I think often times we take our safety for granted (at least I know I do myself). We feel safe, think "nothing will ever happen to me", well, unfortunately, that is not always the case. With that said, I thought I would put together a few ways to stay safe while running - specifically when it comes to creepers (instead of tips such as wearing bright clothing, using reflective gear between sunset and sunrise, running against traffic, etc).
Running Safety Tips
In case there is ever an instance where you are unable to speak for yourself, having something that can speak for you can save precious moments. I rock RoadID bracelets (and have them in just about every color to match my outfit ;)), but know that there are other companies out there that offer something similar. I prefer the Wrist ID Sport because it has Velcro and I can make it as small as I need (remember, my wedding ring is a size 3.5, so I have tiny wrists too), but there are a plethora of products - including ones that can attach to your Garmin or FitBit products, ones that are made of silicon or leather and ones that can attach to your shoe if you would rather not wear something on your wrist. Also, I carry my Driver's License on me at all times. (My phone case holds 3 cards, so as long as I have my phone I have my ID and two credit cards on me.) God forbid that something ever happens, but if it does, you should be prepared.
Use Tracking Apps
I always tell my hubby he is too much of a worry wart, but I know that I may be on the other end of the spectrum and am a little too naive. With that said, he appreciates when I use a tracking app so that he can follow along on my solo long runs. There are a couple options that I've used in the past (both the RoadID app that send eCrumbs along your route and the LiveTrack option within my Garmin Connect) which send notifications while you are out running (or riding). You can even set up alarms that will go off if you are in one space for more than a specified time limit. One thing to keep in mind is that this will use your location services on your phone so can run your battery down faster than normal, but it's a small price to pay for piece of mind (especially if you ask my hubby).
Consider Mace / Pepper Spray
Let me preface this by saying I do not carry any type of spray with me on my runs, but, if I am honest, it is because I don't want to carry yet another thing in my hands (I normally run with my phone in one hand and my keys in the other). Once I shared about the FedEx peeping tom incident with my mom, she said that maybe I should consider it. I haven't completely ruled it out and know that some of my runner friends do carry some sort of protection, so I figured I'd at least throw it out there as something to think about.
Run with Friends / Join a Running Group
There is definitely strength in numbers. I am lucky that my hubby runs with me (anywhere from 1-3 times a week), but the majority of my runs (especially my long ones) are done on my own. I realize that I am a bigger target on my own than if I was running with a friend or group. Have you ever considered joining a running group? I know our local running store offers fun runs and workouts (although I have never taken advantage of them) and many areas have running clubs that meet up weekly. Maybe you can't make it happen on a daily basis, but finding a running partner or group to join can definitely help with your safety. PS Running friends can totally have 4 legs (those may even deter creeps more)!
Change Your Route
Do you run the same route all the time? Don't get me wrong, sometimes it is out of necessity. I know for me, there is a route around our place that I run once or twice a week because I don't have to drive anywhere and can leave straight from our house. The issue is, if anyone is creeping on you, they know exactly where to find you! If you aren't willing to change up your route on a daily basis, at least consider adjusting the times of day at which you are running. Obviously some of us don't have that convenience (i.e. having to run before work, on our lunch break, before grabbing the kids from school, etc), but when at all possible - change it up! (Breaking the routing can also help to keep running fun.)
Run in Well Populated Areas
If you are going to run on your own, make sure you do it in a well populated area. Although where we live is safe (or at least it feels that way to me), if I am heading out for a long run before the sun comes up, the hubby stresses the importance of me running a specific route. It is slightly inconvenient because I have to drive there, but I know that I will see bikers and runners out (one of the many benefits of living in health-conscious Southern California) no matter the time of day. Sure, creepers may creep no matter where you are at, but they tend to be less likely to creep when there are more people around to witness and report their creepiness.
I know that following these tips does not guarantee safety, but anything we can do to increase our likelihood of making it home another day is something I am willing to do...
Are there any tips you think I might have I left out?