When you head out on a jog or a hike, your biggest fear shouldn't be bears or coyotes or Mountain Lions. It should be other people.
According to a 2016 survey by Runner’s World Magazine, 43 percent of women have experienced harassment during training compared to just four percent for men. While much of the harassment is verbal, it can sometimes turn violent.
If you're going to be jogging or hiking without any personal self defense weapons than consider the tips below before you go on your next adventure.
1. Get a buddy. Safety in numbers! Running with a friend not only boosts your security on a nighttime run — it works accountability into your exercise routine. If you can’t find a friend to join you, run with a dog. (No reason your pet can’t get fit too! If you don’t have a dog of your own, there’s probably a friend or neighbor who’d be grateful their buddy is getting the extra activity.)
2. Stand out. Every runner knows that one key element of safety is simply being seen. Wearing reflective gear when running at night can help you stand out to passersby. These days, reflective accessories don’t have to make you look like a school crossing guard or construction worker: A simple lit armband or head lamp will do the trick.
3. Sharing is (and isn’t) caring. Another individual’s awareness of your activity can add an extra layer of protection to your run. “Make sure a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member knows where you are going and approximately when you expect to return,” recommends Rejent-Lee. On the other hand, sharing your running plans broadly on social media isn’t the wisest choice. While you may believe your online audience to be trustworthy, can you really vouch for everyone in it? Use caution before broadcasting your whereabouts during a nighttime run.
4. Get packing. While you don’t want to allow your phone to distract you from your surroundings, taking it along on a run is a best practice, on the off chance you should need to make an emergency call. Don’t leave home without an ID, either. Rejent-Lee also suggests women runners “think in terms of everyday items that can be used as weapons. A cell phone is a good striking tool, as are certain key chains or sprays designed for self-defense purposes (if you’re trained and prepared).”