It’s not something that we want to think about often, but it most definitely calls for our attention. As a girl who goes on solo runs regularly, personal safety is an issue that is close to my heart. Regardless of your size or physical abilities, there is always the potential for someone to catch you off guard, so even if you think that you ‘can handle your own’ I encourage you to consider these safety tips with me.
If you didn’t catch Part I of Safety on the Run, please see it here. Part II will focus on how technology contributes to safety while running.
Here are my tips for using technology as a tool to keep you safe while exercising:
Runners, bikers, walkers, and the likes should always carry a cell phone. I mentioned this in my previous post, but it is worth mentioning again. A cell phone is a wonderful safety tool for numerous reasons – chiefly, because having the ability to call 9-1-1, or at the very least a friend or family member, in a scary situation is of incomparable value.
Let a loved one know where you are running and when you should be done. A simple text message works; IE I will be on X trail, I plan to run 6 miles and it should take me about an hour. Then get in the habit of texting them again when you’re home. If they don’t hear from you, they will know something might be up. If Steven isn’t home when I return from a run, I always text him, otherwise he will call and check on me!
Sign up for alerts from your local law enforcement or public safety department. If you live in Seminole County, you can sign up for Alertseminole. These alert systems are designed to text you with updated information on what is going on in your area, including crime and extreme weather alerts.
If you have a smart phone, there are tons of apps out there created for safety purposes. I have tried out a few of them, including React Mobile, which sparked the idea for this series!
I must say, the technology with this and similar applications is fantastic! I love the simplicity of it: literally upon opening the app, with the push of one button my phone will send an SOS message to my stored emergency contacts along with my GPS coordinates. Additionally, with one more button-push the app will dial 9-1-1. I downloaded a few of the available and free apps as part of research for this post. I must say of the ones that I tried, ReactMobile was my favorite because of the layout and simplicity of if. But I would suggest you doing the same and deciding for yourself which one you feel most comfortable using.
The only caveat to this is to know exactly where the app is located on your phone and practice accessing and opening it quickly. In some instances, it may be quicker and easier for you to simply dial 9-1-1. Also be sure to tell your emergency contacts that you are storing them as such, so they know what to do if they get a message.
Keep in mind that technology is not always beneficial toward our safety and can sometimes distract us. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings. I love listening to music or podcasts while I run, but I try to turn down the music every now and then, especially if going through a high traffic area. Never get too caught up in your own music or thoughts to not know what is going on around you. And most importantly, listen to and trust in your 6th sense or gut instinct; if something doesn’t feel safe, it probably isn’t.
Disclaimer: I was contacted by ReactMobile for this post. I was not compensated in anyway for the post and the opinions stated are my own.