We spend a lot of time discussing our EDC in terms of what we carry when we are working or out and about in town. How about when we are getting in a run? We'll talk about the gear you should have with you, but more importantly, the Mental EDC you should also be carrying. How do you take your God-given gut feeling and instincts and gain the knowledge to know what to do next?
Everyday carry is anything you carry on a daily basis. Whether it be your keys, cell phone, personal protection tools, flashlight, knife, etc. it's all about being intentional to have the gear you need for what you need to get done as well as the unexpected.
I live in the North Texas area and had heard on the news that since October 2018, aggressive coyotes have chased and/or attacked multiple people who have been out running, jogging, or going for a walk in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Consider this story out of Frisco, TX, which happened recently.
Two women were out for a jog just before 6am when the attack occurred. The event lasted for approximately 2-minutes and the two women stated they tried to fight off the coyote the entire time. They didn’t try to run away, they tried to make themselves “look big”, they were making a lot of noise, trying to kick it, and trying various others methods to scare it off. They felt it was trying to wear them down based on how it was acting.
Before the 1700s, the coyote was confined mostly to the prairies of central North America. But, they have expanded across much of the North American continent, moving into territory once controlled by wolves. They can now be found across the lower 48 states and Southern parts of Canada.
The coyote kept biting them on the legs, knocked one of them down, and finally latched on to one of the women's thighs. A passerby happened to see what was going on and stopped to let the women in his car. According to him, the coyote was still in attack mode when he stopped to help. He then drove them to the hospital where the hospital employees said this was occurring more and more frequently. A young boy has been attacked and another woman was also attacked and sent to the hospital recently after sustaining neck injuries. She had to have surgery as a result of the attack.
This incident prompted me to think through an EDC setup that could work well for strenuous activity such as running or biking.
The requirements I had were:
- Practical, making it more likely that you'll not make the last-second decision to leave it at home
- Flexible, as depending on the weather, type of clothing you have, how you want to carry it, where you're going, how long you'll be running for, you'll want to modify it
Physical EDC items to carry
Modify this list to meet your needs.
- A form of identification in case of emergency. If something bad happens folks need a way to identify who you are.
- Have a flashlight when out at night and have it in your hand ready to go. You can use a headlamp for navigation, etc., but a handheld flashlight can also be used in a self-defense situation. Check out our article on how to use a flashlight for self-defense if you want more details on that particular subject.
- What about carrying pepper spray? It’s not just for people, but can be used on animals as well. SABRE Red Pepper Spray Gel for Runners with a hand strap is a good option. Look at the incident referenced above and see how pepper spray could have been introduced into that scenario. Keep in mind using pepper spray is environmentally dependent and not every location will warrant it. Use your best judgment and don’t underestimate how well it works.
- If you aren’t comfortable carrying pepper spray, consider carrying some type of noise maker. It may scare off some animals (or may not) and can be used to alert folks if something is going on. You can always use a personal safety device like “run angel” or “sabre runner personal alarm”, which are devices that can be worn on the wrist that emit a very loud alarm to attract the attention of others. Run Angel also gives you the ability to send an alert showing your location when activated.
Mental EDC items to "carry"
Your EDC isn't just about gear, it's about the right mindset.
Being intentional about practicing situational awareness means increasing your ability to pay attention to what is around you. It's growing your God-given gut feeling and instincts and gaining the knowledge to know what to do next.
Unfortunately, it's not uncommon to turn on the nightly news and hear about someone being victimized on running trails, public parks, or running along a busy road. It's important to set out on your run with the right mindset.
- The right mindset to maintain proper situational awareness! This is a big one because most folks like to run while listening to music or podcasts. Losing your sense of hearing is a problem when it comes to situational awareness. If you are going to listen to something, consider only using one earbud while leaving one ear free. (I have been doing this since getting Apple's AirPods, which work with only one in my ear.) Also, consider not listening to anything at all when you are out at night. Your sense of hearing is very important if your vision is impaired by darkness. If you share a path with cyclists, you need to be able to hear them coming from behind. Hopefully, they are announcing their attempt to pass as well. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Know your route and make sure others know your route before you head out the door. It can be a lot of fun to head out with no route in mind. It gives us a sense of adventure and the opportunity to be spontaneous. But, you don’t want to end up in an area you shouldn't be in, and if something bad does happen, folks need to know where to start looking for you.
- Give a look of confidence and make eye contact with other folks you cross paths with. Don’t give the impression you are an easy target by not paying attention!
- “What if” different scenarios before heading out the door. This will help you be better mentally prepared before something happens. Every bit of preparation helps in a high-stress scenario.
- Fight when it is time to fight. Without any formal training, remember to target the throat, eyes, and groin. With that being said, it’s incumbent upon all of us to be physically prepared to defend ourselves. This includes physical fitness as well as being trained in how to defend ourselves properly.
- If awkwardly or uncomfortably approached by someone, use loud and strong verbal commands to indicate you have no desire for the interaction. Making a lot of noise (being loud) can at times be very effective. Don’t be a passive target.
It’s easy to get into a routine where complacency takes over. Whether we are discussing a human threat or animal threat, we need to make sure we are prepared. Taking a little time to think things through is something we don’t do enough of. It’s easy to go into autopilot which is dangerous.
Remember, we don’t prepare for this stuff because we live in a state of paranoia or fear. We prepare and have a condition of readiness so we can go out and enjoy life.