Millions of women exercise outdoors by themselves, often not putting much thought into staying safe when running, walking or hiking alone.
I walk alone. I run alone. Just me and my headphones – getting sunshine, exercise, and some alone-time mental therapy. It’s all very peaceful, until is isn’t. You never know when an attacker is lurking, so don’t lace up without reading these tips for staying safe when running alone:
5 Tips for Staying Safe When Running Alone
1. Wear your identification. This may be a necklace or bracelet, such as one from MedicAlert or RoadID. It may be an anklet, or even writing it on the inside of your shoe. You could also carry your personal identification (and perhaps a medical card) in a zippered sleeve, belt, in a pouch
2. Wear brightly colored clothing to make yourself visible to drivers. If you are running at dusk or at night, consider wearing a reflector vest while walking, running, biking, or hiking at night. Some runners prefer to wear reflective sleeves, since constantly swinging arms may be more easily visible to drivers.You could also consider wearing a clip-on light to both make you more visible and help you see your path.
3. If you can, bring along your cell phone by wearing it on your or arm or ankle in a phone carrier.
4. Carrying pepper spray may be helpful for personal protection since it works on both people and animals. You could also carry a small device that generates a loud alarm sound, which could scare off attackers and alert people to your danger.
5. Bring along every runner’s must have, and it isn’t a fancy new pair of sneakers. Recently I spoke with experts from Krav Maga Worldwide, which trains and certifies instructors at over 150 authorized training centers, as well as over 800 law enforcement agencies and military units. These are their tips for staying safe when running alone:
For most of us running is therapy; we put our favorites tunes in, we lace up and it is just the open road and us. With summer months quickly approaching many runners will find themselves trading in their afternoon run for a nighttime escape. As peaceful and tranquil as this sounds it is also important to understand the dangers of running once the sun goes down. Becoming the victim of a physical attack is something that runners should all be prepared for.
The first principal of using Krav Maga is to identify the danger or the most dangerous aspect of the attack. Begin by identifying what type of grabbing attack is being made. For example, the big danger in a bear hug attack, especially from behind, is the potential for the attacker to control the body of or lift the other person. Once the attacker controls your body they can lift you and carry you away (into a van, to a place where other people can’t see what’s going on, to a place where other people are waiting), they can lift you and slam you to the ground, or they can drag you around in similar fashion.
Krav Maga Worldwide™ teaches students that the best defense against a bear hug attack is to start fighting back right away. The first step is to drop your “base” or make yourself heavy. The second is to generate “space” from the attacker. In this case, because the attack is coming on from behind, you also have to “turn in” in order to fight. Here is a breakdown of each step:
Make a base.
Making your base heavier is relatively easy. When grabbed by the attacker in a bear hug, simply bend your legs and drop the level of your hips. Think of it as basically sitting down into a full squat (thighs parallel to the ground). Drop your hips and sit slightly back and into the attacker, with your head up, not folded forward. This immediately makes your center of gravity lower, which makes you more difficult to lift off of the ground. Dropping your base also puts pressure on the attacker as they know have to deal with your weight. From here, you can start to fight without the danger of being controlled and lifted from the ground.
You cannot let the attacker stay close to you in a bear hug. You especially cannot let the attacker keep his/her hips close to you. Think about the last time you moved a piece of furniture, or a box of something heavy, you don’t keep your hips far away from the object and rely on outstretched arms to lift it, you scoot your hips and body close to the object and get underneath it. Along the same lines, an attacker has to be close to you to control you in a bear hug attack. With your “base” low, immediately begin sending strikes in a side-to-side motion to vulnerable areas on the attacker. Krav Maga Worldwide™ students are taught to go for a groin strike first. This strike can be thrown whether your arms are “trapped” meaning encircled by the attacker’s arms, or “free”. A groin strike will often cause the attacker’s hips to reflexively move away thus creating space between your body and the attacker’s. Aggressive and continuous, side-to-side motion also serves to create space from the attacker by making you more difficult to hold onto. It’s more difficult to hold onto someone who is constantly wriggling, than it is to hold on to someone who is static.
When you feel you have a solid base, and continuous side -to-side strikes at vulnerable areas have created just a little bit of space between the attacker and yourself, you are going to “turn in” or turn toward the attacker to continue the fight. You can’t effectively finish the fight with the attacker on your back, and it’s certainly going to be more difficult to get away with an attacker hanging on you. Krav Maga Worldwide™ students are taught to recognize when sufficient space has been created, and make their move to “turn into” the fight where they have full use of all their strikes.
You can turn in either direction once the space is there, but whichever direction you turn, you are going to turn in behind your elbow. So, if you are rotating to your left to turn toward the attacker, you are going to raise your left arm in front of your face so that the targets of your face (nose, mouth, eyes) have something slightly blocking them in case the attacker is looking to strike at you. You can also use this raised arm to deliver elbows and hammer fist attacks as you are turning in. Once you have turned “into the fight” you will continue to aggressively strike at all vulnerable areas until you can get away without being impeded.
Stay safe out there!
Krav Maga offers the highest caliber of instruction to thousands of people, supporting the company’s core commitment to improving and saving lives. Krav Maga Worldwide continues to develop, promote and implement self-defense and fitness programs. For additional information, visit: www.kravmaga.com.
60+ Personal Safety Tips to Protect Yourself and Your Family
9 Natural Ways to Prevent or Get Rid of Sore Muscles
The Diet That Will Help You Live Longer & Healthier
Got 15 Minutes? Then Try the Metabolic Aftershock Workout
15 of the Most Popular Uses for Epsom Salt
My Favorite Healthy (& Green) Subscription Boxes
10 Tips for Natural Thyroid Support
How Olive Oil Affects Your Health
10 Ways Healthy People Begin Their Day
Say Goodbye to Toxins With These Detox Juice Cleanse Tips
20 Ways to Boost Your Workout Performance
10 Marathon Training Tips from a Running Coach
The One Piece of Exercise Equipment You Need for Body & Mind Transformation
Do We Really Need Sports Drinks to Replenish Electrolytes in the Body?
How Salt Therapy can Detox the Body and Clear the Mind
50+ Ways to Protect Yourself & Your Identity