"Runsafer" Seminars Help Protect You on the Trail - NBC Chicago
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"Runsafer" Seminars Help Protect You on the Trail



    Former Olympic Runner Offers Running Safety Tips

    Two-time Olympic runner Todd Williams -- who also happens to be a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt -- teaches basic self-defense moves all over the country at his "Runsafer" seminars. (Published Friday, June 13, 2014)

    “If it ever goes down, you won’t lose.”

    These were the words that stuck out to me the most at the Runsafer seminar. They instill the deepest of confidence; as they make you stand a little taller and feel a little stronger.

    The Runsafer program was founded by Todd Williams, a two-time Olympic distance runner with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

    This guy knows what he’s doing. He spent an hour taking us through the most common assault situations a runner might face, teaching simple techniques that could save your life.

    Williams discussed several safety tips and techniques in the seminar, and I highly recommend it for all walkers and runners.

    Williams teaches 14 safety tips, and while they are ALL important, three really struck a chord with me: Awareness of Surroundings, Being Predictable and Going With Your Gut.

    Awareness of Surroundings
    In today’s world, we are so distracted by technology that we constantly put ourselves in danger. Runners especially are guilty of this.

    Just think about what you do at the beginning of a run: You walk outside. Strap on your arm band. Wait for the GPS to kick in. Mess with your headphones. Adjust the volume. Tuck in the cords. Start your running app. THEN you look up.
    Tim, Amie and Lindsey at the Runsafer Seminar at Bob Ronker’s Running Spot in Cincinnati
    Now think about the end of your run: You finish, exhausted. Stop your GPS. Take out your head phones. Untangle them from your shirt. Rip off your armband. Check your pace. Take a picture. Share on social media. THEN you look up.

    Sound familiar? Break this cycle and instead do these things in the safety of your home or locked car. Do not be a target.

    Being Predictable
    Williams shared a story of a woman who was assaulted near her home in a nice, affluent neighborhood, not unlike where you might run. This woman had her weekly running schedule and stuck to it religiously. She ran at the same time, on the same days, every single week.

    On the surface this sounds harmless, but her assailant knew exactly where she’d be and when he could attack. Have a schedule, but switch it up. Go at different times, on different days.

    Again, don’t be a target.

    Go With Your Gut
    Your body knows, before your brain, if something is wrong. Your unconscious self, the part of you that is functioning without your help, is keenly aware of danger even before you are.

    Women, in particular, are superior at recognizing our “gut feelings” because our ancestors had to not only keep themselves alive, but their children as well.

    We’re uniquely wired to our gut instinct, so tap into that. If it feels wrong, get out of there.

    For the full experience and understanding of the actual Jiu Jistu techniques Williams teaches, take the seminar. In fact, take all of your friends, and let’s all run a little safer.

    Amie Bracken is a mother of four who still finds time to run and blog about it. Read more of her running advice at rulesforrunning.com. She realized her dream of running Boston in 2011, and now sticks to the half marathon. Follow her on Twitter at @muffinbracken and at the Bad Angel Running Club.