I like to listen to music while I workout, sometimes even catch a podcast or consume some audio book, but I can’t really justify it. Although it would appear higher risk for an assailant to pick a physically active target, it keeps happening. One Seattle woman credited a recent self-defense class for helping her fend off an attacker. Runners World magazine reports that 43% of women running have reported being harassed or followed. Perhaps it’s a primitive chase instinct? Maybe, but I think other things such as an easily grabbed ponytail or the lowered situational awareness the comes from wearing headphones factor in. Let me clarify: I am in no way victim blaming. No one deserves to be harassed or assaulted.
It is safer to run with a friend or a dog, but sometimes that’s not practical. So plan your route. Is there good lighting? If not consider using a tactical flashlight. Are there people around that might help? If not, then your personal alarm might not be so useful. Iphone users may be able to send out an emergency SOS, but the damage may already be done before help arrives.
My top recommendation is to start taking self-defense training and to use your best judgement.
When I run stairs I always bring my pepper spray and if I decide to listen to something, I only wear one earbud. It’s not a perfect solution, but I can’t always share my listening material with the world on my clip on Bluetooth speaker.