A few months ago, A young female runner was murdered on a trail in California (I want to say San Diego-area). There were a number of blog posts in this blogging world reflecting on that tragedy and the general media was all up on the story as well as providing safety tips while running. Today, I ask you to give safety a little thought during your run. We cannot let our guard down at any time. And waiting to think about safety after a tragedy has happened would be too late.
Here are some tips I gathered/thought of. General, simple tips but I think they go a long way.
1. Don't wear headsets. If you do, turn the volume down a whole notch and more. You don't need to blast your tympanic membrane. Use your ears to be aware of your surroundings (that means traffic, crazy scary dogs that are ready to bite your booty, stalkers/paparazzi running after you, or a fellow runner who is calling for help.)
2. Carry a cell phone with you. Check this story out about a triathlete twittering for help. Probably we may not get any signal, but maybe we can still send a text or post something on Facebook or Twitter if we fell or got lost.
3. Trust your intuition about a person/area. If your gut feeling says "uh oh," you better listen to it.
4. Alter/vary your running days/routes.
5. Carry identification - Road ID, writing your name and other identifiable information on a white sticky label and carry that with you, or just writing those info down on the back of your shoes, shirts, shorts. Or get a tatoo. Maybe not.
6. Run against traffic. Growing up in Singapore, my folks and school taught me to walk against the traffic. You want to be sure to see a vehicle coming and you avoiding it before you get hit.
7. Run with friends or your dog. I don't know how a little chihuahua will hold up but hey, if you have a German Shepherd, that's pretty bada$$. Be sure to check on your city's law (some cities has leash laws etc).
8. Always let someone know where you are going, where you are running, how far you are gonna run, when you will be back. BUT ...
9. PLEASE DO NOT POST those information on your Facebook status or Twitter account. It's like "Hey! I am gonna be running on the deserted trail, come rape/rob me/ burglar my house!" I love updating my FB statuses and probably am guilty of that sometimes, but please do think a little before you post pertinent personal information on social networking Web sites. And when you use things like mapmyrun, don't save the route for others to see. I use mapmyrun just to get a general idea of where I am heading and to chalk up enough miles to meet my training needs. But I don't share that route info online with anyone else.
10. FAKE IT. Seriously. When I run and I get awfully tired and drained, whenever there is a vehicle approaching or whenever I am running toward someone, I try to look refreshed, confident, full of power and have that "I'm Power Puff Girl and don't you mess with me!" look. Appear weak, the wolves will come get you.
Help me and other fellow runners out here. Share your tips! And let's be run safe, together.