Monday, January 24, 2011

Running. Safety. Both.

[NOTE: To listen to this podcast, download at this link: http://www.strategicliving.org/Sound_Safety_1-24-11.mp3]

Today's topic is women who run. Not with wolves, nor with scissors, but who just plain run. Or jog, or speedwalk, or walk. Whatever. You're doing it OUT THERE.

Because there's been a lot recently in the local media about women who've been assaulted while walking or jogging in some of Seattle's most popular parks.  And I'm asked if women should even be out running about before dawn or after dark (for instance, you can listen to an interview I did on KOMO Radio on Dec 21, posted on both this blog and on my website, where the host felt that maybe women should not be out and about at those hours).

I say it depends. I for one resent the idea that women are told that we have to severely limit activities because of a few creeps, and I do recognize that these creeps are out there looking for targets.  This is a real and serious threat. Consider what you are willing to face and how you will reduce your risk. If you are ready to acknowledge that yes the lack of light plus fewer (if any) other people around do put you at higher risk, and you are willing to take that risk and be ready to fight back, then yeah go for it. Some ways you can reduce your risk of being targeted in the first place are to find a workout buddy or group (or start one yourself), or choose routes that are more likely to be visible and populated.

And, speaking of running, I'm also often asked about listening to music. Now, listening to music on your mp3 while running does put you at higher risk, because you're seen as less aware of who's around you, and you know what, you probably are.  So why do people still do it?  Well, it's been shown over and over that music enhances your workout. It energizes you, it gets you into a groove, it makes you happier and you have a better workout. And, to be honest, if you went out running with your iPod, about 99.98% nothing bad will happen and you will return home safely.

As an aside, that's a testament to the incredibly safe world we live in today. But that's a topic for another blog and podcast entry.

I say if you are ready to acknowledge that yes the impairment of your hearing and hence attention to your environment puts you at higher risk, and you are willing to take that risk and be ready to fight back, then go for it. But consider what you willing to do to reduce your risk.

For information on upcoming self-defense classes, visit Strategic Living Safety and Self-Defense Training.

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