WOMEN'S RUNNING SAFETY TIPS
We love our Comrades female runners and want you to be safe out there. Here are some running safety tips for you to consider when out training:
Be aware of your surroundings: Headphones are great for playing tunes that help motivate you while running but they can also block out a surrounding sound that could alert you to danger. Try to keep your headphone volume low if you feel you must use them.
Stay in contact: Let someone know when you are going to be running and what route you will be following. You can also check in with them at the end of your run with a simple text message. If you’re single or live alone, ask a few friends to be in a running WhatsApp group so you can fill this role for each other.
Vary the times of your runs: Attacks while you are running are often spontaneous attacks when a perpetrator spots an opportunity. However, predictable patterns are also a safety concern. Try to have some variation in the timing of your runs and avoid running when it is dark or in isolated areas. You could run an hour earlier or later and change up your routine when it comes to the days of the week when you choose to run.
Carry a whistle: You can buy a sports whistle from R60 to R130 and having it on a lanyard around your neck means you can raise the alarm quite quickly if you feel unsafe. The loud noise may also startle your attacker into running away.
Run in a group: There’s safety in numbers.
Watch the clock: It is much safer to run during the day. Especially in winter, the days can get quite short. Darkness makes it much harder for us to identify potential threats. So stay on top of your running schedule. Avoid running alone before sunrise and after sunset. Besides daylight, there are also less people around which could see you or help you, if need be. The best is to run in areas which a well-lit and populated.
Always trust your instincts: You have a bad feeling in your guts? Trust them! If you feel strange about a situation or a person then avoid it. It is better to be safe than sorry. As a female you are blessed with intuition, use it. If there is proof or not, if someone looks suspicious to you or gives you a funny feeling, move away, cross the street or choose another way. Don’t feel sorry, your safety comes first.
Use your voice: If you are in a situation where you don`t feel safe, don`t be embarrassed to use your voice. Call out for attention, scream if you have to. To shout out: ‘Fire!’ has been the most effective way to get help from the public. As a woman you must prove that you are not an easy target. If screaming like a mad one will save you, go for it.
Keep valuables at home: Most criminals attack you because they want to get hold of your valuables. If you still want to take your phone with you, also for safety reasons, then keep it in a place out of sight. Remember to take off any kind of jewellery before your run. And again headphones will give away that you are running with a phone or music device.
Show others that you are confident: Always run confidently, which means stand tall, head up and focused. If someone watches you, be confident and look right in their eyes. This indicates your inner strength and shows the other person you have seen and noticed them. If you are a shy person, fake it till you make it. Confidence is a huge deterrent.
Know your routes: Knowing your route is key to a safe run. Avoid looking lost and especially to be lost. Perpetrators are likely to look for people unaware of their surroundings. Stay clear from running routes through isolated areas. Besides that, change your route from time to time. This prevents you from being predictable.
Wear reflective kit: Avoid all-black running kit as it usually makes you less easy to see. Stay visible so cars, pedestrians, and all other road users can see you. Invest in a bright coloured top or jacket, wear gloves with reflective areas, or use light-up running armbands. You might even want to use a running headtorch or cross-body chest torch to make you more visible and help you light the path ahead.
Run facing incoming traffic: Did you know that the correct way to run on the road is to run facing incoming traffic? This gives motorists more time to see you and allows you more time to make decisions about moving. If you are running on a blind corner or over a hill, always use the pavement or grass verge. Never underestimate how little time motorists have to see you.
Reference: www.running4women.com and other websites