How to Stay Safe as a Female Runner

A Column By Ryan Nelson from the USA for Runner's Tribe

It’s easy to feel invincible when you’re flying through a park with the wind in your hair and the sound of your shoes slapping the pavement. Unfortunately, if you’re a female runner, that feeling of safety is an illusion. Female runners have the feeling that they can be attacked at any time, and it’s important that you recognise and prepare for such incidents if you don’t want to become another statistic. Here are just seven ways to stay safe as you train for your next marathon.

  1. Arm Yourself

Pepper spray is the obvious way to protect yourself from an attacker, but you can also purchase “defence sprays” that contain everything from chilli powder to military-grade tear gas.(Subject to what country you’re in). Some people argue that it’s best not to carry any form of defence spray, but once again this is down to what you’re comfortable with. For some people “defence spray,” aren’t a viable option, hence these are just some suggestions with multiple factors involved when choosing whether or not to arm yourself and what with.

  1. Carry an Alarm

Gone are the days when you had to rely on a bell or whistle. Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, you can strap a high-powered, 130-decibel alarm on your wrist without breaking a sweat. If it doesn’t scare off your attacker outright, it will at least alert others in the area to your emergency.

  1. Let There Be Light

Hostile attention isn’t the only danger that you face as a runner. If you want to avoid collisions with cars, trees and other joggers even in the dead of night, consider wearing body lights. They can be fitted everywhere from your hip to your headband, and they come in multiple shapes, sizes and colors to suit your personal preferences.

  1. Change Your Routine

It may be comforting to jog the same trails and sidewalks every day, but you also run the risk of being predictable to stalkers. Try to change things up at least 2-3 times a week. Don’t do it on a schedule, either; running Path A on Mondays and Path B on Tuesdays is just as bad as running the same route every day. Be spontaneous with your choices so that no one will be able to track your movements.

  1. Enable Your GPS

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Most smartphones come with a built-in GPS that will help authorities track you down in the event of an emergency, so protecting yourself can be as easy as toggling the “on” switch in your preferences. If your phone is old or outdated, however, you might want to purchase a fitness watch with its own GPS tools.

  1. Take Out Your Earbuds

It’s fine to listen to music on crowded trails during sunny afternoons, but if you’re running alone or through a dark, secluded park, take off your headphones. You’ll need all of your wits about you to ensure that nothing catches you by surprise. Which is more important: surviving your run or finishing that ABBA song?

7. Try one of these Apps or another like it

You can make use of constant connectedness with these apps available to keep runners safe—and give friends and family peace of mind.


This is a safety first fitness app that connects you to your family, friends and community.

RunRaegis empowers you to notify one or many personal safety contacts when you head out for a run. This gives your safety contacts eyes on the entire time you are out with real time GPS tracking. Also, you have the ability to set up smart alerts that go out if you are not back in a predetermined time frame. You don’t have to think about notifying someone that something is wrong, if you aren’t back when you should be, your safety contacts will be notified and can act to get you help fast.


Glympse is a mobile service that allows GPS-enabled mobile phone users to share their location via a Web-based map for a pre-set period of time with anyone they choose. With Glympse, you are in complete control – you choose WHO you want to see your location, WHEN and for HOW LONG.

These are just a few tips for staying safe as a female runner. The above can be applied to any runner though male or female. At the end of the day, vigilance is more important than any tool or trick, so keep your eyes open and your ears perked. Running may be good for your health, but you don’t want it to cost your safety. Run in a group when you can as well. Happy running!


About the author: Ryan Hails from New York where he is an avid runner, concert goer and intramural basketball star. He once spent a summer attending a baseball game at every MLB stadium in the country.