Staying Safe When Jogging or Running Outside

Staying Safe When Jogging or Running Outside

How to Stay Safe When Jogging or Running Outside?

I’ve been studying martial arts and safety for over forty years, but recently have come to understand that self-defense for a middle-aged man means cardio. This underlined the importance of staying safe when jogging or running outside. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just starting, taking steps to protect yourself from potential dangers is crucial. This blog will provide tips and strategies for staying safe when jogging or running outside.

The Dangers of Jogging or Running Outside?

Jogging or running outside is an excellent way to stay active and improve physical and mental health. However, it’s essential to remember that potential dangers come with jogging or running outside. Most of us consider violent crimes like rape and muggings when we consider these dangers, but it also includes car accidents, loose dogs, and running-related injuries.

Protecting yourself and ensuring your safety when jogging or running outside is with being mindful of. Following the tips and strategies outlined in this blog can significantly reduce the likelihood of becoming a crime or accident victim.

Potential dangers when jogging or running outside

There are several potential dangers to be aware of when jogging or running outside. These include, but aren’t limited to:

about to assault a jogger
  • Assault: Unfortunately, joggers and runners are vulnerable to assault, including sexual assault, as they are often alone and may be perceived as an easy target.
  • Robbery: Criminals may target joggers and runners for valuables like phones, watches, or jewelry.
  • Traffic accidents: Joggers and runners may risk being hit by a vehicle while crossing the road or running on busy streets.
  • Tripping and falling: Uneven surfaces, obstacles, and poor lighting can increase the risk of tripping and falling, leading to injuries.

The bad news is these are all possibilities for even experienced and street-smart joggers. The good news is that many of the same countermeasures can protect you from all the items on the list.

Tips for Staying Safe When Running Outside

By following the tips below, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of a crime or accident when jogging or running outside.

Plan Your Route

runner using route app

Planning your route is key to staying safe when jogging or running outside. Carefully selecting and familiarizing yourself with your route allows you to anticipate potential hazards or safety concerns.

First, consider the terrain- Opt for well-lit paths and avoid isolated areas, especially if you’re running early in the morning or late at night.

Choose populated routes with enough foot or vehicular traffic for help to be nearby if needed. Next, vary your routes to avoid predictability, making your runs more enjoyable.

Inform someone about your running route and estimated return time. With today’s technology, there are numerous apps available that allow real-time location sharing. By taking these steps, you can ensure that you’re prepared, vigilant, and secure on your outdoor run.

Avoid Isolated Areas


Avoid running in isolated areas such as alleys, parks, trails, or empty parking lots. Criminals are more likely to target joggers and runners who are alone and in isolated areas. Instead, stick to well-lit and populated areas.

This is important for injuries, too. Even without a bad guy targeting you, a pulled hamstring on an isolated trail is much bigger trouble than the same injury on a suburban sidewalk.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Be aware of your surroundings at all times when jogging or running outside. Stay alert and keep an eye out for any suspicious activity. Trust your instincts and leave the area immediately if you notice anything suspicious or uncomfortable. Research Situational awareness; it can help you in many areas of your life.

Consider your headphones or earbuds so that you can hear your surroundings. You’ve heard this advice, and it’s good, but not many people follow it. Instead, upgrade your headgear with headphones that play music while also letting you hear background noise. They cost about twice as much as the regular kind but are worth the investment.

Run With a Partner or Group

Run with a group for safety

Running with a partner or group is an excellent way to stay safe when jogging or running outside. Criminals are less likely to target joggers and runners who are in a group; some studies suggest less than 1% as likely.

Additionally, running with a partner or group can be more fun and motivating, and a running buddy can call in help if you get injured on your run.

Carry a Personal Safety Device

carry pepper spray for safety

Carrying a personal safety device such as pepper spray, a whistle, or a personal alarm can provide protection when jogging or running outside. These devices can help deter potential attackers and can help you stay safe if the deterrence doesn’t work.

Be warned: safety devices only work if you practice with them. If you don’t practice, your chances of using them successfully while out of breath and frightened are very low.

Get training from somebody familiar with your chosen device, then practice using it until you do it as smoothly and automatically as you answer your phone.

Wear Reflective Clothing

Wear reflective or bright clothing when jogging or running outside, particularly during low light conditions like early morning, late evening, or overcast days. Reflective gear enhances your visibility to drivers, cyclists, and other pedestrians, reducing the risk of accidents. This could be a bright neon vest, bands, hats, shirts, or shoes with reflective accents. Some runners also use headlamps or clip-on LED lights for added visibility.

Couple running with bright clothing

Remember, even if you can see a car approaching, it doesn’t mean the driver can see you, especially if they’re distracted. Wearing reflective clothing doesn’t just make you visible; it makes you unmistakable and, in turn, much safer. By making the simple decision to enhance your visibility, you significantly contribute to your safety when jogging or running outside.

Staying Safe When Jogging or Running Outside Conclusion

  • Be mindful of your surroundings: Open your eyes and ears for signs of potential danger. Avoid wearing headphones or earbuds that may distract you from your surroundings. Stay alert and attentive to your environment.
  • Vary your route: Running the same route daily can make you predictable and vulnerable to potential attackers. Switch up your route and explore new areas.
  • Avoid secluded areas: Stick to well-lit, populated areas when running. Avoid running in isolated or poorly lit areas like parks or alleyways.
  • Carry identification: In the event of an emergency, it’s important to have identification on you. Bring your ID or driver’s license and any relevant medical information.
  • Use technology: Consider carrying a personal safety device, such as a whistle, pepper spray, or a personal alarm. You can also use a tracking app on your phone or a GPS device to track your route and share your location with loved ones.
  • Trust your instincts: If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe at any point during your run, trust your gut and take action. Alter your route, seek help, or call the police if necessary.

By following these tips and staying aware of your surroundings, you can reduce your risk of becoming a victim of a crime while jogging or running outside. Remember to prioritize your safety and take proactive measures to protect yourself.

Staying Safe When Jogging or Running Outside FAQ

Should I carry a weapon with me when I go for a run?

It’s ultimately up to you, but it’s important to consider the potential risks and legalities of carrying a weapon. Many experts advise against carrying a weapon, as it can escalate a situation and potentially cause more harm than good. If you decide to carry a weapon, ensure you are properly trained to use it and understand the legal ramifications.

Is it safe to run alone at night?

Running alone at night can be risky, as visibility is lower and the risk of encountering dangerous individuals is higher. If you must run at night, stick to well-lit, populated areas and consider bringing a personal safety device and clothing that increases your visibility to traffic.

What should I do if I am approached by a stranger while running?

If you feel uncomfortable or threatened by a stranger while running, trust your instincts and take action. Alter your route, seek help from other runners or pedestrians, or call the police if necessary. It’s better to err on the side of caution and prioritize your safety.

Can I listen to music while running?

Listening to music while running is not recommended, as it can distract you from your surroundings and potential dangers. If you must listen to music, keep the volume low and consider using only one earbud so you can still hear your surroundings or investing in headphones that let in background noise.


  • Jason Brick

    Jason Brick has been a martial artist for 40 years, a journalist for 14, and a father for what feels like several hundred. He has taught self-defense on three continents, coached a high school karate team in Japan, and hosts the award-winning Safest Family on the Block podcast where he interviews world-class experts on every conceivable safety-related topic. He has written or edited over 100 books, and has been featured in venues like Black Belt Magazine,, American Express Open Forum, and The Writer. When not practicing fatherhood, journalism, or martial arts he enjoys travel, cooking, and tabletop role-playing games. He lives in Oregon.

    View all posts

Leave a Reply

Product added to cart
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop