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.