A blog by runners. For runners.

Run Safe With Social Media

social-media

As a young woman living in Chicago, I use a variety of social media tools to keep me safe while running. I create my routes on WalkJogRun, check-in at different locations on foursquare, tweet, and text on the run. In this blog post, I will explore these different social media outlets, and explain why they work to help me feel safe on the run.

Email your route to someone

If I know I'm going out on a run in the dark alone, I try to make sure I map it out on WalkJogRun. Once I've created the route, I click “Route Actions” and scroll down to
“Email.” The form then allows you to write a personal note to whoever you're sending it to. I send it to my mom and say, I'm running this 5 mile loop at 8:00 tonight. If anything were to happen to me, there is a record of where I was. If you don't have a free account on WalkJogRun, you really should sign up!

Check-in on foursquare

foursquare

I'm also an active user of the foursquare iPhone app. People have created check-ins everywhere on foursquare. Every few miles into a run, I will check in at a new location. I've found locations as specific as, “the bridge at Fullerton Street.” This is another way for people to know where I am. If anything were to happen, they would also know my last location. I think this is important not only because of the risk of predators, but runners may twist an ankle, or any other number of things. I also never accept people as friends on foursquare that I don't know. I think in the world of social media, this is an important thing to remember. I've had a few friend requests on the app from people using an avatar I didn't know or recognize. Don't accept those people as friends.

Tweet on the run

social-media

I use the Twitter app on my phone religiously. Sometimes foursquare will allow you to post to Twitter. This may not be the smartest thing to do while out for a run alone. I do see Twitter as beneficial, to discuss where you are in the run in terms of mileage. When I needed to go for 8+ mile runs during my marathon training, I would tweet what mile I was on. This can be good, especially for those you e-mailed your route to. They will know how far you made it in a route if anything happened. I also love getting tweeted back, and having discussions on the run through Twitter. The main reason not to post all your foursquare check-ins to Twitter is if you have a public profile, which I do. Sometimes the frequent tweeting causes me to lose a few followers on Twitter. I'm okay with that ;).

Text your friends

When I was training for the Chicago Marathon, I needed to do my 20 mile run after 5 pm. I used my phone to text message my friend every ten to fifteen minutes. He knew I was training for the marathon and would encourage me to keep me going and make it to 20 miles. I would also include where I was, for example, “I just hit 15 miles. I'm at the tennis courts past the Belmont Harbor.” Running that 20 miles alone was tough. I called a few different friends and just talked on the phone while running. Not only did this keep me safe, but it provided encouragement from the friends I talked to telling me to keep running.

Use common sense

All of these tools really help me feel at ease while on a run by myself. My best friend and training partner currently lives out of state for graduate school. I plan on looking into different running groups around the city. But for now, as a woman with friends who don't exactly like to run, this is a great strategy. It's also very convenient because it allows me to still do the runs when I want to.

Don't take these social media tools and strategies as a way to avoid common sense. Trust your gut. If you are in a situation or area that you don't feel right about, run away from it. When running alone at night, I always suggest running on sidewalks and busy streets that are filled with lots of people. These strategies are simply an added layer of protection on top of the common sense I use already.

Love social media? Don't forget to “Like” WalkJogRun on Facebook and “Follow” them on Twitter!

Do you have tips of your own for keeping safe on the run? Share them below!