Safety in Numbers

With 50K training in full swing, I’ve begun venturing out in the wee hours of the morning on Tuesdays in order to get my miles in and have fantastic company in the process. When I say wee hours of the morning, I’m talking early. In other words, having to wake up at 3:55AM in order to be out the door by 4:20AM and meeting the girls at 4:30AM. As my friend Sharon always jokes, the only people out that time of morning are drunks and runners. Which is a pretty valid statement.

Aside from the obvious struggle of simply being up that time of day, it can be a somewhat uncomfortable situation running when it’s THAT dark and THAT early. On this morning’s run, we had two discussions regarding what constitutes safe running in the early mornings for women; Really, these tips apply to running at any time of the day.

  1. Run with a partner or group – There is safety in numbers. Someone who may be out to attack 9 times out of 10 isn’t going to go after a group. No matter how strong they think they are, they will be outnumbered.
  2. Change your routes up – Don’t ever run the exact same route day after day. Someone may pick up on your pattern and lie in waiting for you to pass by. Even something as simple as running your preferred route backwards would change the time you run past specific locations.
  3. Carry noise, but not headphones – Running alone while wearing headphones, particularly later in the evening and early in the morning, is asking to be attacked. Not only can you not hear what’s going on around you, but your focus is likely on what song is playing instead of being able to scan your surroundings for potential threats. You could carry a whistle or mini air horn – anything that would deter someone if you were able to attract attention.
  4. Wear bright colored clothing and lights – This tip is important not only for pure physical safety (like not falling or being hit by a car) and also allows more than just those close to you to see you in the distance. Headlamps and blinkers notify people you’re approaching in addition to making it much easier to see.
  5. Run in well lit areas – This should be a given!

Do you all have any other safety tips that you put into place for those early morning or late evening runs?


6 thoughts on “Safety in Numbers

  1. Let someone know of your intended route and time the day(night) before running, someone not running with you. When you finish with your run, call them to let them know.(You’re safe). Just a suggestion.

  2. Maybe this is an obvious one, but make sure at least one person in the group is running with a phone. God forbid you need to call an ambulance or the police, but it could happen!

    1. You’re totally right Katie! And I can’t believe I forgot that. We just had this experience a month or so ago when a friend clipped a curb and we had to flag down a passing car to use their cell phone. NO runners that passed had cell phones on them. Great catch!

      1. Whew, I was afraid it was too simple and that’s why it wasn’t on the list 🙂 I’m the type that has to put “wear pants” on a to-do list everyday 😉

      2. Not at all! I have a similar problem. Often times I have to remind myself to actually PICK UP my feet when I run. 🙂

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