Staying Safe on the Trail (& Beyond)
There are several keys to running safely. Many of the women I talk to are more nervous about trail running than running through their neighborhood, so they dismiss the idea of even giving trail running a try. Big mistake! Running trails is so rewarding, and can have injury prevention benefits too – see my post here on why you need to try trail running if you’re looking for some trail running motivation. I hate the idea of women putting aside the idea of something they love for fear for their own safety, so here are some no-nonsense ways to stay safe on your next trail run:
Pre-Run Safety Checklist
Before you even head out the door, you need to follow some basic guidelines:
- Charge your phone/watch etc. While I highly discourage running with headphones, many of us run with our phones or a GPS watch. If available, take advantage of the live runner features (see Strava, for example).
- Tell someone where you are going – the park and the trailhead. If you deviate from the plan, let them know.
- Tell that same somewhen exactly when you expect to return. If you deviate from the plan, let them know.
- Plan ahead and know your trail and your exit / safe spots.
- Leash your dog. No, really, dogs are the very best running buddies.
During Your Run
Stay Alert!! I can’t add enough exclamation points to this one. Ditch the headphones and the distractions – its better for de-stressing and connecting with your run anyway. Keep your ears open for people, dogs, etc. and keep your eyes open to enjoy the scenery and watch out for roots. 😉
Tools for Self-Defense
Take a self-defense class like Krav Maga and purchase a self-defense tool you can be comfortable with. Once you have learned how to use your tool of choice, make sure you carry it – for every run. A few tool options to choose from:
- Pepper Spray – This pepper spray option is a good one since it has the little velcro handle – keeping it out and available at all times.
- Pocket Knife – Look for one that opens out the front (OTF) with a single button push, like this one on Amazon.
- Whistle – A hiker’s bear whistle works well and can be attached to your water bottle for easy access.
What tips and tricks do you have in your self-defense tool kit? Tell me your ideas for staying safe on the trail in the comments below…
Hi, I'm DeAndrea! I'm a runner, outdoor enthusiast, and foodie. I'm here to share trail running, nutrition, and life inspiration for your busy life. I am working towards my RRCA running coach.
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