Self-Defense for Runners: 
Staying Safe and Aware on the Move

Women Who Fight Back Discusses Various Ways Women can Stay Safe on Outdoor Runs

Women Who Fight Back believes fitness and personal safety go hand in hand. Female runners need to take charge of their well-being while hitting the pavements and trails. Running is an great way to stay fit and burn calories, but we have to acknowledge the potential risks that come with running alone as a woman. 

For some reason, today's society pretends that women can easily fight off men with their fists. Some can, yes. Unfortunately, most women cannot. Why? Our bodies are not designed this way. Most of us have not been trained in some form of martial arts that accounts for this size discrepancy in a physical altercation with a man. If this offends you, you aren't on the right site because we will never preach that women should walk around fearlessly under the false belief that we are as physically strong as men. 

This false sense of empowerment that comes with this ideology has been a factor in why women are  more likely to be assaulted, raped, and killed.

Anyway, on a lighter note, we love how our feminine bodies look and we adore how different our bodies are from a man's form. That being said - let's take advantage of our brain power because everyone on earth knows how powerful a woman's mind is.  

In this article, we'll explore some effective self-defense strategies and essential precautions to keep you confident and secure during your runs and outdoor activities.

The Perils of Running Alone as a Female

Running alone can be a liberating experience, but it also brings certain risks, especially for women. The solitude that makes your run meditative can also make you a target for opportunistic individuals with malicious intent. Isolated trails, dimly lit streets, and early morning or late-night runs can heighten vulnerability. It is an advantageous time for criminals because there are less people who can stop them and less people to target. This means the likelihood of becoming a target increases.  It's crucial to be aware of the surroundings and take precautions to minimize potential dangers.

Precautions to Take

Before going out on a run, we want to talk about some proactive measures you can take to better guarantee your safety. First and foremost, plan your route wisely. Opt for well-traveled paths with good lighting, preferably those frequently used by other runners or pedestrians. Familiarity with the route will help you anticipate potential risks and escape routes.

Inform a friend or family member about your running plans, including the intended route and estimated return time. In this digital age, there are plenty of smartphone apps that allow friends and/or family track your location as you run. We absolutely recommend doing this. These apps can be a lifesaver, providing others with your live location. 

Some of us runners carry identification, medical information, and emergency contact details with us during our runs just in case. This information can be stored on a cell phone or a paper copy can be provided.  

As for what to wear, we don't recommend wearing anything that could make you stand out more than usual. Some people think this is advantageous because its easier for cars or people to see you, but we recommend wearing clothing that blends in with your surroundings. If you do decide to run at night, perhaps wearing one of these vests will help with your visibility to others, but it also draws attention to you. The pros and cons of wearing a neon reflector vest need to be weighed out and thought about. Remember, it's all about being prepared for any unexpected situation.

Handheld Pepper/OC Spray: Your Defender on the Run

When it comes to self-defense tools for women, few are as convenient and effective as handheld pepper/OC spray. Compact and easily accessible, this non-lethal defense weapon can give you the upper hand against potential threats. Pepper spray or OC spray typically contains a powerful chemical compound derived from chili peppers, which causes temporary blindness, coughing, and extreme discomfort upon impact, giving you valuable moments to escape.

When carrying pepper spray, always make sure it's within quick reach, like in a waistband holster or a hand strap. It's completely useless if you can't access it. Also, familiarize yourself with the proper technique for using it, ensuring you can deploy it swiftly and accurately if needed. Fortunately, many self-defense classes now include training on how to use pepper spray effectively.

Empowering Yourself through Self-Defense Classes

While pepper spray is an excellent tool, knowledge and confidence are your most potent weapons. Enroll in a self-defense class tailored specifically for runners. These classes teach techniques to break free from grabs, maintain personal space, and build the mental and physical fortitude to stay in control during challenging situations. Not only will you gain valuable skills, but you'll also feel more empowered and less vulnerable while enjoying your runs.

The Power of Numbers: Running Groups and Buddies

There's strength in numbers, and that's true for runners too. Joining a running group or finding a running buddy can significantly enhance your safety while providing motivation and camaraderie. Running with others not only makes you less appealing to potential threats but also ensures help is readily available if any unforeseen circumstances arise.

Situational Awareness: The Key to Running Safety

In the world of self-defense for runners, situational awareness is practically a superpower that can keep you safe from potential threats. Being aware of your surroundings means staying attuned to what's happening around you at all times. Resist the temptation to tune out with headphones blaring music or by getting lost in your thoughts. Instead, keep your senses alert, listening for any unusual sounds or footsteps and scanning your environment for potential hazards. By maintaining heightened level of situational awareness, you can spot potential dangers early and take appropriate action to avoid them.

Altering Your Routes: A Safety Game-Changer

As creatures of habit, it's easy to fall into a routine of running the same paths day in and day out. However, predictability can make you vulnerable to those with malicious intent. To enhance your safety, make it a habit to alter your running routes from time to time. Not only does this keep potential threats on their toes, but it also allows you to explore new areas and scenery, injecting variety into your runs. By mixing things up, you'll not only stay safer but also keep the excitement and joy of running alive. So, don't be afraid to venture into new (safe) neighborhoods or explore different trails – your safety and running experience will thank you for it!


A great pepper spray for runners are the ones that have a strap attached to the can that goes around the user's hand. The pepper spray can also be attached to other places, like the strap of a racerback shirt, (it depends on what the user is wearing) that can be easily accessible if needed. 

Here is one we recommend: 
The SABRE Runner Pepper Gel, Maximum Police Strength OC Spray, Reflective Hand Strap for Easy Carry & Quick Access, 35 Bursts, Secure & Easy to Use Safety, Optional Clip-On Alarm & LED Armband Combos