A little over two weeks ago, a female runner in my town was attacked - a man came at her from behind, got her in a headlock, wrestled her to the ground, and threatened to shoot her if she wasn't quiet. She fought and screamed and managed to get away from him. I heard about this several hours later on the same day, when an APB was put out on the man and the car he was driving. He was caught, but not before attacking another woman (who also fought and screamed and eventually got away from him). This man was on the hunt to hurt women, plain and simple - these women just happened to cross his path at the worst possible moment. I'm very relieved that they were able to get away from him, and very happy that the police apprehended him before anything worse happened.
This incident highlights one of my fears that comes with running. I know that chances of anything really awful happening to me are slim,
but obviously, things do happen. I try to put myself in as safe of a situation as I can. Over
time I stopped feeling comfortable running by myself - even in my own, very
safe neighborhood - so I changed it up to always have a buddy
with me. I don't run scared, but I think having a bit of a healthy fear about your situation is a good thing, if that makes sense. My added bonus is having someone to share the experience and adventure of the run...you all know that I love my running buddies.
Another thing that I've done is to trust my instinct when I'm out
running - or trust my running buddy's instinct. For example, Jenny and I
almost always run in the same park, and have done so for years. We're
very familiar and comfortable with it...except for when we're not.
There is one section where, although we are on a paved path, it's pretty
dense with brush on either side, and a bit isolated. We've run through that
section countless times, but I'll never forget the time when, as we ran,
Jenny quietly said "let's turn around" and we did, without discussion
or hesitation. Once we were back in the main park, she said she just
had a gut feeling that we needed to not be there. Fine by me - I truly
believe that listening to your instincts probably saves you more than
I will be the first to admit that I'm a bit of a scaredy cat. I
don't like scary movies, or even suspenseful ones for that matter...my
family has experienced my jumping/shrieking while watching movies more
times than any of us would like. So I'm fine with my level of (healthy) fear when I run. It doesn't stop me from getting out there and doing what I want to do; rather, I'm just doing it in a way that feels comfortable for me.
I'm curious what your safety comfort level is with outdoor exercising, and I'd like to hear what you do to make yourself feel secure as you get your sweat on. Please share in the comments...