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20 Must-Know Running Safety Tips

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Running Safety Tips

Whether it’s the city streets early in the morning or a forest trail as the sun sets, many people find that the best time to run is when there are no crowds about. Many people also love to run alone. But, some recent high-profile attacks on runners have made running safety a hot topic again. It’s not only the threat of attack that runners must worry about. Runner safety includes dealing with the dangers of road traffic as well.

In this post we have brought you 20 running safety tips. From switching off your music, to carrying personal safety devices for runners, we have tried to cover all aspects of personal protection for runners for you. So, if you are concerned about your safety when running, here are 20 top tips on running safety.

1. Don’t Wear Headphones

The typical image of a lone runner always includes headphones. Running to the sound of music does relieve the monotony and it does put a spring in your step. However, being tuned into music is one of the worst things you can do for runner safety. Attackers target people with headphones. People with headphones make easier prey. If you wear headphones when you are running, you can’t hear people approaching you from behind, and you can’t hear approaching vehicles.

2. Don’t Run in Secluded Areas

Try to stick to areas where there will be other people around. Or, at the least, stick to areas where people will be in earshot. Even during the day, it is best to avoid very isolated areas when you are out for a run on your own. Ideally, run with a partner or in a group.

3. Carry a Personal Alarm for Runners

A personal alarm can be an effective way to scare off attackers. It will also attract attention. There are personal alarms for runners that you wear on your wrist. And, there are personal alarms for runners that are built into running belts. Here are some examples of the best personal alarms for runners:

4. Look Confident

This is a general safety tip as much as it is a running safety. Whenever you are out on your own, try to look confident and look like you know exactly where you are going. Look people in the eye when you pass them. That will let them know that you could identify them. If you look vulnerable, people will think you are vulnerable.

5. Always Stay Alert

Staying alert will keep you out of danger. Be aware of what is going on around you. Try to anticipate potential dangers ahead. If you are alert and you spot someone acting suspiciously up ahead of you, you can avoid them. If you don’t see them at all, you could be running straight into a problem. Here’s a very good short video made by the Road Runners Club of America that has some good safety tips for solo running safety:

6. Vary Your Route

Don’t always run the same route at the same time. It’s a scary thought, but if someone knows your routine, they could be lying in wait for you. Vary your route and change the time that you set out. Being too predictable can be dangerous.

7. Carry Your Phone with You

A very simple running safety tip is to keep your phone with you. Lots of people ask; how can I carry my phone when I’m running? There is a whole range of products for carrying your phone when you are running or working out. Here’s just a couple of examples products for carrying your phone and belongings when you are running:

8. Run Against Road Traffic

Run against road traffic so that you can see oncoming vehicles. If you are facing the traffic coming towards you, you will be able to react quickly if it looks like a vehicle is heading towards you.

9. Stop and Look Both Ways Before Crossing a Road

Looking both ways before crossing a road is a basic safety precaution. It can, though, be tempting when you are running to quickly dash cross roads without looking properly. Stop when you reach a road and look both ways before crossing. You can always run on the spot for a few seconds if you don’t want to lose your rhythm. Obey all traffic signals as well. Runners are not immune from jaywalking regulations!

10. Wear Reflective Safety Gear for Runners

While we are one the topic of road safety for runners, do you wear any safety reflective gear for runners? High-visibility reflective vests will make you much more visible to drivers, especially when the light is poor. The sooner the driver of a vehicle sees you, the more time they will have to avoid you.

11. Don’t stop to Answer Questions

If you are running in a secluded area, don’t stop if someone asks you a question. Asking for the time or for directions is a common ploy of muggers. While you are talking to one person, an accomplice might come up behind you and assault you. It might appear to be rude to ignore someone, but just keep on running!

12. Think about What You Would Do If You Were Attacked

It’s not easy being prepared for a surprise attack, but if you have at least thought about what you would do if it happens you will be better prepared. If you practice your running safety moves in your mind, it will be more a reflex action if it ever happens in real life.

13. Take a self-defense class

Taking a basic self-defense class is a good idea anyway. It’s not just for running safety. A basic class won’t turn you into a Cynthia Rothrock overnight, but it will teach you how to get out of an attacker’s grasp and how to fight back.

14. Carry a Running Safety Pepper Spray

The standard types of pepper spray are not suitable personal safety devices for runners. But, there are some pepper sprays made especially for runners. These include wrist-worn pepper sprays and pepper sprays for runners that you hold in your hand. Here a few examples of the best pepper sprays for runners:

15. Carry ID

Carry your driver’s license or an ID card when you are out running. It’s also a good idea to write down your blood type, any medicines that you are allergic to, and a list of contacts for an emergency. Hopefully, none of the these will ever be needed. But, safer is better than sorry when it comes to running safety precautions.

16. Let Someone Know You Are Going for a Run

Tell a family member or a friend when you go on a run and tell them when you expect to be back home. That way, if you don’t get back home on time, the emergency services can be notified quickly. Even better, download an app that a friend can track where you are on. MapMyRun has a live tracking function, and so does Strava. Don’t, however, share your running location on social media.

17. Notify Police Immediately If Something Does Happen

Call the police immediately if something does happen, even if you are not injured or nothing has been stolen. You should also notify the police if you see anyone acting suspiciously. This is not just for your benefit, it’s for the benefit of everyone else as well.

18. Wear Running Safety Lights

Another personal safety device for runners that you may want to consider are LED running safety lights. These are small, lightweight LED lights that you can clip onto a belt or onto clothing. Some LED running safety lights also come in the form of an armband. They will make you visible in low-light conditions:

19. Don’t Wear a Your Hair in Ponytail

Think again about wearing a ponytail when you are out running. It might be comfortable, but it’s very easy for someone to grab hold of. Wear your hair in a bun instead. Or, anything that will make it more difficult for someone to grasp.

20. Keep Your Eyes Open and Trust Your Instinct

Running safety isn’t all about running safety gear. No amount of personal safety devices for runners will be better than common sense and your gut instinct. The best self-defense for runners is to stay alert. Keep your eyes and ears open> And, get the heck out of there if something doesn’t look right. Trust your instinct, it’s right more often than you think.


Many thanks for reading. If you have found this post helpful, please do share it with your friends on social media. If you have any great running safety tips of your own, please feel free to share them in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!

Have a great day and stay safe!