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You Asked: Rude Comments While Running Outside

Dear Fit,
I just started running and am quickly becoming addicted. I'm not exactly thin (which is why I started running), and just about every time I head out for a run, I hear rude comments from people on the street. People scream out of cars, from their porches, and I've even heard little kids yell from the school bus. They say hurtful things such as, "Run, fatty, run," and "Are you running to McDonald's?" It's not just the comments, it's the stares too. I can't afford to join a gym, but this makes me not want to run outside. What should I do?
—Hurt but Determined Debbie

First of all, I think it is great that you have started running. I have found it the most convenient and effective form of exercise for weight loss. You have decided to do something healthy for yourself and should be applauded for your effort. I think it is really a shame that people are so disrespectful to you. I'm sure many of our readers can also relate to impolite or downright offensive comments from others. I have some suggestions, though. To hear them


  • Run with headphones. Play music or a book on tape to drown out any comments.
  • Put your anger to good use and run faster.
  • Run in a less populated area. I'm not saying you should go to a sketchy abandoned parking lot, but city streets are always crowded with cars and pedestrians. Find a quiet neighborhood, a park, a bike bath, or even the woods. Run with a buddy to help you feel more safe.
  • Run at a different time of day. Early morning, noon, and after work are times when most people are free, so that means you'll be seeing more people outside. If you can, workout mid-morning or mid-afternoon. Since most people are at their jobs, there should be fewer people out on the streets to bother you.
  • Whatever you do, don't give the person any of your attention. Don't look at them, don't say anything smart back (though I know you want to), don't flip them the bird, and definitely don't run up to them and give them a piece of your mind. They're mostly doing it to get a rouse out of you anyway, so if you let them know you're upset, they're more likely to continue the comments in the future.

Remember, you are the person out there running. These folks are probably just sitting in their cars doing nothing while you're burning calories. You're doing something great for yourself and to that I say, keep on trucking!

If you have any other suggestions for Debbie, please share them in the comment section below.


foxymardy foxymardy 8 years
Hi Debbie. I understand this completely. And I did what Fit suggested you to do, run with earphones. I used to be pretty heavy, and I ran off all the pounds away. I did get comments and stares but I hardly gave a damn because I was determined to focus on my run. Slowly they stopped doing so when they saw I really didn't give a shit. They do stare sometimes, but now its mostly out of admiration, because they saw how I progressed from chubby chops to skinny minny. Plus, where I live the women prefer to walk, and I'm always the only one running so its bound to attract attention. Plug in those earphones, enjoy the sunshine and concentrate on your run. Soon they won't see you as the fat girl trying to run to McDonalds anymore. You'll be the slim and fit girl running like a pro. And that will shut them up.
Mohegen Mohegen 8 years
I have been small and I am now a big girl working on getting in between. I don't care what people say. I found that "God Bless You, Thank you and have a nice day" said with a smile, in a voice as loud as their rude comment is very effective. Prayer is a good way of deflecting the comments too. Pray every morning before you go for your run you will notice how the comments start to disappear. Get Katt Williams tapes if you can he has a way of talking about self love. Beware it is raunchy, and crass but he gets his point across.
GScott86 GScott86 8 years
*Nod* People really are jerks. I dunno I would run with some music to tune out other people. Maybe run in a park instead, or maybe find a running partner. LOL GlowingMoon, and you're right, people mistreat you regardless. Apparently I used to be ugly or something, by a select few...others thing I'm gorgeous, I don't know who's right or right, but when I look into the mirror I see a good looking guy. It matters only to yourself what you think. Really. If you want to improve yourself, then it concerns only yourself.
reeeeka reeeeka 8 years
I'm sorry this is happening too you. That's part of the reason it took me so long to get on the right path to doing something healthy for myself. I'm extreamly over weight and I get comments and looks and laughter when I go outside even if it has nothing to do with exercise. The simple fact that I go outside causes that reaction...exercise would cause it more so I just didn't. Until a little over a week ago. I joined the YMCA ($25 a month) and I use their Gym and the pool. At the pool I do water aerobics (1 hour which is AMAZINGLY HARD! wouldn't think so) and when there's no aerobics I do laps for an hour. I'm going every other day and it's really nice. I was scared at first because I don't want the looks and I did get them! I was in the Gym and I was working out on the leg machine and this lady walked in and walked over to another guy and looked at me and laughed. I smiled at her (it took every bit of me to do it) & I just kept working out...there was nothing I could do. I'm there to make myself better! If you're going to hate on me that's your problem. I'm not going to let them get me down. They hate on me when I'm fat & unhealthy and they hate on me when I'm fat and trying to make myself healthy. You can't win them all! I find the groups at the water aerobics are more accepting. They seem less stuck up and judgemental. You keep doing what you're doing! Wear your ipod or some music player when you run. I don't know you but I'd just like to say I'm proud of you and I bet your family/friends are also. Good luck in what you're doing and keep doing it!!!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i think that you have to remember how we say that people who make fun of others are insecure themselves - so if they are mocking you or making fun of you - then they are SMALL people and that's just dumb on their part. you should be VERY proud because so many people use the excuse that they aren't in the best shape and that's why they don't even go to the gym to work out. you're taking a step in the right direction to get healthy and i would just say - 'yes, i'm running, but you're just sitting there' or 'yes, i'm running, but you're riding a bus - how does that help the environment'. the solution to wear headphones is also the easy solution. you'll have a more enjoyable workout, you might even run faster and it'll put you in the mood to extend your run without even realizing it.
gabiushka gabiushka 8 years
Just focus on yourself and your goals.Unfortunately those people exist everywhere and idiots will try to get your attention no matter your size, so ignoring them really is the best way of handling it just pretend they don't even exist. Remember you do have class.
kristints kristints 8 years
The fact that people are so mean like that is why I think my $35 a month membership to 24 Hour Fitness is worth it, a little more than a dollar a day isn't a big enough deal to suffer through that kind of treatment in my opinion.
serenavallentine serenavallentine 8 years
its so horrible that people are like that. and the thing thats hilarious is that i bet a lot of those people (while they might be thin) aren't neccessarily in good shape themselves! i live on an army base, and there is a monster sized hill to go up when i am walking or biking home which i do in the warmer months. i am not overweight and i'm in decent shape (can definitely go up that hill on bike without stopping), however i had over-done it at the gym two days before (not to mention i work retail so it was a long day of standing at work) and so i was walking my bike up the hill and some rude army guy had the the audacity to yell "get on your bike and ride it" at me from his car. i can't even imagine how bad that would make me feel if it had been because i was out of shape. i applaud anyone who wants to make themselves better and i'm not a huge fan of physical fitness (i really have to force myself usually) so i know how hard it can be. people like that need to be put in their place!
Allytta Allytta 8 years
people can be such assholes... keep it up with the running and don't pay attention. here in London I actually get compliments from guys when i'm running or on my bike... they say it's good that i'm trying to be fit. and i'm not slim as well :)
ashopaholic ashopaholic 8 years
that is disgusting. i can't even imagine saying that to someone!
suziryder suziryder 8 years
Whenever I see someone overweight running outside, I always want to congratulate them and encourage them and tell them how brave I think they are (because I know running can be hard and because people can be mean). But I never do because I don't want to come off as rude. But just think, for every loudmouth out there saying nasty things, there's probably another person silently wishing you well and being impressed by your efforts.
Sun_Sun Sun_Sun 8 years
why r people so i can understand...but when adults bully other adults, its just inexcusable. tsk tsk good for u though and dont let them get to u
eneriyma eneriyma 8 years
People are rude! I usually have people make rude comments about how fair my skin is (Get a tan! Don't you ever go outside?) Try running in an area on a trail where other people exercise. I've found that people who are running or biking are into their workout and don't pay attention to other people, plus they are more likely to be respectful of your drive to get out and be active.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
People can be such jerks, can't they? I live in a small city in Wisconsin and I'm not overweight and I get cat-called/honked at/yelled at/etc. all the time, too. I think a lot of it is jealousy. Lots of people see you out there running, doing something good for yourself, and they're not. So they feel the need to make stupid comments to make themselves feel better. I'd be willing to bet you money that none of the people making the "fatty" comments work out regularly. Because if they DID, they'd understand how crappy it makes you feel.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 8 years
what utter dispicable people that live in this country. it's a shame that people can be so rude and cruel, but that's the reality of the world today. Ignore them babe. that's all we can do. drown them out with music and focus on your own health and your fittness. And a big props to you for getting out there and working out. Keep on running hun. :)
miss-ellie miss-ellie 8 years
That is awful! People truly are sick. Good for you for starting to run though. Keep up with it and don't get discouraged. The hard work will pay off! If there is a track near your house (and you aren't bored at the idea of a track a few days a week) run in the morning or late in the evening. I've been doing that - weather provided - and it's great because there is hardly anyone there so it is very peaceful!
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
I agree -- those are awful comments. However, I think it's a catch 22. I'm lean and fit, and sometimes, I receive lewd comments, and obscene gestures. One time, when I was jogging along the street, a car pulled up, and a man exposed himself to me. He was fully aroused. In my opinion, my work-out clothes gave adequate coverage (two layers of tank top, cleavage completely covered up, mid-thigh jogging shorts, etc.). Some people are awful and rude. It doesn't matter whether you're fit or heavy. Some people will mistreat you regardless. JMHO.
syako syako 8 years
Ha. Well the joke will be on them when - in about six months or so - you'll be looking HOT and HEALTHY and they'll be whistling instead of taunting. ;)
ms-kaho ms-kaho 8 years
It is a shame that people are such jerks. All summer I was running at 6.00 am, and I saw almost no one. Since it has been too dark in the mornings, I have changed to running after work and I'm more self concsious. But now I run with my pit bull -- she is pretty effective at keeping the commentors at bay!
culinarygirl culinarygirl 8 years
You go girl! The best revenge is looking GOOD!
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
OOO and wear a baseball cap, that way you dont have to see them. :)
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
People are mean. Wear headphones, find a really ritzy, sleepy, suburban neighborhood near you that you can drive to and run there. No one is usually driving around those parts. And wear all black, I always feel I blend in better when I'm in all black.
bethinabox bethinabox 8 years
I agree with what people have said - It is UNBELIEVABLE that people would yell those comments. You've obviously acknowledged a need to get fit, and you're doing something about it, which is SO much more than many people can say. Probably including all of those yelling. Grab some headphones and just forget about those losers!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
People are always going to make obnoxious comments. I pay a lot of attention to my running clothes because I was sick of guys honking their horns or making lewd comments. Fit's right, just put your headphones out and say "screw 'em." You're doing the right thing taking care of yourself.
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