[EXPLAINED] Best Self-Defense For Runners

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No one wants to think about being the victim of a crime, particularly a violent crime. Runners or joggers are however vulnerable to being attacked more frequently in these times.

They usually carry valuable equipment like phones, headphones, and watches, making them valuable targets.

Being a runner and a person who loves training, I understand the fear and anxiety of running when there’s a chance you could encounter an attacker on your path.

Training in self-defense has given me more confidence to go running and training, with a lot less fear or anxiety.

The solution is education, awareness, and protection by getting the proper training.

In this article, I will be explaining the best self-defense methods when you are out for a run.

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Best Self-Defense For Runners

There are a few important things we’ll need to cover:

  1. Situational awareness
  2. Distance control
  3. Striking defense
  4. Fight stance
  5. Balance and protection
  6. Methods of self-defense

Let’s take a closer look at these aspects of self-defense on the streets.

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Situational Awareness

Always be aware of your surroundings while you’re running.

Being aware of what is going on around you at all times will give you the best chance to react correctly in a tough situation.

Attackers will know whether you’re aware of your surroundings or not, and they’ll target those who are distracted or not paying attention to what’s going on around them.

Being aware of your surroundings makes you less vulnerable to attacks because you’re more prepared to take action if necessary.

How To Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

Training yourself to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings will make it safer for you while running, in the wild, and on the streets.

Runners enjoy listening to music or podcasts while they’re training.

This however makes you less aware of your environment, and ultimately more vulnerable to attacks.

5 Tips To Be More Aware Of Your Surroundings

Take these factors into account when you’re trying to maintain situational awareness.

  1. If you are using headphones, use your vision to stay alert and vigilant, although it is preferable to not be distracted by music or podcasts.
  2. Don’t be distracted by your phone while running.
  3. Run while it’s still light as evenings provide cover for attackers.
  4. Use a smartphone GPS Tracking App when going for a jog or a run.
  5. If possible try and run with friends, a partner, a group, or your dog.
  6. Try varying your jogging routes by choosing familiar and populated paths.
  7. Wear a self-defense ring with a hidden blade.
  8. Don’t stop for strangers or be distracted.
  9. Don’t run on strange routes that you have not used.

If you stay aware of your surroundings you’ll reduce your chances of becoming a victim.

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Distance Control 

To hurt you, your attacker needs to get close to you.

So to keep control of a dangerous situation, make sure you keep a good distance between yourself and your attacker.

By being difficult to control, you’ll make your attacker think twice about assaulting you.

With effective distance management, you’re more likely to fend them off and come out of the situation unharmed.

But how exactly do you manage distance for self-defense? Let’s take a look.

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5 Ways To Keep Your Distance

Keeping your distance from an attacker gives you a better chance of defending yourself.

Use these techniques for managing your distance:

  1. If possible try and get an object like a tree or bush that is big enough between you and the attacker.
  2. If you have an object like a bicycle or chair near you, use it as a shield to keep your distance.
  3. Stay as far enough away as the attacker’s longest weapon, preferably a leg length or more – use quick sharp kicks if necessary to keep your attacker away.
  4. Keep your arms in front of you to push off the attacker if they get past your leg defense, and never allow them to get a solid grip on you.
  5. Always keep moving and don’t stop as this will make it more difficult for the attacker to grab hold of you.

In addition to being aware, distance control is one of the most important factors for surviving an attack while running.

Fighting off a bigger or stronger person is difficult, so distance will help you get away from the situation much easier.

Striking Defense

The only time strike defense will be used, is when you can’t get away from the attacker.

Use all your limbs for striking when you’re defending yourself – feet, knees, elbows, fists, and even headbutts if necessary.

By striking your attacker when they’re too close for you to get away, you make them think twice about continuing their assault.

Avoid being an easy victim, and you’ll be surprised how often attackers back off.

4 Ways To Use Striking For Self-Defense

Forget everything you’ve seen in professional fights with rules.

A streetfight is much more dangerous because there are no rules, which is good for you too.

  1. Always keep your arms up to push the attacker away or block any strikes to your head to avoid losing consciousness.
  2. Try keeping a distance between you and your attacker to make it difficult for them to land any strike.
  3. If the attacker gets into the striking zone, try to get as close as possible to them to reduce the impact of their punches.
  4. If possible, try and get the attacker off balance by tripping them to the ground. Once the attacker is down, run and seek help.

Keeping a distance between you and the attacker is better, so always try to get away unharmed first.

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best self-defense techniques for runners
CREDIT: She Knows

Fight Stance

A fight stance will only be needed if you can’t get away from the attacker and you need to defend yourself.

It’s important knowing how to stand and have a good balance when facing an attacker.

A proper fight stance will give you the best possible chance to defend yourself against any potential attack.

What Is A Good Fight Stance

Your stance makes it easier for you to defend yourself and get out of a dangerous situation as fast as possible.

Balance is very important. If you can’t keep your balance you will most likely be overpowered by the attacker.

What you need to have a good stance:

  1. Balance
  2. Protection

Let’s look at balance and protection in more detail.

CREDIT: She Knows

Balance and Protection

A proper fighting stance will enable you to generate more striking power while protecting yourself, remain balanced and sturdy, and will prepare you to run for help as soon as the opportunity to get away presents itself.

6 Ways To Achieve Proper Balance

Balance is an even distribution of weight. This will enable the runner to remain upright and steady.

  1. Tuck in your chin, shrug your shoulders slightly, and bring your hands up in front of your face with palms facing forward.
  2. Always keep your eyes on your attacker.
  3. Your feet must be shoulder width apart with one foot slightly in front of the other on the dominant leg.
  4. Your hips and feet must be in the direction of your attacker.
  5. Your knees must be slightly bent.
  6. Stand on the balls of your feet so you are able to move fast when needed.

Balance is key to facing your attacker.

3 Tips For Protection

It’s important to protect vulnerable parts such as your face, ribs, and your liver

Here are a few ways you are able to protect yourself:

  1. Keep your hands up, and in front of you to protect your face.
  2. Elbows are always tucked into your sides to keep your ribs and liver protected.
  3. Move aroundIt makes it much more difficult for your attacker to land strikes when you are a moving target.

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CREDIT: Marathon Handbook

Methods of Self-Defense

There are a few ways of defending yourself.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways.

Identify The Weak Spots On The Body

CREDIT: Brightside

There may be a size disadvantage as attackers generally will attack those perceived to be weaker or smaller. Knowing a person’s weak spots can help to overcome these disadvantages.

You should always focus your attacks on the eyes, nose, throat, chest, knees, and groin as these are the weaker areas of the body and will help you defend yourself better.

Breaking Grips

One of the most common ways an attacker will attack you is by trying to grab you from behind.

Breaking a grip is usually tough, especially if the attacker is stronger. Fortunately, there are methods you can use to break free from these grips.

4 Tips On How To Break Grips

Breaking grips is all about exposing and attacking the weaker part of the attacker’s grip.

  1. Keep moving, this makes it harder for the attacker to get any type of grip on you.
  2. Use the pressure points on the hand between the thumb and the finger to break the attackers’ grip.
  3. Get a firm grip on the attacker as this will make it more difficult to be thrown around.
  4. Always target the attacker’s fingers if he has a grip on you as this is the weaker part of the grip.

Always remember to keep moving and fight back when the attacker is trying to grab you.

Pushing, pulling or any type of rough movement will make it extremely difficult for the attacker to secure his grip.

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Using Submissions

Submissions are only used when you’re in control of the situation.

This involves hurting the attacker and making him/her give up so that you can flee the situation and seek help.

Submissions are difficult to execute, but with proper training, you will master them.

2 Basic Ways To Submit An Attacker

There are many types of submissions that can be used.

Let’s start off with two basic ways to submit and get your attacker off you.

  1. Armbar from close guard
  2. Getting someone off the mount

The armbar from close guard is just one of the submission techniques while getting someone off mount is one of the techniques used to get the attacker off you.

The Armbar From Close Guard


Getting Someone Off The Mount

CREDIT: London Wing Chun Academy


You will feel safer and more confident while running or jogging once you get proper training in self-defense.

Martial Arts techniques are used in self-defense such as Jiu-Jitsu, Krav Maga, etc..

We have a  self-defense course that discusses these techniques in greater detail.

If you would like to feel less of a victim and have more confidence, make valuable time to start training in the art of mixed martial arts, or take our self-defense course.