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Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Self Defense for Runners: Tips and Products to Keep You Safe

We are heartbroken by the tragic death of Memphis jogger Eliza Fletcher but being runners ourselves and knowing many friends that do- please be safe! Walking, running, whatever- we must learn to protect and defend ourselves. We urge you to run with a buddy, run in public and well-lit places, carry pepper spray, or other self-defense items and take a self-defense class. Not just a one time class, but one where you continuously practice the situations so they become engrained in your muscle memory. 

Many of us are not diligent about carrying self-defense items or practicing scenarios that could save our lives. Something so simple as being vocal when in a situation could make a huge difference!! 

Some may consider carrying self-defense items an annoyance for something as simple as running, but just remember Eliza when you feel that way. Understanding self defense for runners is key to staying safe and protected on a run. Whether you run alone or with a group, in a city or in the country, attacks on unsuspecting runners are unfortunately becoming all too common.

Running self defense can be comprised of multiple different tactics: strategically planning your route, knowledge of how to fight back, and carrying self-defense products that can help scare or fight off an attacker.

What should I carry for self defense while running?

One of the more common items that runners used to carry for self defense is pepper spray. While pepper spray can be effective, it usually works best when the runner is aware of the approaching attacker and has time to turn towards them and prepare the spray.

However, this is certainly not always the case. Other running self defense products continue to be created, all with the ability to enhance your defense in a variety of different ways.

Products such as alarms or whistles, lights, sprays, stun guns, and even self defense rings that aid runners in fighting back are becoming increasingly common.

Should runners know self defense?

Although the market is becoming more and more saturated with products, knowledge of basic self defense for runners is still incredibly beneficial. Feeling confident with even just one or two ways to physically fend off an attacker can help runners prepare for a variety of different situations that could occur.

Taking a class, joining a group, or getting physical practice with a friend or family member are all incredibly beneficial – and potentially life saving.

Runners who run alone, especially in areas that are less populated, should certainly prioritize learning some simple self defense.

12 Self Defense Tips for Runners

Being able to physically fend off an attacker is one of the best running self defense strategies. However, there are additional preventative measures you can take to help reduce your chance of being attacked AND increase your chance of fighting off an attacker.

A few easy-to-implement strategies when it comes to self defense for runners:

  • Be situationally aware
  • When wearing headphones, keep volume level low and wear bone conducting headphones
  • Plan a route with multiple exits
  • Carry your phone
  • Tell someone where and when you are going or use trackers
  • Carry an alarm or whistle
  • Run against traffic
  • Bring lights or wear reflective gear
  • Vary where and when you run
  • Be aware of surrounding businesses
  • Adjust your route if you think you’re being followed
  • Run in populated, well-lit areas
  • Carry self-defense products to help fight back
  • Bring ID with you
  • Role play and practice using your self-defense items and techniques
  • Check batteries and function of your self-defense tools every 3 months. 

Self defense for runners is incredibly important. Learn the knowledge you need stay safe, with 14 products to help you survive an attack.

Regardless of whether or not you know some running self defense moves, bringing along certain products can help avoid an attack or fight off an attacker in just a few moments. These self defense products have a wide variety of purposes, such as sounding an alarm or creating light to make a scene, spraying an attacker before they approach, or enhancing your protection and ability to fight back should you be attacked. Below are some of the best self defense products for runners. Whether you choose to carry one or many, you will certainly be safer for it and please don't think of it as a nuisance.

Defender Ring

The Defender Ring is a sleek, discrete, powerful self-defense aid for runners. These rings look simply like a ring, but they are much more. These products can help to deter an attack, cut through ropes or zip ties, and even collect DNA.

Defender Ring offers three different types of rings: minimalist, maximalist, and open point rings. The minimalist rings feature a 5 mm blade with sharp edges and a pointed tip. The tip is protected, allowing runners to wear these rings at any time while being discrete.

Maximalist rings feature a 10 mm blade that is either serrated or straight. These blades are able to cut through rope or zip ties. Open point rings are not concealed in any way, but have a stylish-looking design with sharp edges and points. The provide the least protection of the three, but are readily available to use when worn.

Shop the Defender Rings here!

Running Alarms

Another self defense option for runners is to carry any alarm or whistle to easily create a scene and attract attention should you be attacked. These alarms can easily be concealed and accessed in even the most chaotic situation. Some, like Angel Sense come with a GPS tracker.

Here are a few of our favorite running alarms and whistles.

Pepper Sprays

Perhaps the most popular choice when it comes to self defense for runners is pepper spray. These sprays are easy to purchase and can be carried in a pouch, bag or even your hand.

Keep in mind, though, that sprays can be hard to activate, as they usually require moving a switch or lever to spray. We recommend checking the function of your pepper spray every few months to make sure it has not lost its charge and still functions. Plus it let's you practice your use! However, carrying some is certainly more protection than none. Some even have GPS tracking. Here are some of our favorites.

Running Lights

Another way to potentially deter an attack is to carry lights or wear bright gear so that you can easily be seen. These lights might not aid in actually fighting an attacker, but they help draw attention to runners to easily create a scene. Here are some of our favorites.


A simple way to help stay safer when running is to wear or bring ID at all times. This way, should the worst occur, someone else would be able to identify you when calling for help. Since we suggest carrying a phone with you so loved ones can track you, a wallet phone case allows everything to be in one place. 

Wear Bone Conducting Headphones

We love bone conducting headphones to make hearing your surroundings easier. Keep the volume low. 

Location Trackers 

There are so many ways for loved ones to track you! Fitness watches allow loved ones to track you. AirTags or Samsung SmartTags for Androids work well not just for luggage or pets, but runners too! 

Holders for AirTags

In one of our Facebook running group we had a big discussion about how to run with an AirTag and secure it for safety. There are so many accessories online to do this but our favorite is to attach it to a watchband or hook to a belt. Actually a dog collar holder for AirTags works well for slipping over a watchband or securing into a ponytail. The Carnival cruise medallion is the same size as an Airtag and watchband holders for it work well for Tags.  

Two Self Defense Resources for Runners

No matter how resourceful you may be, the best form of self defense for runners is awareness and knowledge. Being aware of your surroundings will help you stay alert to any potential dangers, and hopefully, take action to prevent an attack from beginning.

Knowledge of running self defense and actions to take in the event of an attack are key. Without this knowledge, runners are leaving their safety in the hands of others. Here are a few resources to help increase your knowledge, provide practice, and set you up to stay safe on the run.

In rare cases, though, running alone or in different locations can put our lives at risk. All runners should take the time to prepare themselves with a few defense products, and create a plan to escape an attack should the horrific event occur.

Stay safe, watch out for one another, and be confident in your own abilities.

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