Friday, November 21, 2014

National Running Safety Month: Tips From "The Self Defense Ninja"

We've heard from avid runners, trainers, and coaches about how to keep your body fueled and safe over the past few weeks due to National Running Safety Month. But November is not over yet and there are still plenty of tips coming your way. Today we're hearing from the Self-Defense Ninja. Instead of tips focused on the type of running gear to wear or what type of food to eat pre-run, he's going to explain how to be alert during your run to avoid dangerous situations.
National Running Safety Month: 5 Essential Self Defense Tips

November is National Running Safety Month and there has been lots of awareness raised on general running safety - such as wearing bright clothes or staying on an appropriate path. But staying on guard against potential threats is also very important while running, though it is less talked about.

Here are 5 essential self defense tips for those who like to keep fit through running:

1. Plan Ahead
I can't stress this enough. Avoiding trouble is always the first line of defense, and this means planning your running route before hand. Stay out of bad neighborhoods or places that have few people around during the time that you run. Try to plan a route that passes by several public locations that will have people present at the time that you are running. This way, if you suspect that you are being followed, you can run to one of your pre-planned public locations for safety. I would highly advise against running back to your home if you are being followed, as this would reveal your place of residence to a potentially violent stalker.

2. Turn Down Your Music
Predators and criminals tend to go after easy targets. If you are running with your headphones on and you have the volume turned up, the chances are a criminal would find it very easy to sneak up behind you and catch you totally off-guard. Now, many of my friends like to jog while listening to their favorite music. What I suggest to them is to keep the volume reasonably low or jog with only one earbud in your ear. This way you can hear if there is someone or something (like a dog) running up behind you, while still being able to enjoy your music.

3. Don't Run Alone
You are definitely safer running with a partner. A running partner can assist in getting help in any type of emergencies - be it medical or otherwise. A dog can also make a good running partner and an excellent threat deterrent as well. If you don't have a running partner, consider finding one through your local running or fitness community.

4. Bring Your Phone
Be prepared for emergencies by carrying your phone on you when you run (armband straps are cheap and easy to find). If you run into any type of trouble you can call the authorities, friends, or family to come to your aid.

5. Carry a self defense weapon - just in
Be prepared for anything that life throws at you. Carrying an effective self defense weapon provides you with not only crucial personal protection, but also the confidence you need to feel free and ready when you are out on a run.  That's why I suggest to my family, friends, and my readers at  to empower themselves with the best self defense products on the market and take self defense classes.

Through my personal research and experience with self defense, I have found that Sabre Red pepper spray is one of the most effective and safest personal defense products you can carry with you on a run or when you go out. On my blog, I like to recommend the Sabre Red 3-in-1 Jogger self defense spray because:

  • It is light and easy to run with
  • Has a super convenient armband
  • Safe and easy to use
  • Powerful formula is extremely effective at stopping all threats - big or small

  • I feel much more confident when running knowing that I have a powerful defense option up my sleeve - just in case.

    Keep Fit - Be prepared! Running is a great way to keep fit and stay healthy. Just remember to keep safe by being prepared for any threat or emergency. Keep fit, be prepared, and happy running, everyone!

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    Thursday, November 20, 2014

    National Running Safety Month: Safety Tips for Your Nutritional Health

    Today's National Running Safety Month post comes to you from Amanda Shannon-Verrengia, a certified personal trainer, track and field coach and avid runner. Later this month we're going to hear from Amanda on what personal safety tips she recommends for running with pets. But with this post, we're switching things up a bit and approaching safety from a different angle.

    Gluten Free Fuel
    By. Amanda Shannon-Verrengia

    When a conversation about safety for runners comes up, we tend to automatically think about the obvious: knowing your surroundings, being alert and attentive on your run, wearing reflective gear and the like.

    What about safety when it comes to our nutritional health? Sure, you can carry pepper spray, take a stellar self-defense class and make sure you're visible during those early morning and late night runs. But none of those important safety measures will prepare you for the deficit that can be experienced if you are lacking nutritionally. The amount of people who end up in medical tents or sitting in a daze on the curb during a race is often due to improper fueling, so there is no doubt that it's an important part of your personal safety routine.

    I've been a runner since childhood and have always been in tune with the importance of nutrition thanks to parents who taught me all about green smoothies, pre-race dinners and the importance of carb-filled snacks before a run or a tough workout. A little over two years ago, I started eating a gluten-free diet in the hope of combating my autoimmune condition, alopecia aerata, so it was a whole new ballgame for me in the nutritional department. I know, I know... "HOW do you fuel for those long runs without pasta?" right?

    When I started my gluten-free runner journey, I was lucky enough to have my super smart gluten-free sister by my side. She's a health coach and author of The Gluten Free Revolution, so I'm never lacking when it comes to ideas for fueling my runs. And here's the truth: being a gluten-free runner is the same as being a gluten eating runner. You need to prepare nutrient dense meals and snacks that will get you to the finish line of your next work out or race.

    Here are some gluten-free fuel ideas to get you started:

    1. Gluten-Free Pasta
    Don't worry, you don't have to sacrifice pasta as a gluten-free runner! The night before a tough run or race, I like to stick to the runner ritual of pasta for dinner. My favorites? The Ancient Harvest Quinoa pasta is amazing. Tinkyada makes some great rice based pastas. Even big brands like Delallo and Barilla have gluten-free pastas and they are AMAZING. I don't like to overdo the pasta eating pre-race, but I love a bowl of simple noodles with a red sauce and some Parmesan.
    2. A Baked Potato
    Another awesome and easy meal to fuel you for your run. I LOVE baked sweet potatoes, but the russet potatoes will do just fine too! Keep it simple with the veggies before a race and just put a bit of broccoli in there so your stomach doesn't disagree in the morning. Top it with some cheddar, and if you love it like I do, some sour cream and - YUM! 

    3. Nuun
    Nuun Active Hydration is such an excellent source of electrolytes. A simple tablet that you drop in your water, Nuun is not only a fantastic way to quickly absorb electrolytes, it is also an all natural, good for the earth product that tastes GREAT! 

    4. Picky Bars
    Can I get a HECK YES for Picky Bars?! They are phenomenal as a pre-run snack or a post run replenishment. All of the bars are gluten-free and totally amazing. Sign up for the Picky Club and you'll have a box of bars delivered to your doorstep each month - WOOT! 

    5. Honey Stinger Chews
    Great for right before or during a long run or race. Honey Stinger chews are made from 100% organic tapioca syrup and honey. They taste great and can make all the difference in whether or not you stay strong till the finish. 

    6. Pure Honey
    The simplest and one of my favorites. Grab some honey and take a tablespoon before your head out on your next long run. The simple carbohydrates and unrefined sugar make it the perfect run fuel before, during and after a hard effort. 

    I know you're super in love with all of these gluten-free products (how couldn't you be?!) but, do yourself a favor and never try anything new before a race. Your body may not like it! So, give some of these a try during your next workout and see how it makes your gluten-free self feel! 

    What do you do to fuel your run? Do you have any stellar gluten-free fueling traditions that you swear by? Share them with us!

    About Amanda: Amanda Shannon-Verrengia is the creator and voice behind the RUN INTENDED site and blog. In addition to being a certified ACE personal trainer and USATF Track and Field Coach, Amanda has been a runner since childhood, earning experience both personally and professionally in the running industry. Amanda lives with her husband, Anthony, and her four cats and two dogs in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Like what you've read? Check out more from Amanda on her social media platforms: 

    Monday, November 17, 2014

    National Running Safety Month: 9 Tips to Run Safer from rUnladylike's Jesica D'Avanza

    As National Running Safety Month continues, the SABRE team is committed to sharing safety tips and advice throughout the month of November. Today, runner, triathlete and marathon coach Jesica D’Avanza from is sharing 9 running safety tips.

    National Running Safety Month: 9 Running Safety Tips

    When I think about running, there are many things that come to mind: Long runs that start before sunrise. Track sessions. Coffee with friends after a tough workout. The joy of getting a new pair of shoes. The wind against your face. The profound feeling of crossing a finish line. Personal safety.

    Wait, personal safety? Yes, staying safe while running is something that is constantly on my mind. Two years ago, my good friend and training partner was out for a 10-mile run on a Saturday morning when she was attacked.

    “I heard footsteps behind me. As runner’s instinct, I moved to the right assuming it was just someone running faster than me who needed to pass me. But as I turned around, I noticed a 250-pound man running full speed right at me. He held onto me, grabbed my breasts and rubbed my body. I screamed for help and tried to fight him off, but he had me in a bear hug-type hold and I couldn’t move. After what seemed like forever, he let go and ran off. I immediately called 911.”

    Luckily, the neighborhood where my friend was running had just installed neighborhood watch cameras, and her attacker’s photo was caught on camera. He was arrested several days later and was sentenced to prison earlier this year after committing numerous assaults.

    November is National Running Safety Month. Although we runners spend a lot of time talking about gear, nutrition, fueling strategies, pacing and many other factors about the sport we love, safety is something we often don’t spend enough time focusing on. No matter where you run, here are 9 tips in honor of National Running Safety Month.

    1. Avoid running alone in the dark.
    Running in the dark can be necessary due to work schedules or long training runs. But it can present dangers, such as an increased chance of tripping and hurting yourself on uneven pavement that’s hard to see, or an attacker hiding where you – and others – can’t see him. If your only option is to run before the sun comes up or after it sets, join a training group or find a running buddy who can run with you. Stick to routes that are well lighted and where more people and traffic are likely to travel. If that isn’t possible, do your run on a treadmill where you are safer.

    2. Take a self-defense class.
    Taking a self-defense class can help better prepare you if you encounter a dangerous situation while running. You will learn tips on how to react, how to use your “weapons” like personal pepper spray so they aren’t used against you and other helpful tactics that could help save your life. SABRE offers a Civilian Personal Safety Program that can help you learn techniques for how to respond if you encounter an attack.

    3. Be alert and have a plan.
    My friend who was attacked was not running in the dark or on a trail. She was running in the morning in a neighborhood she was familiar with. This means that we always need to be aware of our surroundings and have a plan for what we might do if we are faced with a dangerous situation. Glance around you and behind you often. Be cautious at intersections, near parking lots, in neighborhoods, by large bushes or other large structures, etc. Cross to the other side of the street in advance of reaching a person or obstacle in the distance that looks unusual. Be aware of your surroundings and focus on what is happening around you. This may mean not listening to music while running or only having one ear bud in so you can focus, hear and be more alert.

    4. Be visible.
    To help ensure cars and other vehicles see you while you’re running, wear bright colored clothes, a reflective vest and/or blinking lights so cars can identify you at night and during low-light hours like dusk and dawn. Wear knuckle lights or a headlamp when running in darker conditions to avoid tripping and falling.

    5. Run against traffic.
    If you’re running next to a road or on a road without a sidewalk, be sure to run on the opposite side of the road against traffic so you can see cars coming toward you.

    6. Carry your cell phone with you.
    You never know what might happen when you are out running. You could fall. You could have severe cramps. You could encounter a situation like my running partner. If you have a phone with you, you can quickly call a loved one or friend for help or 911. Be sure to conceal your phone when possible so you are a less likely target for theft.

    7. Run with your personal information.
    In case something happens to you while you’re running, it’s important to have your personal information with you so people know who you are and who to call for help. I love the Road I.D. Shoe Tag, which you can customize with your information and emergency contact and attach onto your shoe.

    8. Always tell someone where you’re going.
    Before you leave your house for a run, tell a friend or loved one where you’re going and when they should expect you back. By having an idea of the route you’re going to stick to and how long it will take you, they can look for you if something happens or you don’t come back when expected.

    9. Carry personal safety products.
    Consider bringing some “weapons” or personal safety products with you while running to help protect you if you encounter a dangerous situation. SABRE offers some great options, such as personal self-defense sprays for athletes (like this one for runners and this one for cyclists) and personal alarms that make a very loud noise to hopefully scare potential attackers away from the attention.  

    Have you ever found yourself in a dangerous situation while running? Do you run with self-defense pepper spray or a personal alarm? What other running safety tips would you add to this list in honor of National Running Safety Month?

    About Jesica D’Avanza

    Jesica D’Avanza is a communications professional, writer and the blogger behind As a runner, triathlete and coach, she’s on a mission to find her extraordinary and inspire others to do the same. On her blog – appropriately named by combining the words “run” and “unladylike” – she shares her uncensored and unladylike adventures of running and triathlon training. Jesica lives in Atlanta and has completed eight marathons, eight half marathons and numerous triathlons, including two half iron distance races. Jesica is also a certified marathon coach. In her day job, she serves as vice president of marketing communications for the nation’s largest nonprofit organization that fights muscle disease. You can also follow her adventures on Twitter (@rUnladylike), Instagram (@runladylike) and Facebook.