Safe running for longer distances?

I recently graduated from C25K and I am now running 5K X 3 times a week. Had 2 great runs this week and ran for 6K which is surprising! As I am running further, trying to find good places to go that don't involve endless circuits of the playing field. I don always like trudging on the Tarmac and today ran through some woods along a gravel track.

I felt reasonably ok with it. Had my phone, personal alarm and there were several dog walkers around but a friend said it was worrying I run in the country. Frustrating because what alternative is there - don't have anyone to run with and don't like running clubs.

As the distances get longer, this is getting harder. Julie

14 Replies

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  • Bless u,methinks for thinking about it! My OH cycles and I run, we tend to do different stuff because I can't compete and would've given up if he was running with me! Great u have something active u can do together. I feel I minimise risk by running in town in the dark, my OH could see where I am on the tracker and I have considered what I would do if I was approached, don't think it would be pretty

  • Hi Julie,

    I wouldn't want to recommend an answer based on technology, and so please make sure that someone knows when and where you plan to be running. Putting things into perspective the most likely problems when you're out on the trails are getting lost, and having an injury that could either slow you down, or make walking difficult. In either case the phone is essential (Assuming you get a signal). If your phone _does_ show 'no signal' always try and send a text message - these can often get through even when there is little or no cell-phone coverage.

    Some of the newer Garmin running watches - the ones that connect to your phone over Bluetooth - have a feature where it will upload your position onto a map in real-time. Your friends can see exactly where you are on the run. I forget what it is called. Obvs this relies on signal on your phone...

    Be confident. You are running, outside.

  • Thank you for ur recommendations, that is something to think about. I am having so much fun running and mix countryside and town running. Yesterday though, in amongst the dog walker was a middle aged man without a dog and as I went by he was looking at his phone, made me aware that I don't know who is about. I hadn't even thought about being injured and not being able to walk, that is a possibility even though I think I am invincible!!

  • It is a challenge with longer distances and I end up doing several loops sometimes which is a bit boring but it works for me. I share your concern about safety. I'm a bit paranoid and am always checking out if someone is behind me, etc. But as my dad once said, "you're much safer in the middle of the countryside where there is no one around than in the middle of a city where there are lots of people". You're taking all the right precautions and you're aware. The chances of anything happening are extremely rare and certainly not worth scaring us from running.

    In any event we could now run away from anyone threatening! Seriously though, could you drive to different routes? I have to drive for all my run routes and it does give you an extra incentive as well as more variety.

  • I have had the same thought,mi doubt a non running attacker would catch us, we have hidden resources and could up our speed anytime LOL! I am thinking that I wouldn't say more than hello as I pass if someone speaks to me because you don't know who they are. I usually just run past and if they look, I smile. In normal circumstances,mi talk to people I don't know all the time but when running in the country, not going to. Even if they asked me a question, I will keep going

  • Hey- I run completely alone in the woods, I did ten miles the other week. I love trails, I go at different times, I keep an ear out and I take my phone. I appreciate it may be a little dangerous as a woman on her own but if I don't, I'm not living and I always feel safe ( not that that's a good gauge!!). I don't have anyone to run with either, but I always tell someone my route, how long I will be and when to send out a search party! Enjoy the trails, but stay safe 🤓

  • So true, I am having fun, no one stopping that, just thinking of different ways to keep the risks low.

  • I used to be quite paranoid about this too, but I have recently run along canals and through woods with no one else in sight. I realised that I didn't have a phone signal when I was out somewhere a few weeks ago and need to get an alarm or a whistle, but that worried me more in case I fell over and no one would find me until the next day! Interestingly I feel safer running through our streets after dusk than if I was walking. I think my adventurous side is coming out after all these years!

  • I have a personal alarm, I know it wouldn't do anything except give me a couple of minutes to get away. Everyone I have seen out and about has been friendly so don't want to get paranoid and yes, we would run like a gazelle if we needed to - they wouldn't catch us LOL

  • I have had these thoughts as well, but currently (as others have said) feel my main risk when out on trails would be from injury as I see very few people usually! It is a tricky one and you have to go with what feels right for you. I used to feel more worried when I first started running off the beaten track, but am a lot more confident now. Always have my phone on me and like juicyju says, I always let someone know roughly where I am going. I have to say that there is something very freeing about running in isolated places and I love that sense of 'oneness' with nature - birds, foxes, deer, stumbling over fallen branches (ouch!). So nice to have the puff to explore a bit too!

    Good luck and stay safe, wherever you choose to run😀

  • Usually fine and think it's only because I saw a strange shifty looking man, started to think more deeply about my vulnerability. Everyone I have seen so far is dog walking, running or cycling and all friendly

  • Another lone female country-runner here who has never felt threatened being out there. I do let my OH know my planned route for long weekend runs - but then I often go "off piste" so try to get back in the time I've said, give or take 10 mins and I have been known to ring home during a run when Ive gone in a completely different direction, or want to stay out longer.

    I'm old enough to have been allowed to roam free from morning until tea time (usually with a bottle of water, an apple and a jam sandwich in my pocket) without the social services being called, so curtailing my freedom now isn't going to happen :-)

  • Just take your time and progress slowly whilst developing your strength.

  • As MarkyD said technology can solve one part of the problem. There is an app called Hemisphere which has replaced Google Latitude. It enables your family to track wherever you are, or at least where your phone is.

    Think back to when you last heard of a runner being attacked by a stranger......it is extremely rare. I would always say you are safer in the open countryside than you ever are in a city or town. Sensible precautions, beyond those you are already taking, are to vary your route and running times and keep an eye open, but please don't give up running in the country, it really is what makes it all so worthwhile.

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