If you are looking to stay safe on your next run, follow these easy tips, courtesy of The Run Collective and #RunnerSafetyAwarenessWeek (recap by Alison Kotch)
Contact the D.O.T. to report lights out in the park
If you come across a lamp that is out in the park, don’t call 311 or the Parks Department. Take a picture of the lampost (including its unique ID code). Tweet it to @nyc_dot for the quickest response. If multiple people report the lamp it should get fixed more quickly.
Contact the 78th Precinct
Run with groups
(even if you’re running alone)
There’s safety in numbers, so trailing behind a larger pack of runners (even if you want to run solo that day) means you’ll be near others who can bail you out of a potentially uncomfortable and/or threatening situation.
Consider different headphones
Running without music can be tough, and it’s often the only thing that can push you through those last few miles. If you can’t give it up when you’re outside, consider a pair of headphones, such as Trekz Air by Aftershokz, which sit just outside your ear and allow street noise in.
Let people know your preferred run time
Are you an early-morning runner, afternoon jogger, or someone who prefers to head out after dark? Make sure you have a handful of family or friends who know your schedule. They’ll know if you’re missing, and you might find other runners willing to keep you company.
Consider carrying a self-defense tool and whistle
A pair of keys, or a compact tool that’s strong enough to break glass (such as the Resqme keychain), will give you extra assurance that you’re equipped to defend yourself if attacked.
A whistle is a good way to alert others that you are in danger. It may also cause enough commotion that a would-be attacker will back off.
Put Strava to work
While Strava is great for tracking workouts and keeping tabs on your run crew’s routes and training frequency, the Beacon safety feature will alert your contacts to your whereabouts in real time via GPS… a more modern version of that post-it note you always leave on the fridge.
Male runners: Know what’s helpful… and what’s not
If you’re a male runner looking to help a female runner in trouble, be observant and follow their emotional lead. You might be tempted to immediately yell, curse at or even punch the offender: Don’t.
Speak in a calm manner first to avoid escalating things into an even bigger confrontation.
Use Siren GPS
This app shares your location and profile with your emergency contact, the dispatch operator and nearest first responder, which can improve response times by 40 percent — which can be critical when you’re confronted alone on the run.
Trust your intuition
The last tip (and undoubtedly the most important): If something feels right, you know it. Same goes for when it doesn’t: If you’re running a route and suddenly get a feeling like you should GTFO, don’t ignore that gut-feeling.
But don’t let fear keep you indoors, either! Twenty-four percent of a survey of 800 women said they pay to run on treadmills because they don’t feel safe running outdoors. Running outdoors is often more fun, more enjoyable, and a better workout than staying in the gym… so it pays to empower yourself before you head outdoors.