Being Heckled

I go running somewhat a lot of the time. But I’m not a ‘good’ runner. I don’t look like a runner. I don’t go out in short shorts and a sports bra and I don’t run particularly fast and not particularly far. And I wanted to potentially write more than one post about running when you’re not fast, or super fit, or can run super far, about how rubbish running can be when you’re not a professional, and how good it can actually be too.

So to start with, I’m gonna talk about being heckled. Cause this is such an annoyance. I like to run in the mornings. Like, I’ll get up, breathe, take the half hour or so it takes to get out of bed, then chuck some clothes on and get out the door. Ideally, this would mean I would be out of the door by 8 but let’s be real that never happens, so it’s heading towards half 8, quarter to 9 by the time I’m outside. Which is fine, great, it’s the morning and I’m ready to exercise. However, a lot of the routes I run go past schools. Primary schools tend to be okay since kids under the age of 11 tend not to start yelling at you as you run past. It’s the high school that is an issue. I have had boys (and it is always boys) that look like they’re 12 or 13 yell stuff at me as I’m running past. I mean, I’m 21 guys, I’ve done the horrors that was year 8 and year 9 so I don’t need you to be shouting at me please and thankyou. I don’t run with music because the earphones jump out of my ears and I’m paranoid about being run over so I can’t even pretend not to have heard them.

I have been heckled by grown men too (what a surprise right?). Recently, it was at the end of a 10 mile run so I wasn’t looking particularly impressive (think red face, grimaces, sweat dripping down my forehead type glamourous) and they yelled something, I think about there being something in another 2 miles? Honestly, I don’t even know but why do they have to do it in the first place? Like what do you get out of this? HOW DOES THIS ENTERTAIN YOU? Is there nothing better for you to be doing? Am I that entertaining? It’s not like I shout back. I like to imagine I flick my hair over my shoulder and run on like an Amazon but realistically I probably look like someone has eaten the last of my food and I’m super pissed.

Or, you get the old guys who are just killing time walking around the streets like 60+ year old men do, and they’ll stop and say something. I had two men do this today. And no, it wasn’t particularly offensive (but my ears stop working when I’m running so in all honesty they could be saying anything and I’d smile as I ran past) but I don’t understand why they feel the need to comment at all. I have never in my life had a woman say anything to me when I was running alone apart from once, when I was doing a fartlek and another runner swept past me and encouraged me on (which also was a tad annoying but that’s just because it was early).

What is it that makes blokes feel like they need to say something to you as you run past? I have no problem with the customary ‘morning’ or smile and nod as I’m running past people, I’m a notherner, I’m friendly, I can do that no problemo, but why on earth do you feel the need to comment on someone that is running? Sometimes I really feel like stopping, turning around and saying ‘please go run 7 miles and then come and tell me how you feel buddy’ cause let me tell you, anything over 5 miles and I’m gonna look like death on legs if it’s warm and almost death on legs if it’s cold.

So, here are my few and far between tips on how to deal with people that are yelling at you while you’re running –

  1. Ignore them. You’re the one who is hitting the pavement, tearing your muscles in order for them to repair and become stronger, making your respiratory system work hard and clear those airways. You do you and ignore the people that are clearly not worth your time because I don’t see them running anywhere.
  2. Run with music. This way you can actually not hear them, or at least pretend that you haven’t heard them. If you do this please make sure you can hear traffic though, crossing roads can be dangerous, there’s heavy machinery about (being driven by people who aren’t running).
  3. That’s all I got pretty much. I am a scared child inside so as much as I would say I would like to turn round and shout back I am never in a million years going to do it (and I mean, it’s like encouragement so I probably wouldn’t recommend it either).

Here are my tips to help stop yourself heckling and shouting at runners you see on the street –

  1. Don’t. It’s that simple.
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