Safety Tips for Runners & How to Be an Ally

First and foremost, staying safe – whether as a runner or in general – is often not something that you can control. You can make small changes in your behavior, but in reality, it is up to all of us to keep each other safe. 

Running alone in the dark or in certain areas can be dangerous for everyone, although statistics show that women are at a disproportionately high risk of gender-based violence. One in three women are subjected to physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.(1) We’ll give you some tips on how to increase your safety and also give you practical advice on how to step in when someone needs help.

woman running in the dark

5 Safety Tips for Runners

1. Run in daylight hours
Try early mornings or evenings in the summer, as it’s also a great way to escape the heat and avoid excessive sun exposure. If you can’t squeeze in a daytime run when the days are shorter, try wearing a headlamp. It will light your way, make you more visible to others, and make it possible for you to see what’s going on around you.

2. Keep your ears open
Although music can really motivate you during a run, wearing earbuds makes it almost impossible to hear someone or something approaching you. With your ears free, your brain will register unusual noises around you, whether it’s a person, an aggressive animal, or an unexpected vehicle. 

3. Change your route
Don’t be predictable. If you run the same route at the same time, people know where and when to expect you. Mix things up; it keeps you safe and adds more variety to your routine. Why not leave the concrete jungle and hit the trails for a change? 

4. Bring your phone
Although there are amazing wearables out there that are compatible with adidas Running, if it’s dark outside or you’re feeling unsafe for some reason, bring your phone with you. If you run into trouble, you’ll be able to make a call, but you can also call for help if you see someone else needs it.

5. Use the LIVE function in the adidas Running app
Connect with friends in the adidas Running app and use the LIVE tracking feature to allow them to see where you are. If you’re feeling uncomfortable about a run, tell someone to keep their eye on your GPS track and when you expect to be home.

woman running at sunset

We asked our Instagram followers to share their thoughts on running safety with us. This is what we learned: Out of over 1000 users who participated in the poll, 64.7% said they have feared for their safety while running. The most common safety concerns are dogs, vehicles, and being attacked, harassed, or catcalled by men

Reframe the Conversation: How to Be an Ally

The conversation about safety needs to change. There’s only so much you can do to keep yourself safe. Following the safety tips above will lower your risk but not eliminate it. It’s time for all of us to step up and take an active role in increasing everyone’s safety. 

Let’s say you’re out running and you see someone being harassed or even attacked. Would you know how to intervene? Would you have the confidence to do it?  Hollaback, a global movement to end harassment in all forms, offers some clear options bystanders can choose from to address street harassment and violence:

5 Ways to Take Action

1. Distract
Cause a distraction to make the victim less of a target, e.g. pretend you know them, call out to them in a loud voice, ask for directions.

2. Delegate
Ask someone nearby to get involved by giving them specific instructions or call for help.

3. Document
Record what you see in a video, note down time and place.

4. Delay & Debrief
Don’t leave; talk to the victim after the incident to see if they need help.

5. Direct
If you can, speak directly to the harasser in clear language, e.g. Let go of her arm, stop following him. Let both the victim and the perpetrator know that you see what is going on. 

man recovering after run

Running Safety for All

No matter who you are, what you look like, or where you run, it’s essential that we all work to increase running safety. Do what you can to keep yourself safe, and use the strategies above to intervene when someone else needs help. 

The beautiful thing about running is that you don’t need much equipment to do it. Everyone with the will and physical ability to run should feel safe enough to do it. Keep your eyes and ears open, get out there, and run.

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