the last week or so, Strava announced a new safety feature from their App called the “Beacon”. Basically what it does is send a link to a contact you designate (you have to select 1-3 contacts for each run). Your contact(s) can then track your run – your current location and will see when you stop, hit pause, end your run (as well as things like battery life). Obviously if it comes down to this, something already happened – but at least it’s a way to always have my husband have eyes somewhat on my status – even if I can’t communicate that to him. You can read more about it here.
- Treadmill: There will be more treadmill runs in my future. This is the best way that I can mix up my routine. I much prefer the roads, especially when I’m doing speedwork, but I’ll take inconvenience and annoyance over safety any time.
I’d love to hear any suggestions/ideas you have on increasing safety – what you do, are planning to do or have done.
I’ll also add that I won’t be using the Instagram “story” feature anymore during my runs. Without really thinking of the consequences, I shared a couple of photos and a video one morning during a run. The day after, I realized that I was basically broadcasting to social media where I was at that very moment. Not smart at all. I have always posted on social media after my workout – so even if it shows a street or landmark, it’s after the fact – and the time I was there is not noted.
Please stay safe out there – do everything you can to mitigate the risk and increase your safety. xo