As I have shared on some previous posts, last April I took up running. I joined a training team to run my very first half marathon race. I trained with the team, and I also trained on my own. Just want to share that this coming Sunday, I will run my third Half Marathon. Woohoo!!

Here I am finishing my second half marathon this past January. Sorry it’s a little blurry.

HM-SM Running

However, as much as I love running and training alone, recently I have heard from many people, including my husband, that running alone is not safe. I constantly get, “Never run alone, it’s a scary world out there, always carry pepper spray with you.” At first I just put that advice in the back of my mind, but lately its been hitting me more and more. I’ve noticed that now every time I run I’m more and more aware of my surroundings.

On the one hand, I resent this advice, but on the other I do want to grow old running. How do we find that perfect balance as women? How do we keep the wonderful independence that we’ve found in running but stay safe at the same time?

Ladies, I’m going to ask that you be extra careful while you run. Below are some habits I’ve adopted while running that I truly, highly recommend to you.

I don’t care if you can run a five-minute mile, you won’t be able to outrun a wild animal or a ferocious dog. Humans are not built to outrun predators; we are built to outsmart them. This being said, I truly recommend that you carry runner’s mace.

RunnersMace-SM for Running

I’m not suggesting that every time you hit the pavement you carry it with you, just during the times when you are running alone. It’s better that we be safe than sorry.

Another thing I love, is running with music, I find it to be the best training partner, as it motivates me to just keep going. However, I have learned to only wear one earphone and tuck the other in my sports bra. That way I can listen to my tunes, but at the same time be able to hear anything happening near or around me. There are times when I also completely turn off the music. These times are when I’m on a loud street or sharing a road with bikers or other runners. You want to be able to hear if anything or anyone is coming up behind you.

I honestly do not recommend running in the dark, especially if you will be alone. At night you won’t be able to see pot holes or any other obstruction that can be in your upcoming path. Always try to run during daylight.

Lastly, if you run several days per week, make sure to change up your route. Falling into a routine is very easy. I am so guilty of this. Needless to say try to avoid running the same routes at the same time on the same days. This is dangerous because it gives anyone who might be seeking out a victim a way to know where you will be on a given day.  Try running an hour earlier or later than you normally do and alternate starting times from day to day.  Drive to a park or a track a few days. Also always try to carry ID with you. I’m even considering taking a self defense class, just for some extra precaution.

Ladies, let’s keep doing what we love, lets just stay safe doing it.

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Mayra Hernandez