This Twitter Thread About The Safety Measures Women Take When Running Reveals A Huge Problem

Because no, we don't want to 'just run in the gym'

woman running

by Sofia Tindall |
Updated on

It's almost June, which means one thing: having spent the entire first five months of the year eating cheese and ignoring the monthly gym membership steadily leaving my bank account(anyone else?) I'm now panic-juicing, peeling my gym clothes out of the dust-festooned depths of my wardrobe and hunting for my running shoes.

All of this is standard preparation for the arrival of Exercise Season (AKA: the time of year when those of us who are not regular gym-goers, runners or yogi's come out of our caves a month before going on holiday and five months after vowing to have a 'healthy year' on the 1st of Jan). But as most of us will know, preparing for running outside or anything that you're likely to be doing alone in public can be a complicated procedure for women.

Yes, there's the challenge of trying to find a sports bra that doesn't make your boobs feel as though they're being compressed into your lungs. But god forbid, even in 23 degree heat you should run in a sports bra without a t-shirt. What if someone cat calls you? Then there's the challenge of running in an area you know will take you away from busier public places. Should you plan your route to make sure that you don't put yourself in harm's way?

It's a depressing truth: but for many of us, the simplest of day to day habits are insidiously dictated by the extra effort, time and inconvenience that goes with protecting personal safety or avoiding unwanted attention, and exercising alone is a textbook example. If, like me, running season is just beginning for you - you're probably familiar with this. In fact, it seems like a lot of women are - according to a Tweet which has now been shared over 4.7k times and received over 18,000 likes.

A Twitter user Amanda Deibert kicked it off when she tweeted 'One of my mom groups has a thread that is just women listing and recommending which kind of protection they take when them when they go out running (Ie. pepper spray, alarm necklaces, whistles, etc) in case you wondered what being a woman is like,' adding below 'Also, women: what do you use when you go out running?'

The tweet has (unsurprisingly) quickly taken off as over 5,705 comments racked up with women explaining the precautions that they take to avoid being attacked while running in public, with many admitting that they run with partners or dogs - but only size-able ones - to fend off potential attacks.

Meanwhile, other commenters (including those based in the US) admitted to taking more extreme safety precautions of carrying pepper spray or even weapons like knives and guns

One male commenter weighed in, saying 'I think about this a lot when I run (very early mornings when it’s dark) and encounter solo female runners, particularly if I find myself behind the other runner. I always change route or cross the road to remove the sense of threat that I know my presence creates.' adding 'I also run often with a female friend and safety is a topic that always comes up. Just by my being there she is and feels safer, which is so depressing. It’s such a stark reminder that while I personally have never had to consider safety, she does every time she goes out the door'. (For this commenter, we can only give a standing digital ovation).

But predictably, there have also been some not-so helpful comments cropping up since the original tweet was posted - and confusingly, most of them seem to be encouraging women to not go outside at all.

Alternatively, you could be this guy and start raising a conspiracy theory about rape statistics that get conflated with unwanted hugs (because the two get confused all the time...? Yes, know that we are confused too).

It goes without saying that we shouldn't have to be thinking about anything other than whether or not we have clean socks when going for a run and creating a playlist of songs that are going to distract from the inevitable stitch at 1km. Sadly, however, it seems for women all over the world that's still not the case (and no, somehow we don't think 'running in the gym instead' is a suitable solution).

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