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Essential Protection Gear For Runners

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People are often surprised when they fully comprehend all of the risks associated with running, a sport which seems pretty tranquil and safe on the surface. In reality, though, running exposes you to a host of potential threats – both of the natural and man-made varieties.

So, then, how can you protect yourself? What are some pieces of protection gear for runners that you should consider adding to your training arsenal?


Depending on the time of day – or time of year – in which you choose to head outside for your runs, it may be hard for drivers to see you as they pass on the road. In some areas, the fall and winter months tend to be fairly dim and grey throughout the day, making visibility an almost ever-present concern.

To ensure that your presence is known and that you can be easily seen, consider adding some high-visibility clothing to your wardrobe. While fluorescent yellow is undoubtedly the most commonly used color for high-vis clothing, orange and pink tend to stand out more to passing drivers.

Of course, you could take this whole “visibility thing” a step further. Instead of simply reflecting the available light in your environment, you could opt for gear that produces it’s own light. A variety of LED-clad pieces of gear are available to outdoor athletes, including jackets, bracelets and even head bands. Generally, this type of illumination won’t be necessary during the day but could be invaluable to runners who usually train in the early morning or evening hours.

Be Heard

Unfortunately, some of the causes for concern dealt with by runners come from other people. While a carefully chosen route could help to minimize the danger and make you feel more secure, you may also want more protection. When preparing to protect yourself in these situations, you have a few options.

A common approach – which involves the least amount of actual conflict – is to essentially have a personal alarm. This category of personal protection equipment will create a loud, disruptive sound designed to startle your potential attacker and draw attention. These alarms can also be useful for warding off dogs and other animals.

When it comes to the actual design and mechanism of alarm, though, there’s a pretty wide selection. Old-school devices like whistles and air horns have the benefit of needing no external power source but electronic alarms can achieve incredible volumes. Newer, battery-powered alarms also often include different options when it comes to tone and function.

Fight Back

After considering the different types of protection gear for runners, you may opt for a more aggressive approach. If you decide to go this route, there are a number of devices that you can easily carry and use to protect yourself in different situations.

Some runners chose to carry retractable batons – sticks made of lightweight plastic or metal that can be used to strike an attacker or create a barrier. While this type of self defense tool has a long history of effective use, it does require a degree of practice and knowledge to use properly.

Others even decide to carry devices like pepper spray or the retractable claws of products like the TigerLady self defense tool. Modeled after the claws of a cat, the TigerLady features hooked metal blades that extend when the user squeezes the handle and are specifically designed to capture DNA samples from the attacker.  These forms of protective gear are deliberately designed to be useable without at special training or skill.

It’s important to understand that laws on these self defense devices will vary from state to state and may even be impacted by local city laws. In some areas, the restrictions require you to purchase the item within your state instead of through the internet or another state. While all of this can be a little murky, it is unfortunately, your legal responsibility to research the laws about any self defense device that you’re considering about using.

Be Known

Regardless of the self defense approach that you decide to take, it’s important in all situations to have proper identification. Because runners often do what they can to carry as little as possible during their workouts, this can be a real problem. Even if you do have your phone, wallet or photo-ID with you, these things can pretty easily be lost or damaged – particularly during car accidents.

To increase the chances that your identification will stay with you regardless of what happens, consider a wearable form – like a dogtag or bracelet. Some runners even tuck tags into their shoes as a form of ID. These options can be custom printed with your personal information, the information of your emergency contact and even some basic medical directions. If you have any specialized medical needs or requests, this may be your only way to communicate that information to emergency medical personnel.


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