Speaking of women’s safety unfortunately never gets old, not even in 2022.
And women who love to run know this very well.
But is there anything that we, as women as well as a society, can do to make our lives easier?
If you run in the evenings or at night and you change sidewalks the moment you hear someone walking behind you or coming your way, welcome to the team.
It’s not a fancy team, I’m telling you. It’s made of women who are frustrated, pissed and tired of repeating the same thing over and over again: leave 👏🏽 us 👏🏽 alone 👏🏽
The impact of street harassment can be huge. I bet every single woman that I know has been catcalled by a man who thought it was cool. Don’t want to break it to you, dear man with a big ego and a brain as small as your thumb, but this is SO NOT good.
Catcalling is a humiliating, objectifying and dangerous phenomenon that has to stop. The subject? Most of the time it’s the woman’s body. Our precious, divine and sacred temple.
The one we inhabit. The one we so often ignore or don’t listen to. The one we bring to the mat and the gym. The one we run with.
A safer and more enjoyable workoutTraining outside can be a serene and empowering experience, provided we know how to stay safe out there. As someone who loves to run (and to craft sports bras for badass women who put style AND comfort first), I asked myself: what precautions can we take for a safer and more enjoyable workout?
I had already written a blog article around this topic but I feel like it’s never enough. The more we talk about it, the more eyes and ears will see and hear this. And not just because it’s still International Women’s Month. This is something that should always be on everyone’s agenda.
Keep reading and let me know what you think on social media.
( . )( . ) This one is a given but better to say it out loud. If you can, avoid running late at night (and if you can’t, please run through lit areas). If you run during the day, more people will be around should you need help. Running in a moderately crowded park is also a great idea; plus, being in contact with nature improves mood, self-esteem and reduces stress.
( . )( . ) Call that runner buddy you’ve been wanting to catch up with and run together. You can even treat yourself to a healthy juice toast afterwards. Or take your dog! S/he will love you even more.
( . )( . ) Keys and money with you? Hide them in one of our MAAREE scrunchies. With a hidden zipped pocket, you can keep your essentials safely and comfortably on you at all times. Best kept secret ever, if you ask me.
( . )( . ) Your phone should also be with you (I know, annoying). We make this easy with phone-sized pockets on all MAAREE Leggings. Alternatively, you can always buy one of those armbands and forget about it. Looking for something classy? These swing it bags by Nice Guy Freddie could be what you didn’t know you needed.
Let’s hear it from them.
“There's a feature on the Strava app that hides your home location so that anyone following you online can't see exactly where your runs start and finish. It doesn't affect your distance stats so don't worry,” says Beverley Logan, Founder of Badass Mother Runners, a community of badass mums who run and have a penchant for empowering technical running wear.
She also suggests carrying ICE (In Case of Emergency) details with you, by either highlighting a number on your phone or by wearing your Parkrun wristband.
“Leaving an itinerary, including start and return time, with someone you trust is also an option,” adds Ashlee Hinds, Certified Fitness Trainer and Co-Founder of Women’s Epic Race, the first women's specific mountain trail race in Utah. “You can even set up GPS tracking on your phone or share the live location on Whatsapp if you prefer. It’s also important to know the length, difficulty, and any potential danger on your route. If you’re trail running, you can download your route on the OnX Backcountry app to ensure you take the right turns.”
She continues: “Carrying pepper spray or a personal defence weapon (that you are trained to use) can also be something you could consider. Or give an impression that your workout partner should be coming along, even if that workout partner is made-up.”
Is listening to music safe? Or shall we avoid it?Pumping yourself up while running is an empowering experience. I know you can relate. Whether it’s Beyoncé, Rihanna or the latest dance track you binge-listen to all the time, running with your favourite tracks in the background could motivate you and energise you to the max.
The question is: shall we do that? Or better not?
Jodi Horton, the other Co-Founder of Women’s Epic Race, says: “Being outside in nature can be very therapeutic and healing. Instead of listening to music while you are running, try listening to your surroundings, your breathing, or the sound of wildlife. Allow yourself to disconnect, to reconnect with freedom, nature, your best ideas, your potential, yourself.”
She continues: “One of my favourite things to do is dedicate each mile to someone or something I’m grateful for. When it gets hard, I finish that mile for them. It gets your mind off how hard the workout is and is also an incredibly empowering gratitude practice.”
Wow. Dedicating miles to a loved one. I never thought of it. Makes me want to get my trainers on and go for it.
“Or you could use bone conduction headphones: this way, you can still listen to what's going on around you. If you do listen to music just be sure to be extra careful of traffic and be mindful of what surrounds you,” adds Beverley Logan. “Or have your music playing loud on your phone – no one really cares and singing along is a great laugh!”
And yet, I can’t help but think that the irony (not) of it all is that we, as women and anyone who identifies as such, are most likely the ones who constantly try to find solutions.
Even when we’re not the ones who should fix this. We live in a society that victim-blames and this has to stop.
As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reminds us: “We should all be feminists. A feminist is the person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes”.
So, how can men be brought into the conversation?Beverley has no doubt: “By keeping the conversation going. Men are sometimes oblivious to how different things can be but they won't know if we don't tell them. Explain to them how to pass a female runner without making them feel intimidated (“Hi there, just passing you on the left”). Men need to call their mates out on inappropriate behaviours and let their peers know that it’s not ok to behave in certain ways.”
Hovering is definitely not the answer. Safely swinging wide when passing it is.
As runners, we should all have each other's backs. Ashlee agrees with me. “I go out of my way to make eye contact and say hello to everyone I pass by. I think it can be important that they know I see them and am aware as well as being friendly.”
Trusting your instinct should also be part of the picture. Don’t ask me how but our guts often have that inner knowing that keeps us safe from dangerous situations.
Most importantly, don’t give up on what you love and wear whatever you feel like wearing (may I suggest our Empower Sports Bra paired with our Sisterhoodie? wink wink)
As a woman, you’re not doing anything wrong by taking your beautiful, incredible body for a solo jog.
As Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, we’re women who run with the wolves.
So here’s my wish for all of us: may we always run unapologetically wild and free.