Temperatures are finally starting to lower, and runners are heading for the trails. Let’s make sure you can reduce your risk from being ambushed while enjoying your run. Runner’s don’t carry much on them to steal implying that the primary reasons for attacking a runner can be rape, kidnapping (human trafficking) or a random act of violence.
Prevention is always step one –
#1 Check out your trail. Go during the day when lots of people are around. When you take a run think about where someone could be hiding.
#2 Think like a criminal – while you run, imagine where someone could be hiding. Attackers have been known to leave traps such as fishing line across a path to trip or injure runners. Or a predator can fake their own injury to lure you in. Don’t worry about being polite. Always consider keeping your distance and watch out for a second bad guy to ambush.
#3 Mix up your routine – this is an old but true military tactic. If you are being singled out, changing up your locations and time slots makes you unpredictable for a planned ambush. It can also give you the chance to notice if someone is following you. Say a familiar face keeps showing up.
#4 Don’t post your workouts online. Social posting can help with workout accountability but it’s another place for strangers to track you. Scammers can duplicate friend accounts and sneak in. Or you where tagged in real time by a facebook friend and their account is not as secure as yours. Facebook posts have been used to track people and to tell thieves when your house is empty. Consider Apps that let you share your runs directly to friends by invitation only.
#5 Drop the earbuds. Research shows that music can help your training. However, it diminishes your awareness. It’s your decision to decide safety over performance.
#6 Don’t run alone – Run with partner or possibly a group. Choose a group with a history and strong attendance. There can be wolves in the flock so don’t take a chance if only a few regularly attend. Stay with a large group and don’t let yourself get separated.
When all else fails, plan for the unexpected –
#7 Non-lethal self-defense – Invest money with little training. Getting the right tools can make you safer in no time. Here are my recommendations for runner’s safety & selfdefense.
Damsel in Defense Hot Lil Hand – Pepper spray with a handy glove to keep it in place.
CAP D-shaped Hand Weights – Improvised brass knuckles. Double benefit, incorporating hand weights has show to improve a runner’s stride. Than use them to fight off an attacker.
Damsel in Defense Stun Guns – Pin activated so if taken away from you an attacker can’t use it on you. Doubles as a flash light. Rechargeable so you don’t have to worry about weak or dead batteries.
Damsel in Defense Leaf Me Alone Necklace – I’m not a big fan of “rape” whistles but I admire the design and how little breathe is required to make it work. This item hits my list more as part of a runner’s first aid kit. If you get injured a good whistle can attract assistance.
#8 Self-defense training – Have to invest time and money. Should equipment fail, or simply out of reach, knowing how to improvise and fight back becomes priority. Finding the right self-defense school or trainer can be difficult. Not all self-defense claims are the same. Some are military based that miss the responsibilities of teaching force necessary and legal ramifications or the class runs more like a fitness bootcamp. Martial art schools may have a one-day self-defense class used to draw in customers for their martial arts program. It just makes it a little harder to thumb through sales gimmicks to find school that really does focus on self-defense.
C.O.B.R.A.™ Self-defense system is the best choice for self-defense training. The system was developed by a police officer who spent his career catching and interrogating the worst of the worst. Attendees learn how to fight and escape using real life scenario training, a must for any self-defense program. There are three Certified Trainers in the Kansas City area.
Damsel In Defense is a product and networking company that allows women to buy, sell and educate other women about fashionable and effective self-defense products. Women can learn more about products and training by hosting parties or finding a sponsored community Warrior Workshop.
You are your own first respondor. Be prepared for what you’ll face.