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Couch to 5K
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Safety Tips while on a run?

I have just started this running lark and am beginning to enjoy it.

I am a woman running on her own in the early/mid evenings or very early mornings (it's the only time I have). Do any of you have any safety advice - you hear dreadful stories of people going off and never being seen again.

My husband suggested I carry pepper spray - but I think this is illegal? Someone else suggested a whistle but this seems a bit daft to me.

Any ideas?

21 Replies

Its light nights and mornings just now so we would like to think we are safer but you know your area better than most. Give your local police station a ring if you are concerned and ask their advice. One thing I do and have done for over 2 years now is wear only one ear bud that helps me to be more aware of what is going on around and about me. I always wear a bright top too just so that I can be easier seen. Good luck with the running.


I was thinking the exact same thing the other day. I live alone so dont tell anyone when i'm going out nor do I carry any id with me. I might pop a contact name and number in my running belt next time for use in emergencies. I run around my estate where there are houses and cars around all of the time and I avoid areas which are secluded such as wooded areas etc. I can see why a whistle might be a good idea, it would draw attention should you get time to use it! I guess the simple answer is be aware and if you feel unsafe cross over and run on the opposite side of the road or towards somewhere where there are houses/people.


Check out littlehugs.co.uk their tags are fab...I ordered a few and have one on my trainers and one on my key ring. You cam also have your Parkrun barcode on itmsomif attached to your trainers you will never forget it


How often do you hear stories about runners being attacked like that? I am struggling to think of one in many miserable stories about people who were not out running which come to mind. However, there are more likely mishaps like falls so it is worth thinking about.

I run with my dog which helps (assuming she doesn't go off and do her own thing which she did when I was alone in the woods the other evening) - there might be someone who would really appreciate you taking their dog out for some extra exercise - and I do the only one earbud thing too.

Orienteers are required to carry a whistle so not that daft an idea. Letting someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back and carrying a (well charged) smart phone.


I heard a story earlier in the week about someone who was attacked whilst out jogging which is why it got me thinking about keeping safe. I agree it probably doesn't happen very often but its better to be safe than sorry :)


I carry a phone which (importantly) I've set to allow phone calls even when it's locked, and have my parents set as 'Home'


I worry about this sometimes too. I wear bright clothes, make sure I tell my husband my route and try to stay close to residential areas.

I had a horrible run when I first started when a car kept kerb crawling me. The driver kept smiling at me so I'm not sure they were being threatening but it made me feel really uncomfortable. I run in a really nice town, in a really lovely area, so I wasn't expecting any problems. I now have one of these alarms, it makes me feel a bit safer.



I've also got an alarm and carry a phone, I leave a rough note of where I'm planning to run and how long I'll roughly be at home as although my husband is very attentive he doesn't listen to a word I say lol :) . I also have a little card attached to my laces with my ice details on it, a previous blogger said they had one and I thought that was a good idea but I can't find where it came from ( sorry I'm not very techno competent).


Have just posted a link further up


Think it's all common sense...run in areas/ streets you know. if dark keep to well lit areas / main roads. I have been running since last January and started on gong out at 5.15 in the morning. I never felt unsafe. Either don't have music or as Oldgirl suggested only use one ear piece so you can hear what's going on


AliB1 thanks for your link just what I was looking for. I was diagnosed with epilepsy 2 years ago after having a seize in Tesco (of all places) luckily my daughter (age 12) was there with me so could let people know who to contact. Although I am on medication I am always a little nervous about going out just in case something happens, I know my daughter is always a bit nervous about me going out on my own.

With regards to the initial question about safety - you can get keyring rape alarms which are really loud. We had a burglary a few years ago and a policeman who lives in my road recommended that I get a rape alarm to have in the house (husband often goes away on business) he said the frequency is totally disorientating. I have only pulled the pin once to check it was working and I can honestly say no attacker or burglar would stick around for long.


Thanks all for your advice. I have just ordered the alarm and the ICE tag. All very good ideas.

There is a park and wooded area where I jog via a housing development so I think I will stick to the park where I can clearly see what is going on around me rather than the woods which has quite a few bends in the path, can be a bit gloomy and is overgrown in places.

I was running in the woods so people wouldn't see me as I've only started the C25k programme and am a bit self conscious but on second thoughts this isolation has its disadvantages that outweighs my insecurities.

Also now I know I can actually do the programme - much to my surprise - I'm not so worried about what people think of me puffing past and instead feel quite pleased with myself!

Happy running!


I've heard these are very good:


I don't have one myself though, but thinking about it, perhaps I should!


It might be worth finding out if there is a Running Sisters group in your area. They formed in various areas precisely so that women could go out in groups for safety. If there isn't, have you considered finding out about starting one. If you Google 'Running Sisters' you will find plenty of information about them. Good luck with your running.


That's a great idea. I will look into it. Thanks


If I go out on my own I only run where I can be seen and I feel safe. I have rejoined my local running sisters (used to run with them 14 years ago) as it enables me to run in places I would never run on my own or even know existed.


I've never felt unsafe when running, but I do deliberately vary when and where I run, rather than following the same route at the same time.


Hi SVR28,

Your question is very sensible. I would give your local police station a call and ask for advice. They can be very helpful.

I really hope you do well with your running.


Just an update on my running adventures - on my Friday evening run (7.30pm) there were some teenagers sitting chatting in the park area of the woods I do my jogs in.

On my final lap around the park bit two policemen arrived and approached the 3 of them and had a chat with them. Nothing in itself as the kids were doing absolutley no harm and I didn't feel worried about it but I thought it interesting that the police are doing the rounds in this park/woods. Is this the norm? Not having ever run before anywhere at anytime maybe I've been missing out on these activities which are all quite normal?

However, there have been some kids messing about in our area as well - nothing major - vandalising pot plants and hedges mostly (I feel a bit sad for them if that is their idea of entertainment on a Saturday night).

We are new to the area having just moved here less than 2 months ago so we are figuring out our way around.

I still think the park bit is OK but I might base my runs more around the streets of our development and vary them as "greenlegs" suggests.

There is no Running Sisters in my locale but I am thinking of starting one up once I get a bit more competent in my jogging. I think this is a great idea and also speak to my local police station seeing as they are about our area anyway.

Thanks again for all your tips and words of reassurance.


I've had a couple of nasty incidents that I don't really want to go into, mainly cos I don't want to freak you out (or the OH might read this and he'd go mad!) but I've learnt from them. I always tell my hubby my rough route and how long i expect to be gone, only ever have one ear bud in and try as far as possible to stay away from country lanes with no footpath. hi vis isn't a bad idea either, but I generally run in the daylight so that's not too much of a problem for me. My real top tip for safety tho is to always be aware of your surroundings and carry a phone. I hope other people are probably less of a risk for you than perhaps turning an ankle in the middle of no-where and not being able to get help.


Thanks - I have received my ICE tag and Doberman arm alarm which I ran with on Tuesday. I've also changed my route to do less woods and more park/streets so I'm closer to people than out on my own.

I don't know where I would put my phone - how do you carry it?

What with the arm alarm, wrist band with my house key in and an i-pod arm band, I'm beginning to resemble a Christmas Tree!


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