November is National Runner Safety Month which is dedicated to increasing runner safety through education and awareness. Here are 5 tips to make sure you run safely.
If at all possible run with a "buddy"! If you can't make the "buddy" system work, the next best alternative is to let someone know where you'll be and when to expect you back. Technology makes this easy, many phone apps now offer free services that send your contacts a text message with your location, so they can track your safety throughout an activity such as running or biking.
If you run before the sun comes up or after dark be sure to illuminate yourself. Last month, while out for an evening run around my the neighborhood I was almost hit by a neighbor. It happened so quickly, he was distracted and didn't see me. I jumped into the ditch to avoid a collision. I now make sure to wear reflective clothing and a clip-on flashing strobe light. Drivers can see runners who wear proper visibility gear from 6X the distance than those runners who don't.
Many of us put the headphones in, turn up the music and zone out. It's really important to turn the music down so you can hear what's going on around you. Consider wearing headphones in only one ear. Lack of awareness can make you an attractive target to criminals. Dog attacks should also be a concern.
Alternate your route weekly. If you take the same route, at the same time each day you could potentially become an easy target for assailants. Instead, change your route frequently while adjusting the times you run accordingly.
Bring a self defense product. Consider carrying a canister of pepper spray and a personal alarm. These items can save your life during an attack. Pepper spray is highly effective at deterring both human and animal attacks. A personal alarm emits high decibel sound - its sole purpose is to make noise and attract attention during an emergency.