Running helps us stay in shape, releases endorphins that help us feel happier, and gives us time to ourselves during our hectic day-to-day lives. However, there’s a less positive aspect of running in public areas: the risk of being attacked by an assailant. Here are some tips on staying safe when you’re out running alone in the rural parts of your city or state.
Be Real: Simple and effective martial arts techniques for the real world
A specific method of self-defense was developed for this book. As a first step, we developed 34 self-defense techniques specifically for those who do not practice martial arts. Ten hours is all we have to teach them to survive any violent attack.
Techniques include escaping from front chokes, punching and blocking punches, and even anti-carjacking strategies and methods. You will find all kinds of attacks in the real world. Disarming knives and handguns is a real-world issue that must be dealt with. These attacks we face in the real world, so “Be Real” means just that. The “kiss-off” acronym means “Keep It Simple Stupid or Face Failure.” Simple works in combat and complicated techniques are a disaster.
There are links to each section of the instructional video in the book, so you can click on the link to view that section. You can also scan the QR code and view the instructional video with your smartphone.
Run With a Partner
Find a running partner and run with them at least once a week. You’ll not only make new friends, but you’ll have someone there that can keep you safe should anything happen. Use Self-Defense Tools: In rural areas, the attacker is more likely to be armed or have access to other weapons. Always carry Self-Defense Tools on your person (pepper gel or knife).
Know what you’re running
Keep Your Phone Charged
The first thing you can do is keep your phone charged. You can accomplish this with a portable charger or a battery case. When your phone is fully charged, you can call for help, take pictures, and get directions if needed. A battery case will also protect your phone from any damage if it is dropped and may even save your life if the situation becomes dangerous.
Another way of staying safe when running in rural areas is by carrying self-defense tools like pepper gel, a Defender, or a stun gun on you at all times. Many self-defense tools are available, so make sure you know what kind of attacker you may be against before purchasing.
Tell Someone Where You’re Going
You may be surprised, but there is a possibility that you will encounter someone who wants to do you harm while running. This is especially true if you are in a rural area and running alone. You can reduce the likelihood of an attack on your next run. One suggestion is to let someone know where you’ll be running for safety in case something happens and they need to come looking for you.
Why carry pepper gel
Pepper gel is a non-lethal self-defense spray that has been shown to stop attackers in their tracks. It can be worn on your body for easy access, kept in your car, and used if attacked while running alone. The active ingredients of pepper gel are oleoresin capsicum and related capsaicinoids, found in chilies and other plants in the Capsicum genus.
Wear Bright Clothing
1. Wear bright clothes, such as neon colors or reflective gear. This will make it easier for cars, bikers, and other people in the area to see you.
2. Carry a pepper gel canister with you at all times (you can even get one that attaches to your keychain).
3. Carry a self-defense weapon [Defender] on a break-away lanyard.
4. Consider running with a friend if possible; this will allow someone else to call for help while they’re helping you fight off your attacker. Make sure they are armed and trained for self-defense too!
5. Practice self-defense moves at home to know how to react in any situation. The Defender Self-Defense Tool has FREE online training. Also, consider purchasing the “Be Real” Easy Martial Arts for the everyday person book.
6. Always look behind you before crossing any street.
7. Keep your phone charged and on you.
8. If you feel unsafe, take a different route.
9. Be aware of changes in your surroundings.
10. If someone approaches from behind, turn around quickly.
11. Don’t wear headphones when jogging.
Stick to Well-Lit Areas
Runners need to take safety precautions when running in rural areas. One of the most common safety mistakes runners make is running on secluded trails or paths with no one else around. If you have no choice but to run on a dark, isolated trail, carry a light and be aware of your surroundings. In addition, you should avoid running at night, as it is more dangerous than during the day. Always pay attention to other people walking or jogging on the trail so you can avoid any confrontations that might occur. Finally, if you are out at night, don’t wear headphones, as they will prevent you from hearing someone coming up behind you and potentially causing harm.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Always use your situational awareness skills. If someone approaches you or you see something suspicious, cross the street and don’t make eye contact. Trust your intuition and be alert. Carry your phone with you at all times so that if you get attacked, you can call for help, but don’t talk on the phone while running because it will slow your pace. Consider buying a running belt and wearing it under your clothes with a cell phone in the pouch. Besides carrying a phone, always carry pepper gel (if available), mace, stun gun, an “Extraordinary Defender,” or taser, effectively deter attackers from following through on their attack plans. For those who run outside during nighttime, consider investing in light reflective gear to ensure drivers are aware of your presence on the road.
Trust Your Gut
Keep an eye on your surroundings when you run, but the best way to avoid becoming a victim of crime is to trust your gut. When in doubt, stop running and start walking. If you are being followed, do not go home or enter a building with limited access points because this will put you at a greater risk of attack. When you are followed on the street, keep looking and ensure they are always in front of you until they pass. If you suspect someone is following you from behind, cross the street, so they are no longer behind you. Carry identification with you in an emergency.
Know the Local Laws
Ensure you understand the laws governing what you can and cannot do in self-defense. For example, in some states, it is illegal to put your hands on a perpetrator before they put their hands on you. Knowing your area’s laws will help you decide how far you’re willing to go when trying to protect yourself. Some people are content with just running away and calling for help. Others might want to be more proactive and use more forceful measures. It’s up to you!
As a runner, you’ll want to provide all critical information to medical personnel when you can’t talk or tell them what to do for you. Your identification should include your name, emergency contact number, allergies, and blood type. Identity can be carried in various places – for instance, a running belt, a tag on a shoe, or a reflective bracelet.
These days, there are so many options available for anyone’s comfortable choice of identification; it’s never been easier.
City vs. Country
Rural areas are only sometimes safe for runners. Kathy Wright, a runner, self-defense instructor, and former policewoman, says country roads and wooded trails are peaceful, but you have less access to help.
City streets, on the other hand, are more populated. As a result of sharp curves and poor lighting, back roads can be challenging to spot and are often narrow with no sidewalks, which puts you too close to traffic. Back roads also need to provide better visibility for drivers.
There is also the difference between city dogs and their country cousins regarding leash use. Running in the country presents its hazards, so be prepared.
Get Familiar With Your Route Ahead Of Time
While exploring on the run, you may get lost, get stuck in inclement weather, or encounter other dangers. Running on country roads, trails, etc., has fewer prominent landmarks than urban routes, so this advice is even more crucial.
In a matter of seconds, you can find an exact route with precise distances with the available technology, such as Google Maps. It is less dangerous to run alone if you are unfamiliar with the area, but many runners explore new routes with friends when they are unfamiliar with the area. The route can also be tracked in real-time by GPS on many smartphones and watches.
It is possible to share one’s route with an emergency contact via apps on their phones, such as Google Maps or Kitestring, if there is no one to run with. It’s important to note that many apps require WIFI to function, and WIFI is only sometimes available in rural areas. Prepare ahead of time, plan the route and relax into it.
It should be relaxing and therapeutic to run, especially outside. Having your identification with you, maintaining a safe running route, and not wearing earbuds can help you focus on your run and stay safe.
Following these safety tips will allow you to enjoy running in the country, and there is no better time to start than now.
Taking safety precautions is an essential part of staying confident as a runner. It doesn’t mean they guarantee their safety (that’s impossible) or that anyone hurt or worse might have been spared by taking more precautions (that’s victim-blaming).
They are practicing risk-aversion results in better, less stressful workouts.
“Women should possess a certain level of risk aversion when running since they are vulnerable,” says Professor Laura Dugan of the University of Maryland’s College of Criminology and Criminal Justice. “Through risk aversion, women can make decisions that reduce their vulnerability and allow them to enjoy running.”
Nail these self-defense maneuvers
“In case of an attack while running, use your powerful voice. Clinical nutritionist Jennifer Cassetta, the self-defense expert who founded Stilettos and Self Defense techniques, recommends shouting, shouting FIRE, cursing, and doing whatever it takes to shock your attacker into changing their minds.
The following tactics can be used if things get physical:
- Drop your center of gravity if you are grabbed, pulled, or attempted to [be thrown] to the ground. Get into a wider stance, so you are less likely to be knocked down.
- Once you have acquired the targets, fire away, the most effective soft targets are a male attacker’s eyes, throat, and groin.
- Jab fingers into the eyes.
- Strike straight at the throat to disrupt breathing.
- You can punch or knee the groin to loosen a grip or hold on you.
- As you fire away, try to dodge or block any blows coming toward your head or face until you might have a chance to escape.
- You can still fight back if you are thrown to the ground. Keep firing away with your hands, fists, and legs. You can use your hips to throw an attacker off you if thrown to the ground.
The better you plan your itinerary; the easier your run will be. Spend time to consider where you might encounter dangers, such as empty and hidden places or poor visibility, and create a plan of where you would go and what you would do if something went wrong. Having safe houses along your route and imagining potential dangers ahead of time is recommended. Instead of waiting for something terrible to happen and trying to react when it does, practicing what you’ll do before something happens is always a good idea.
If you feel like someone might be following you, head in the opposite direction quickly while looking over your shoulder to see if they are still there. If they follow you, walk confidently, and pretend nothing is happening, they don’t know they’ve been made. Keep an eye out for self-defense weapons around you like rocks, bottles, sticks, etc., and use them!
The key takeaway is that planning can help to avoid problems before they occur.
Are males at risk?
Male runners are less cautious because they do not expect a confrontation. Robberies are common in parking lots of popular running locations. People often leave their wallets in the glove compartment or under the seat. Keep your valuables in the trunk and your keys on hand. Because he’s stretching, don’t assume he’s another runner. He might be trying to blend in, waiting for your car to be stolen.”
The Invincibility Complex can lead runners to overestimate their abilities, resulting in potentially dangerous situations. Because you are strong and capable, you think no one can hurt you no matter where you go. The time is late at night. I am the only one here.
Runners are relentless to a fault when it comes to running. According to Dallas Police Department member Sheila Cavanagh, nothing will stop us; this can lead to danger. Runners tend to be dedicated to their training and forget their safety, says Cavanagh, who runs safety programs. It doesn’t matter to them that their intuition warns them that danger is ahead, so they go around it instead of stopping and avoiding it.
Running is our passion. Like anything we love, we are very protective of it. Cavanagh says runners aren’t interested in anything interfering with their enjoyment. Running is associated with harmful and dangerous associations, so they put blinders on.”
Our route has been the same for years without any issues. We’ve always felt safe running this route, which is why we still do it. However, it’s important not to confuse feeling safe with being safe, says Kathy Wright, a former policewoman and RAD instructor; criminals don’t recognize boundaries. Always be aware of what’s going on around you.
The reasoning behind feeling invincible is simple. No one wants to stop running. We want our runs uninterrupted and stress-free, so we ignore what our intuition tells us about a situation. Cavanagh says that when we are fearful, it increases our heart rate, pumps adrenaline through our system, and generates feelings of discomfort or distress. When people run from those feelings, they can lead themselves into danger.
What should runners do?
Ideally, you want to avoid the problems before they happen. Indeed, Wright said risk reduction is 90% of self-defense.
Consequently, begin integrating these strategies into your routine. But don’t be worried; in no time, these strategies will be like second nature to you
These three strategies are a must:
– Plan ahead. Look at the route, where you might get attacked, what you will do, and safe escape routes plus places. You can always use Google Maps or Google Earth to find suitable running routes in advance of your trip (e.g., on Google Maps or Google Earth). Look for nearby parks, green spaces, landmarks, and elevated views. Rivers are ideal for out-and-back routes if you need more confidence finding your way on loop courses. A little planning in advance will save you a lot of time, and you will be safer.
– Use the buddy system. Find someone who you can run with. The safety advantage is multifaceted. Your friends can tell if you’re going too hard and urge you to slow down or stop. Also, you never know what you may encounter when running in an unfamiliar area or on a remote trail. For those reasons, another person can be helpful. Whether running during the daytime or at night, for women, it is always a good idea to have someone accompany you.
– Tell a friend. You can also call them when you’re out on a run so that someone knows where you are if anything happens. It’s always better to have too many people know about your whereabouts rather than not enough. However, if you want to keep your location private from everyone but the one you trust, some apps allow for the selective sharing of location data. If you decide to go this route, remember to turn off all location settings when not using the app because it does take up battery life. Another critical feature is sharing my location, which allows users to share their GPS coordinates through text messages. Lastly, downloading an app with a feature such as a panic button allows you to contact emergency services with just one touch of the screen, which could come in handy if someone is chasing you.
Join/start a local running group that addresses your concerns
Some of us love to run at night, but women are highly vulnerable to predators when alone. Taking action in a group is the easiest way to handle this, but why consider forming or joining a local movement that aims to empower women and involve men through conversation and action?
For a start, you can look at your workplace.
In collaboration with my coworkers, we created a movement called Despite the Dark that sheds light on women’s safety concerns when running at night. Rachel Colonna is a creative studio designer and a founding member. After recent tragedies such as Wendy Martinez’s murder and Mollie Tibbets’ murder, women colleagues became less willing to run.
As a result of this experience, we are building a community of runners to ensure a safe environment, says Colonna. While it is difficult to be 100 percent safe at all times, we have found a way to cope with the severity of these situations and find an answer by starting a conversation and a community.”
Take a Self-Defense Class
The best defense is a good offense. It’s always important to know how to protect yourself in any situation, but when you’re out running in a country with fewer people, it becomes even more crucial. There are several books that you should purchase, learn, and use:
1) Be Real: Simple and effective martial arts techniques for the real world
2) The Self-Defense Tools: The Defenders
All are available on Amazon.com. Search “Peter Brusso” to find them quickly.
Carry a Defender with a break-away lanyard
You probably don’t think about self-defense when you go on a run. You should. Many of us take the same routes daily and jog at the exact times, making it easy for a potential attacker to anticipate your routine. So you must be prepared and have a plan in place if something ever happens, like carrying a Self Defense Tool with you while running in rural areas! The Defender is lightweight, easy-to-carry (only weighing 3 ounces), and completely discreet–so there will be no way for anyone else to know that you’re carrying one on your run.
To summarize, we recommend running with a partner whenever possible, not wearing headphones, and carrying your cell phone in a pocket or armband. If you don’t have a partner, at least carry pepper gel or some other form of self-defense. Even though you might feel safe in your neighborhood, everything takes one incident to change.
When you run, it might not be a good idea to carry credit cards or social security numbers, or any other sensitive information. Mobile devices are a must for your personal safety. Never, if possible, in the first place, leave your credit card information back in the parking lot! All private information, credit card number, or other sensitive data should be placed in a safe place. At least don’t let them be an easy target. Best practices advised to us by law enforcement are using strong passwords, and two-factor authentication is always the best option.
They also tell us to have an “escape route” identified in our running event. They also suggest carrying pepper spray, but we counsel pepper gel as it does better in the wind, rain, and in the early morning with “humid” air. Physical security is boosted by black belt training, strength training, and other safety devices. Also, local police suggest you do not carry sensitive personal information on you when you run, like credit card details, unique passwords, or secure password information, and this is really very true for female runners.
The last thing you want is for this type of information to fall into the wrong hands. Remember to use running apps that alert at least one family member where you are running. Don’t use social media because the bad guys use that, too; no need to tell them where you are! Text message is ok to use and just make sure other online services that you want to use are secure. And when it comes to weapons of opportunity, remember a sharp object is a great suggestion to a potential threat. Run safely, and remember to consider the Self-Defense Weapon known as a “Defender.”