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Running Tips

5 safety tips for running alone

A solo runner on a path overlooking a city.
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R unners come in all stripes: Some like running in groups, others prefer running solo, and still others mix it up. If running alone is your jam, here's how to ensure it's as safe as it is fun.

If you love running alone, we don't blame you. It's a perfect way to achieve a peaceful, zen-like state. You get into a groove, process the day's emotions and problems, and return with a clear head. You can take in the sights and sounds without distraction, and pick your own favorite running route. You also get to pick the best time for your run, without having to be at the mercy of someone else's schedule.

Running alone? Keep these 5 tips in mind

The only drawback to running alone is that you do need to be safety conscious — and this is particularly true if you are a woman, unfortunately. However, with a few guardrails in place, running alone can be accessible and low risk. Follow these tips to take to the roads and trails with safety in mind:

  1. Aim for daylight. If you can wait until the sun is up or hasn't set, take advantage of it. While not bulletproof, far fewer crimes take place in the light of day than when it's dark.
  2. Drop the headphones. As much as your favorite playlist can put an extra spring in your step, closing off your ability to hear is a no-no when it comes to running alone. Keep this sense open so you can hear people or vehicles approaching, ensuring no one has the chance to sneak up and catch you off guard.
  3. Bring a phone along. Luckily today, most run clothing now comes with a pocket for your phone. Take advantage of this and take your phone out the door, making sure location services are turned on and a loved one knows how to track you.
  4. Share your route. While having a phone can provide something of a safety net, it's a good move to let someone know where you're headed before you begin your run. Communicate the route and how long you expect to be gone. This will ensure someone notices if you don't show up within that window, and also, they will know where to look for you if needed.
  5. Take a basic course in self-defense. Having a few skills to help fight back should the worst-case scenario occur on a solo run is a good move. Check around with local running stores and clubs to see if anyone is offering a self-defense class for runners. If not there, your local martial arts studios might be another option. Often a simple afternoon session is all you need to feel secure.
Man running on an empty road with evergreen trees in background

Prepare for worry-free runs

Running alone is an option to anyone, but for women, in particular, it's wise to put a few simple safeguards in place. Running in the daytime, without headphones, and in communication with loved ones are among the first steps to take for a worry-free, safe experience.

Our writer's advice is intended for informational or general educational purposes only. We always encourage you to speak with your physician or healthcare provider before making any adjustments to your running, nutrition, or fitness routines.

Written By
Amanda Loudin

Health and science writer

Amanda Loudin running in a forest

I've been a runner for more than two decades and a journalist for just as long. I'm also a certified running coach and nothing makes me happier than marrying up writing and running. Find me on the trails with two- and four-legged friends.