It’s been a few weeks now since the incident at my aunt’s house and things are improving day by day (you can read it here). One thing that has been affected is my ability to go and run at night. I use to be able to go do training runs quite easily at night and now I feel like there is a boogie man behind every bush and random stranger walking down the street.
This in turn has limited my training runs to once a week on the weekends and the two gym sessions during the week. I do not run on the treadmill, since I heard someone once say that it will mess up my road run performance I just can’t get myself to do but will maybe look into it in the future.
I will not let fear of being attacked after the robbery cripple my whole life, but I also not going to be naïve and think it won’t happen again. My schedule does not allow me to run in the mornings so I only have during the night to run and keep up my fitness levels.
Here are some safety changes I have made.
- Have a whistle and pepper spray
This is a few extra things to carry while running, but it can really help you in a difficult situation. A whistle is small enough to hang around your neck for easy access to give a loud blow when needed. Pepper spray comes in a range of sizes some small enough to hold in your hand while running. The only thing is going to have to remember to not accidentally spray yourself while in the running zone.
- Try not run with a lot of gadgets and gizmos
I will be the first to admit this is really hard. I love listening to music while I run, so most of the time I have my phone in my belt with my blue tooth earphones and my fitness tracker on my wrist, these are all things that can make you a target while running, but can also be very handy if you are in a bind. If you have to carry your phone try and make sure it’s concealed and put on silent or vibrate.
- Be alert of your environment
You know your area and the route that you run, if you see something out of the ordinary you can change direction. If you have to listen to music rather just with one ear in and a volume that you can still be aware of what is happening around you, but ideally not to wear any buds or earphones.
- Change your route
We are all creatures of habit, but mixing it up can definitely have its perks. Make sure it’s still in a well-lit area with loads of people if possible. Try not run at night with open fields and abandoned areas but stay close to where you are familiar with. This will also help you training, if you keep running the same route your body won’t be challenged.
- Be Seen
Wearing reflective gear is a great way for motor cars to see you at night. They are inexpensive to purchase and will be a great asset for you while training at night. A good head lamp can also help for additional light, we know in South Africa pot holes are a reality and that at night all street lights work, this way you can skip the injuries and still be well spotted.
- Run with a group or a partner
Find out if there are any running groups in your area, if not why not create your own and make some friends along the way. Get your partner to lace up and join you for a different kind of sweat build up. I know this might not be possible or realistic especially for those lone wolf runner types but if security is a real concern this is a good option.
- Find alternatives
As mentioned before since hearing that treadmills mess up with road running I have never ever considered it, but that just speaks a lot about me than the actual treadmill. When I realistically think about it what about people in snow, or extreme heat, they have no other option but to train on treadmills and their performance is on par.
I am definitely a lot more aware of my surroundings and how I tackle my night runs. What other tips or suggestions do you have for road safety for night runs?