Dear Brendan,

Here’s a quick piece with information to keep in mind whenever you go for a run.  I’m really writing this piece for my wife and others we love to help keep them safe.  My wife goes for a run several times a week after work and I’m hoping she will take these recommendations to heart. 

When I lived back in northern VA I use to run the trails, and often times I’d take my daughter with me in a jogging stroller.  It was one of those monster trail running strollers with three tires like the ones used on mountain bikes.  It’s hard to believe she’s now in college.  I digress.  Other times I’d run on my own with a pack late at night after work on trails near our old townhouse in Virginia.  I’d usually carry a small SureFire light and or a small fixed blade knife with an IWB clip inside my running shorts.  These were good runs and I never ran into any problems, however I did run by some people that were suspect and noticed vehicles in certain areas of my run that caught my attention. 

This goes back to situational awareness. Know the area where you run, know what is and is not normal for that area.  Trust your gut and listen to that voice in the back of your head.  It will help you to, “Stay off the “X”. “

Bottom Line Up Front:  Don’t be naïve, no matter how fast you are or how good you think you are in hand-to-hand combat, there are things you should be doing prior to your run. 

Top 10 Lessons Learned.

1.)    Inform someone (your spouse) when you are leaving for your run.

2.)    Inform someone (your spouse) where you are going.

3.)    Inform someone (your spouse) when you should be back from your run.

4.)    Do not stray off your planned running route.

5.)    Carry a form of photo ID

6.)    Carry your cell phone if possible to call your spouse or Emergency Medical Services.  Many people use their cell phones to listen to music as they run, so it’s dual purpose.  Music and Comms.

7.)    Carry pepper spray for dogs and humans.  If you run at night, carry a small SureFire light.  I also suggest you invest in a small IWB fixed blade with kydex sheath.

8.)    Keep good Situational Awareness.  I know it’s easy to get tunnel vision and it’s easy to get in the zone while listening to music on your run, but do not lose your sense of where you are.  Keep your eyes and ears open for cars/traffic and people/muggers.  I suggest you run with one ear bud in and the other you leave out and tuck inside your shirt.  This allows you to keep one ear open for what is going on around you.

9.)    Consider running with a partner.  Strength in numbers.                                     

10.) Don’t run with traffic.  Do not make the assumption that drivers see you, especially at dusk and dawn.  I always run against traffic so I can see cars approaching me.  I want to give myself adequate distance from cars.  This is an important caution to take for the ladies in our lives, as many abductions occur by a car pulling up next to you or you run by a vehicle or a van, someone opens the door and pulls you in and drives off. 

Lastly don’t ever assume drivers will stop for you.  With that said, be careful around crosswalks, entrances to parking lots, and businesses with heavy traffic in and around their location.

Be Aware & Be Safe,

Your Friend,