Running has always been something of an individualist’s sport. But with the days growing shorter and quite frankly, the lack of safety when doing things alone these days, running clubs have become pretty popular. But what if you’re a woman and you prefer to run alone or can’t join when the running club meets?
Here are our top 5 tips for keeping safe when exercising alone in public spaces.
1. Run with a Pepper Spray
And make sure you know how to use it effectively. Regardless of your preferred route, running with a small canister of pepper spray will put your mind at ease in a big way. Yes, it may not defend you against an actual weapon, but it will at least buy you enough time to hopefully get away from your potential attacker. You can order a pepper spray and shop other defence tools here.
2. Avoid listening to music while running
Yes, we know we know, running while listening to your favourite workout playlist is better than most things. But when you’re running alone and in a secluded area, it’s best to leave the AirPods at home so you can concentrate on your surroundings.
3. Make changes with the seasons
Starting your day with a run is optimal, but when the sun only rises at 7:30 am, it’s not entirely realistic or safe to run alone in the dark. We recommend adjusting your workout schedule to accommodate for the change in seasons in an effort to prioritise safety.
4. Tell a friend where you’re going
Running alone is fine, just make sure a friend, family member or partner knows where you’re headed. Tech-forward ways to do this are by sharing your live location with someone or, specifically for trail runners, joining a Whatsapp group like SafetyMountain Tracking. The purpose of these methods is in case you disappear or get injured along the way, someone knows where to come and look for you.
5. Learn a few self-defence manoeuvres
Full self-defence training is not necessary unless you’re into that sort of thing. But doing some research and training yourself in the best way to fend off an attacker is well worth the effort.
Here are some easy self-defence tactics:
- Throat punch to disrupt breathing
- Finger jab to the eyes
- Widen your stance to avoid being knocked down
- Punch or knee the groin
Our reality is a world that underestimates women and often leaves them feeling unsafe. But this reality shouldn’t hold you back from living or doing what you enjoy. We hope the above content has prepared you and inspired you to run around the beautiful streets and mountains of Cape Town, because you can.