If you're reading this, it’s likely that you love to run. Nothing beats a sunny morning or evening (or even a light shower!) with the tunes banging and you’re burning it up through a park or on the waterside.
There’s a fair chance you’ve experienced a run on your own where you’ve questioned your own safety. Have you ever had someone yell something offensive to you as they drive by or feel like someone is watching or lurking nearby? I hear you. Suddenly you’re running sub 4:00min/km! It’s hard to believe anything could happen and it likely won’t. However, it’d be foolish to not be aware of the risks. Or have you ever just felt so self conscious that you turn around and go home?
What we’re really talking about here is several types of safety. Physical, emotional and social safety.
Run Like A Girl was born from a culture of women feeling insecure when running or exercising, often experiencing verbal abuse in the form a derogatory comments, gestures or feeling the presence of shadows in the dark when out running. It’s not just women that have experienced this. What should be an activity that embraces healthy habits and makes you feel good, became something some people were afraid to do in public for fear of being shamed or attacked.
We wanted to provide a space for those who identify as female to feel physically safe in a group where everyone trusts and looks out for one another. We should wear the attitude that we belong on running routes any time that we choose and own the right to exercise safely.
But it doesn’t stop at physical safety. We all have vulnerabilities, whether it be low self-esteem or confidence, body dysmorphia, poor mental health, social anxiety, eating disorders/disordered eating, the list is endless. So finding a place to belong, to feel emotionally and mentally safe is imperative to ones health. This sense of belonging provides connection to others in ways we didn’t think possible or openly invited.
So what can you do to keep yourself safe?
Here’s my Top 10 Tips to running safely.
Run in a group or with a mate.
Try to run where it’s well lit and populated.
Tell someone before you leave where you’re going and how long you’ll be. Use Find My Friends if possible.
Dynamic stretches and drills as a warm up before your run.
Keep your phone or cellular watch on you and know how to activate your emergency call function.
Say “hi” to passersby. Look them in the eye and acknowledge them with confidence. Encourage others where appropriate.
Avoid headphones or earphones. If you do have them on, don’t use the noise cancelling function and avoid constant audio like music. Podcasts would be better background noise.
If something looks suspicious, steer clear.
Where high visibility gear including reflective clothing, laces, accessories, and head lamp.
Do specific strength work and reflective of your running load. Not sure? Get a Strength coach!
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