If mapping new routes is too time consuming, use websites like mapmyrun.com to find ready made runs in your area.
4) Run Against TrafficIt makes it harder for someone to abduct you in a vehicle if you see the coming, literally a mile away. This also helps prevent traffic related accidents, especially if you like to run in the early morning or at dusk.
5) S-I-N-GAnyone who saw the charming Sandra Bullock movie, "Miss Congeniality," will remember her demonstration of self-defense at the beauty pageant talent show. "Remember to sing," is her line and it stands for four vulnerable parts of a person: solar plexis, instep, nose, groin.
If you are attacked from behind self-defense experts tell you to elbow your attacker in the stomach, stomp on their instep, turn and shove the heel of your hand up their nose, then knee their groin. This often sounds easier than it is, so try to take a self-defense class about every five years to keep the concepts fresh and your reaction time quick.
You can check in with your local community college or police department for available classes.
6) Carry Runner's MaceI once heard an EMT say, "Of all the assault calls I've been on, not one of the victims was carrying mace."
This tip is conditional because mace and pepperspray are not legal in every state, but if it is legal for you to carry it, do. Runner's mace is a small can (3/4 oz) that has a velcro strap that fits easily around your hand or wrist. It is effective up to eight to 12 feet away—depending on aim—and one burst is usually enough to stop someone.
The 3/4 oz. canister has approximately 10 bursts. An ex-army trainer has one tip on using mace: buy more than one can and practice using it during your run and right afterwards. Physical exertion, especially intense physical exertion, takes a lot of blood away from our brain and thus has a detrimental effect on our ability to think and aim. If you are going to carry a weapon while you run—yes, mace is a weapon— then you should know how to use it effectively.
Know how a run affects your body and mind, and how to compensate for this.
Bottom line, don't be an easy target, be aware of your surroundings, listen to your instincts and know what to do in the case of an attack. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Listen to that squeamish sensation in your stomach, stop, look around and find the quickest exit towards civilization.
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Lauren Hargrave is a writer, endurance athlete and a fan of all things related to physical and emotional well being. She also takes one week challenges from friends and family and writes about them on her blog50 Two Cents.