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10 Critical Safety Tips for Mom Runners That You Need To Know Right Now

I am a multi-passionate mom helping all parents become the best version of themselves and build positive relationships with their kids.

Running Tips for Mothers

Running Tips for Mothers

Undoubtedly you heard the tragic news of Eliza Fletcher, a mom, teacher, and runner who was abducted and eventually murdered during her early morning run.

While I wished we lived in a world where people could just go on a run without thinking of any safety measures, sadly we don’t.

As a runner myself who used to go on long jaunts on trails alone without a cell phone, I shudder to think of the decisions I used to make as a young female.

But ever since becoming a wife and a mother, I knew that I had to take some safety actions to ensure I would make it back alive as dramatic as that sounds.

The following tips are in no way blaming the victim, they are just a reminder that we have to upshift our level of awareness when we mom runners go out for a jog.

Share Your Location

Share Your Location

1. Share Your Location with a Loved One

The number one rule is to always, always share with your family where you are going for a run. As a mom who used to love to run with my son in the stroller on our city’s many trails, I would always share the name of the trail and where I was starting as soon as I arrived with my husband,

Also share how many miles you are doing and how long you should be gone. Tell them that you will call, NOT text them when you are done. Instruct them to alert someone or start a search if they haven’t heard back from you in x number of minutes or hours.

Time is of the essence when someone goes missing. Make sure you and your family are prepared to take action in this event.

Don't Let Strangers Know Where You Are

Don't Let Strangers Know Where You Are

2. Do Not Post Your Run Until After You're Done

I see a lot of people posting and sharing the location of their runs on Instagram, Strava, and other social media sites while they are actually on their run.

I advise against that. I would also caution against sharing the routes of your run period with anyone on the internet, but that is something you can think over for yourself.

The fact of the matter is that there are creepy people on the internet, and these strangers can get ahold of the location of your run and meet you there midrun. They can learn your normal routes and plan an attack. Think before you post.

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Don't Run the Same Way Every Day

Don't Run the Same Way Every Day

3. Change Up Your Routine

Which brings me to #3, change up your routine. Do you run at the same time and place every day? If yes, consider changing it up, especially if your normal running route is secluded and has little traffic.

Stalkers can observe your routine and learn where and when you are the most vulnerable just by watching your daily patterns.

I know for me, while I’m on a run, my defenses are not always up. I get lost in the run and my own thoughts. It’s my self-care time. I’m not swiveling my head and looking out for danger.

If you are doing the same route every day at the same time, you’re opening yourself up for unpleasant encounters.

Change it up.

Only Wear One Earbud at a Time

Only Wear One Earbud at a Time

4. Do Not Wear Two Ear Buds

On that same note, do not be totally lost in your run that you can’t hear anything behind you or to the side of you. That’s why I never wear headphones. I either run in silence or listen to something aloud. I don’t care if I’m “that girl.” I would rather be safe.

If you must listen to music with headphones, only put one in in order to keep the other ear open for any sounds that could alert you to threats.

Don't Run in the Dark

Don't Run in the Dark

5. Do Not Run in Secluded, Dark Places Alone

This is just a no. When running in the dark, if there isn’t a constant flow of people or traffic, do not run there. I know sometimes that us moms want to do our runs before the kids wake up or go to bed. I get that. But do not put your life at risk for your run.

If you must run in the dark, make sure you have the best nighttime gear and stay very close to home. Do multiple loops that pass your house. Run on the treadmill (blah, I know). Go to a gym that has a track and run there. Or look to join a running group, so you can run in a pack.

Carry Appropriate Materials

Carry Appropriate Materials

6. Carry an Emergency Kit

When running in a desolate place or alone, have an emergency kit readily available to place in your running stroller or running fanny pack. That includes all or one of the following: mace, pepper spray, pocket knife, flashlight, or rape whistle.

That way if you are ever attacked, you are prepared. Practice carrying these things around and taking them wherever you go. Get into the habit of remembering these things. Do not just brush it off if you forget them. “Oh, I won’t need it.” No, go back and get it until it becomes second nature.

Be Technologically Prepared

Be Technologically Prepared

7. Know How to Quickly Call for Help

If someone suspicious approaches you, know how to quickly call for help. Call out to your phone to dial 911 (“Hey Siri, dial 911.”). And yell the same information about the location of your attack, what your attacker looks like, and what is happening over and over in the hopes that 911 picks it up.

Another way is to press and hold the side button and one of the volume buttons until the Emergency SOS slider appears. Drag the Emergency SOS slider to call emergency services.

You can also rapidly press the side button on an iPhone 5 times. When you do that, an alarm will blare. After the alarm goes off, a countdown will start in which you can dial 911.

The quicker you can get a hold of some and share your location and what the suspicious person looks like, the more likely you are to ward off an attacker.

Be Bold

Be Bold

8. Be Bold

Likewise, be bold. If you see someone suspicious, square your shoulders and look them in the face. Pretend you are on a call, sharing your location. “Yeah, I’m running on Walnut Creek Greenway. Yeah, there are people around. I see a man wearing jeans and green top”

People looking to attack someone want an easy and vulnerable target, not someone who appears confident and crazy.

Be Loud

Be Loud

9. Yell Out Information

While teaching her courses, Robyn Warner, mom, runner, and attack survivor, always asks her participants what they would do in the event of an attack. She says all of them usually say that they would scream or make some noise. While Robyn says that is good, she preaches that we need to yell out actual information.

“Lauren Barrett, and I am getting attacked by a man. He is trying to assault me. Walnut Creek Greenway.”

Repeat over and over.

People scream. Kids can scream when they play. A parent can scream at her children. So the likelihood of a scream going ignored is higher than if we yell out information of what is happening to us.

Robyn says that this isn’t always easy at the moment, so we need to start practicing, especially at an early age.

You've Got This

You've Got This

10. Trust Your Gut

Finally, trust your gut. If you don’t feel safe running somewhere, don’t. End of story.

It can be a scary world out there, but I’m not going to let evil take away my runs. As a mom, I need them more than ever.

We, moms, need to stick together and make sure we are safe. Share this information with a loved one.

Run happy! And safe!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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