Back in August, the United States experienced another tragedy of jogging gone wrong. Mollie Tibbetts, a 20-year old University of Iowa student, was found murdered after a month of searching. She had gone on her evening jog and was attacked by an individual that stalked her.
Mollie represents another case for women who have very valid personal safety concerns while living their daily lives. However, the #MilesforMollie Movement has shown us that going for a daily jog need not be a fearful experience. In honor of Crime Prevention Month for October, Mollie and all of the other female joggers that have been tragically lost, let’s go over some ways on how you can stay safe with 5 Essential Personal Safety Tips for Joggers.
Personal Safety Tip
#1 – Be Situationally Aware
When running, it is easy to get lost in a “runner’s high” and lose focus of your surroundings. When out on your jog, it is crucial to have situational awareness – to be mindful of the objects and ever-changing elements in your immediate environment or sphere of influence.
The most critical element to personal safety awareness is the avoidance of focus blocks, those things that can rob you of your ability to pay attention to your environment: the most notorious of all being the cell phone. We have all heard of people who have gotten into traffic accidents because of texting and driving. The same applies when out on a run: do not allow yourself to be entranced by music and headphones. This is a constant issue for college students, especially.
All in all, pay attention to everything as you are on your run. If something looks or feels suspicious, take heed. Criminals typically look for targets that are “easy” or vulnerable, who have let down their guard, which is why you absolutely have to keep your eyes open.
Personal Safety Tip #2 – Carry a Self-Defense Device
When Mollie was placed in the altercation, her assailant
recalled her pulling out her phone and threatening to call 911. From a personal
safety perspective, this is one of the least effective things that you can do.
When out on a run, you need to carry personal protection of some sort or at
least know how to fend off an attacker. This is especially important when in an
Pepper spray is one of the best non-lethal/less-lethal self-defense tools you can use (see why it ranks #1) and for several good reasons. As an inflammatory agent, not relying on pain to work, it will shut down a person’s eye sight from a distance and cripple their ability to breathe with ease. This critical effect gives you plenty of time to get away to safety.
While we are unsure if Mollie carried a form of personal protection, the Little Viper Pepper Spray Bracelet could have saved her life. It would have given her the discretion that she needed, as well as easy access, to address her attacker. The concealability of the device is crucial, as her assailant could have taken a regular hand-held jogger pepper spray into consideration as he followed her and watched her movements.
Personal Safety Tip #3 – Be Mindful of Complacency
Complacency is what happens when you get too comfortable
with your environment and is the equivalent of a game of playing statistical
odds or Russian Roulette. Perfect examples include leaving the doors to your
home unlocked because you live in a “safe neighborhood” or not carrying
personal protection because you believe that crime could never happen to you.
Back in 2015, a
University of Minnesota student was sexually assaulted while
scraping ice off her car.
It can happen to anyone!
When we conduct personal safety workshops on Situational Awareness, we always tell people that Complacency is the #1 Killer . And it is. Those who let down their guard get taken advantage of the most. In the wild, doing so will make you someone else’s lunch. In human society, doing so will get you severely hurt, traumatized or killed. The best advice that can be given is that you have the potential to become a victim at anytime, anywhere. Always be mindful of that. Preparation is key to proper survival.
Personal Safety Tip #4 – Change up Your Routes
Attacks are more likely to happen when people know your schedule. Changing your routes and not keeping to a set schedule is better for your personal safety. Doing so can make it more difficult for someone to target you, especially if you have an active stalker. It may be inconvenient, but taking a randomized approach to your jogging could save your life.
Personal Safety Tip #5 – Don’t Be Paranoid, Have Fun!
Lastly, being prepared does not mean that you have to be paranoid. The goal of your run is to have fun and feel good! Don’t let your objective of staying safe override your ability to do what you planned to do. To put it simply, stay in Condition Yellow. What do I mean by that?
Colonel Jeff Cooper of the USMC developed the Color Code Awareness system,
which outlines the four different levels of mental awareness. They are: White,
Yellow, Orange and Red.
total lack of awareness, where you are oblivious to what is going on around
Yellow is a sense of being
alert and aware, but also calm and relaxed.
Orange is a heightened sense of awareness, when your gut feeling is
telling you that something is not right.
is when the alarm bells are going off, that DANGER is eminent.
One of the things that Col. Cooper taught in tandem with his levels of awareness is that being prepared does not mean that you have to live in fear. Those who have engaged in the #MilesforMollie movement clearly show this. What is important is that you do not fall into Condition White (total lack of unawareness) or Condition Orange (constant hypervigilance, a state that police officers tend to be in; it is unhealthy to rest here 24/7). Simply be aware and be prepared with Condition Yellow. And have fun!
That is it! Follow these 5 Essential Personal Safety Tips and you can reduce risk while out on your run. Be sure to grab a Little Viper with promo code “RUNSAFELY” to get 15% off your order! It is one of the most versatile pepper sprays for joggers. It can be used by both men and women and we will teach you everything that you need to know on how to use it, through our in-depth Pepper Spray 101: How to Protect Yourself at a Distance course.