Safety whilst running, particularly for the women. Any tips please

Good morning

I am relatively new to running outside after running on a treadmill for the last year.

As I live in a rural area I have some beautiful runs near me including a forestry run wooded area with well maintained paths.

i am struggling to find a running partner and wondered if any of the female runners carry any safety things on them.

I have a few running friends through Facebook from America who run with legal pepper sprays etc but I think these are illegal over here.

does anyone know of anything that could make me feel ok about running on my own. 

I never run whilst it's dark.

thanks in advance.


  • Don't run with an ipod in (or if you must only one ear), wear high visibility clothing and always let someone know where you are going and how long you will be.

  • I really don't worry about safety on off road daytime runs. If you look at the stats and think about the risks (in terms of being attacked which I guess is what you are worried about) there is nothing to worry about. Most attackers or rapists or murderers are known to their victims and it is very rare for people to attacked running along a forestry path. In general nutters don't hang around beautiful forestry paths on the off chance that someone vulnerable will come past.

    Basic safety things: make sure someone knows where you are going and what time you are due back, don't always go at the same time.

    If you feel vulnerable maybe do a self-defence course?

    I usually carry a phone with me, but that is more in case I twist my ankle or something like that.

    You can get attack alarms that issue a really loud noise that work by scaring the attacker off

  • I also always carry a phone with me for an emergency if I injure myself etc. I also wear an ID wristband with my name, bf name and number and allergy advice.
  • What mathschick says.

    I've been running on my own, on and off road, day and night for years, and I've never felt threatened.

    I think the risk of being attacked is absolutely tiny.

    I do let someone know roughly where I'm going, and I carry a phone, but that's it!

  • I run on my own, sometimes off road I always carry my phone as I use it for tracking distance and I always listen to music, pretty much always daylight when I run unless very early in the morning which then I stick to busier areas. I have high visibility clothing but other than my phone I don't carry anything. 

  • Lighten up. Unless you live in Midsomer Norton, where there's a corpse under every other tree, you are unlikely to encounter danger.

    Carry a phone with you, let the OH know roughly which route you're taking. Common-sense precautions.

  • Also vary times and routes so you are not predictable.
  • Thank you, good advice by all and actually the fact that you all run on trails etc is encouraging. I did wonder if everyone would simply think I was an idiot for wanting to run alone. 

    Totally agree with changing my times and wearing hi viz etc. an alarm would be handy I will look into that.

    particularly in winter I can't see someone hiding in a bush freezing just waiting for a runner to come along. 

    There is an app I can't remember what it's called at the moment that tracks you and let's your partner know when you go for a run and where you are. think it gives a warning or something if you don't keep moving.  I appreciate this won't stop attacks but might be something I would consider.

    Muttley you made me laugh.   I think I read too many newspapers and crime novels. 

    thanks everyone. Happy running.



  • I also read to many crime novels! Have a over active imagination and a fear of things in the dark! As people said above common sence is the best thing! I always say where im going and when I expect to be back. I have to run whe its dark due to working hours. I read an article that gave some good advice as well as whats been mentioned try and make yourself look less female keep long hair under a hat/well tied up and wear baggier clothing, I find if you feel more confident thrn youll run more confident. .. if your doing a strong run I guess your not a great target. Make your self look like kne bad a$$ b!@ch whos going to mess with you?


    Says thr women whk wont run through the "zombie tunel" :O
  • I used to carry my keys wedged between my fingers to give an attacker a quick gouge should the need arise, now I have my dog and live where I see no one.

  • Agree with all that's been said above.


    I'd add, borrow a dog to run with - the dog will love it and the owner will be happy the dog is getting exercised.

    I have two dogs and haven't run alone in our forest for over 30 years, it would feel very weird now!

  • Given the risk is so low, I don't bother with any precautions.  However, I'm a bit surprised by the advice to wear baggy clothing: surely that means if there was a random weirdo waiting for you, you're giving them something to grab onto?

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    Agree with everything above. I normally run on a mixture of trail and main road and i'm actually more threatened running on the main road than trail. One bit of advice that i've learnt this morning: wear lights/head torch.

    It's 5.30am. Pitch black (no street lights etc) and i'm running along a trail path that connects two areas of woodland. I've done this route countless times before but this morning it's different. I hear in front of me panting, something moving in the bushes to my left and I start to speed up. Every possible scenario is going through my head.... what I did not expect to see (and neither did they) was a lone runner coming out of the bushes cutting through. They had no lights to make them visible, nothing to identify them. I think I gave them a bigger fright after screaming like a girl....

  • Yes Emmy I've given people my fair share of frights whilst running, the ones wearing the headphones are particularly susceptible.

  • I use an app on my phone called road ID and set it off so my husband can track me.  It also alarms if I am stationary for 5 minutes.


  • I do run to commute to work in the dark so I have my hi viz gear on and flickering lights from Aldi attached to my bag (which is also hi viz) - pretty sure I look like a christmas tree but I dont care.  I dont wear headphones I like to hear things coming.

  • Nothing wrong with taking precautions. As some have said the odds are long that you will ever have a problem but nowt wrong with stacking those odds further in your favour.

    I think running with headphones outdoors is not the best idea regardless of gender but I fully expect some abuse for that opion.

  • No abuse for that from me, I think wearing headphones while running is a really daft idea - if anyone ever did come up to grab you from behind you wouldn't know until it's too late. Also, in our forest there's lots of wild boar, I really like to hear if there's any about!

  • I never wear headphone for running either (except if I have to use a treadmill).


  • NayanNayan ✭✭✭

    If you are in a french mountain town with a spooky lake, Don't run in that tunnel where the cannibal vampire hoodie guy likes to hang out, especially when the eerie mood music is on, and/or you are dressed as catwoman. Other than that, don't sweat it.


  • Muttley wrote (see)

    Lighten up. Unless you live in Midsomer Norton, where there's a corpse under every other tree, you are unlikely to encounter danger.

    !! I live about four miles from Midsomer Norton. Can't say I've ever had a problem though, and I do my long runs on my own, off-road in a rural area. Only time I've ever had a problem was about twenty years ago in a park in a major city when a man wanted to buy sex and could beleive I didn't want to sell it. I've always been confused about why he thought a prostitute would be out running, in running gear, in daylight. Perhaps he thought all women were prostitutes. Anyway I punched him several times and ran off. I had an amazing run afterwards on the adrenaline rush. Sadly not all incidents end so easily but I do think that traffic and injury are much, much higher risks. Ditto what people say about ipods and high-vis and phones.

  • Bugger! I can never do that quote thing properly image

  • I've been flashed once while running. I've always thought oh I would laugh it off but actually it was very scary. Turned a gentle jog into a quick sprint though, so I guess theres a silver lining...

  • The area around me is really rural but I always run with my dog, and like the comments above, never with headphones on. I have my phone with me and where hi viz, but even if I did none of the above, I don't think a sweaty, red-faced, mud-covered girl makes a usual target!

    I lived in Montpellier in France for 2 years and felt more threatened running in the town than here in the countryside.


  • NayanNayan ✭✭✭

    Look out for French vampires though. 

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