While running alone is never the best option for a variety of reasons, it is something many women frequently do. A better option is to always run with a friend. However, if that is not possible or you prefer to run alone, please heed these six tips to stay safe.

Carry pepper stray or mace:
Stalking is a concern when running alone, but other things can also be dangerous to a runner, such as a stray dog or wild animal. At least if you have pepper spray or mace, it can debilitate an attacker for a while and give you some extra time to get away. Mace made for runners comes in a ¾ ounce spray canister and can project up to 12 feet. Each canister has approximately 10 bursts in it. If you run on secluded nature trails and there are bears in the area, bear spray would be a good thing to carry instead.

Vary your routes:
It is never a good thing for someone not known to you to figure out which trail you will run on a certain day. Mix it up. Have several routes you can run and be unpredictable as far as which one you will run next.

Leave the headphones at home:
When wearing headphones, your senses hearing is not working to let you know of sounds which could indicate someone is approaching you from the rear.

Take self-defense classes:
While this does give you another weapon to use against an attacker while running, it is good to know regardless of where you are. You never know where an attack will happen.

Make yourself visible:
If you run at night, make sure other people can see you and you see them. Wear clothes with built-in reflectors that can be seen at night. For you to see others, wear a headlamp that projects light up ahead of you.

Use common sense:
Always let at least one person know which route you will be taking and when you expect to return. Carry your cell phone that way if you do need help, you have a way of contacting someone. If you run at night stick to roads you know. Avoid trails or paths that might be uneven to reduce your risk of rolling an ankle or worse.

Trust your gut. If it is giving you that uneasy feeling that something bad is about to happen, listen to it. It may be a good time to turn around and go the other way.

It is a dangerous world we live in today and you must be on your toes to stay safe. Use these six tips to reduce your risk of attack or injury when running alone.