Heckled?

Hi guys,

Basically I have always run really really early morning (4.30am). The main reason being that I want to avoid hecklers during an evening run. Running at this time is proving hard to maintain though, and iv started using my mum's treadmill, but I just don't feel as fit somehow and for me, treadmill running is really boring!!

I can't go at like 6am or anything as my husband starts work at 6 and I have really young children so have to be back for them.

Any ideas on how I could get around this dilemma?

Thanks in advance,

Sarah xx

18 Replies

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  • How realistic is it that you'd be heckled - is this a fear of something that has happened to you and which you've found it hard to get over, or more abstract? When you think of all the posts here and how rare the actual experience of being heckled is, and how much support is available from all of us to put it into perspective, perhaps that will help?

    Running early is a great way to make sure a run happens... but if it isn't working for you, then something has to change, and it could be that confronting your fears is an option which would free you up.

  • You probably won't ever get heckled so don't look for problems where none exist. I took myself off to our local country park as I didn't want to be seen by my family or neighbours as I was so self-conscious. Wearing lycra pants was mortifying to me but I got some Nike Filament ones and was amazed at how much they sucked me in and smoothed me out. Biggish tee shirt over the belly and bottom and I was good to go. I'd never run a bath before but we start where we start. Doing the first run is the hardest bit but once over that you're going to be good!

    Go when you can, just go! Find room in your day. You need this time for YOU so take it. I don't often run early mornings either but I do run in the evenings or just before tea. The time is immaterial, it's about what fits best into your routine.

    Enjoy your runs! This is a fab programme so enjoy it

  • Have you been heckled before? If you have then I understand how you'd want to avoid that situation again. But if it's a fear of being heckled then maybe it's something that may never happen to you. Sometimes it's the fear of a situation rather than the reality that holds us back. Take all the usual precautions and run somewhere safe, tell someone where you are going, etc. If someone heckles you it means they are frightened of something and that is usually the truth of what they see. That you are running and doing something great with your life and they're not.

    Please don't let fear hold you back from running. If you do then all those would-be hecklers have won.

  • I've had a tiny number of comments made while running, and the few of those that were either unfriendly or not-really-friendly, I've found I was too busy running to waste much time on processing. A simple, quite flat, silent "oh go to hell" has seemed to be more than enough to dismiss whichever comment I was the most bad tempered about. (I think that's what must have happened at least once, but I can't actually remember something like that, so really I'm guessing, here. It must have happened, but it wasn't worth remembering well).

    You could think up all sorts of clever ways of dealing with hecklers (and eventually probably the deadliest would be to invite the heckler to come along for a run if they like, and even press the issue) but it's probably not worth wasting time on, because when it comes to the actual incident, you're not going to have that kind of time available to waste on it. A silent, somewhat irritated "Oh, shoo! you" will probably deal with it. It's a bit like getting flies that tag along to keep you company, when it actually occurs.

    And of all the very few comments people have made about my running, most have been either friendly, very friendly or extremely supportive.

  • Have you already been bugged by someone when you're running? Or are you scared it might happen? If it's the first case, then attack is the best defense by facing up to your fear. If it's the second, then you're scaring yourself...and the same solution applies ;)

    Other people's opinions don't matter. So put your earphones in, and concentrate on enjoying your run rather than evaluating how the people around you react. If you know that there are certain areas where trouble-makers hang around and it makes you feel uncomfortable, take a different route until you gain in confidence. You don't know them, so their opinion shouldn't matter - don't project your fears as the odds are high that most people just see "another runner" and think no more of it. There's a cretin born every minute, but that shouldn't stop you doing things, and certainly shouldn't force you to get up at stupid o'clock "just in case".

  • I can totally sympathise with the "but what if someone says something?" feeling, and it's that which kept me indoors for far too long. At first, it was easy to justify "but I live in the catchment area, I don't really want to bump into the kids when I'm out on a walk or going to the pub." Then after I changed schools, "but my neighbours will see me and get judgy." I grew up a bit and we (husband and I) used to go hiking all over the place (mostly on footpaths into the wilderness, to avoid people in general).

    I did get heckled, once, many years ago and it had nothing to do with exercise. Me and the husband had walked to an air show, gone around it all day, and walked home (it's an epic walk - I was fit but couldn't run back then). I am sure my hair was a bit of a mess, but I didn't look that bad. We happened to walk past a group of teenagers - aged about 16, summer holidays. One of them chose to shout "Ginger Minger" at me.

    I had had a lovely day up until then and that stung.

    We walked on, the other half telling me not to listen to them and that they were wrong.

    That comment meant that we didn't go down that footpath for weeks.

    Of course, looking back, they were just a bunch of ne'er do wells drunk far too early in the evening, shouting abuse at random strangers. Their opinion of me didn't matter.

    In fact, looking back at a photograph from that day, I looked damn good, thank you.

    That was years ago now. Now the 'ginger' is helped along with a bit of Lush henna to cover the grey streaks, and the long evening walks have been pushed to the side to make room to play with train sets and toy cars.

    This is a long and rambling way to say - other people's opinions shouldn't stop you from doing anything. I didn't go out for walks, even when I could have, to lose weight I thought I needed to lose because I worried about other people.

    I dragged myself out of the door for the first couch to 5k, in Lycra, repeating "I don't care what they think, I don't want to die young and unfit because I have a child to think of" and THAT was more important than what anyone rude enough to comment on my appearance had to say.

    Yesterday I ran another 5k (spurred on by my new Garmin!!). I came to a stop a little way up the road from where I live and saved the workout before carrying on walking. I suppose I must have been smiling.

    A neighbour - sort of, she lives within a minute's walk but we've never spoken before - was looking at me and she walked across her garden with Purpose. She said, "Well done" with a beaming smile. I thanked her, and we both went on about our lives. Two words, and they made such a difference. I grinned all the way home.

    People are not all complete idiots. Some are really nice, even though you've never talked to them. A very few haven't got the manners to keep negative comments to themselves and you know what? You don't need to listen to them. Give yourself permission to pity them for alienating people like you from their small-minded world.

    Oh, and be nice to gingers. We're people too, you know. ;)

    Now get out there and run.

  • Don't let fear stop you running. I am more than a little fearful about dogs so I did c25k in the gym, and like you found it mind-numbingly boring. I can maybe do 5k if I really have no choice, but the thought of running for an hour on the treadmill fills me with horror.

    I had no option. Face my fear or stop running. I now run 3/4 times a week in the park. There are times I hate it. I have curtailed runs because of dogs and turned round and run the other way round the park to avoid them, but I will still go out there and run.

    I can't say I've ever been heckled, but Gary_Barts solution ("come and run with me, I've only another 45 minutes left") sounds awesome.

  • I have only once been heckled while running, and, to my huge delight, the carfull of teenage twunts responsible came to a red traffic light just around the corner. They had clearly forgotteen about me already by then. Oh what a surprise they got as I thrust my face in through the window and said hello again. The driver, on whose side I was leapt out of his seat and screamed like a little girl.

  • I started on the treadmill for the same reason but went out at around 10 am one day and surprise surprise, no one was interested, no one knew I was walking not running or saw me struggling. We do hear stories about heckles but I have been running outside for 4 weeks and, nothing. When you see someone running, even someone struggling, what do you think? I think "come on, you can do it" or "good for you". Most people are the same.

    I would not run inside now unless it was impossible to get out, it is interesting and you might be the person who inspires someone else to think about or even start an exercise programme. There are so many runners and cyclists out there, it is too boring for anyone to notice!

  • hi their sarah have you tried say after six at night when your husband is home and the kids are with him could that be a better time please let me know if this help take care kind regards bigalan x

  • You may find that heckling is a lot less likely than you think! I never had any experience of it, just a few good natured "go, you" from nice smiling people. Just give it a try. ...if you spot anyone likely to make a less friendly remark, determinedly look ahead and ignore them.

  • have you thought about maybe trying joining a 'running club' ( often have 'beginners' groups) maybe there is comfort in numbers?

    If there is a ROUTE where you know you will get heckled, go a different route..

    or is it fear of being heckled ( as most people will say.. you think you might be.. but find often most people just ignore you) If so, just get OUT there , you almost certainly wont be

  • I was always mortified that I might see or be seen by another 'proper' runner.

    By about 4 or 5 weeks in I realised that 'proper' runners were just me a few weeks ahead. In fact now, at week 7 I am that proper runner (albeit red faced and sweaty near the end).

    I realise that I live in a very nice area and the people I meet are always pleasant so I may be biased but letting the moronic few dictate your happiness can only lead one way. In fact, the more we let ourselves be dictated to the more we give over the very streets to these types. Take your life back and show them you are in control, not them.

    I teach my kids that if they get heckled, think how sad they must be that the highlight of their day is sitting there being rude to you. How much better must your life be that they wish to reduce it to make themselves feel better. Remember, they are not trying to make you feel bad, they are trying to make themselves feel better.

    Good luck matey. And if all else fails, I will lend you some of my bat-a-rangs to lob at 'em.

  • There was an article about this in a not so popular paper - I have had one comment and mimicking made towards me in the year I have been running - luckily it was in spanish and they were far away so didn't catch it.

    I have been thinking about this all day - its hard to brush comments aside but please don't let it stop you!!! You will find doing the programme great and it works so don't let other people stop you from doing something rewarding, you should do it when and where you want to.

    Secondly, if you think about it - these people are in fact jealous, it has taken me all day to work this out but if you think about it they are. I am going to stereotype a little - so sorry but they probably do the same thing day in and day out, the teenager hecklers probably just play on the xbox and maybe not a lot else apart from hang out at McDonalds or wherever it is now. Heckling is their hobby because they have nothing better to do with their time and they don't have the self motivation and self displine to get off the couch. They think its funny because its too hard to look at their own life change what they don't like. AND how do i know they are planted firmly on the couch - because if they were off it, they wouldn't be heckling in the first place!

    A part from theses very few and it is a very few, heckling doesn't happen on a weekly or monthly basis! The only people that are probably looking you are other runners, wishing they were running too! Then to everyone else you are invisible, I do feel that to non-runners don't actually see runners.

  • Nice post.

  • Totally true.. I find myself SEEING runners all over the place now.. in a way that I never saw them before!! And I think every runner feels only good things towards anyone else out there doing it. Because we all know it takes guts!

    I guess the corollary to that is a non runner rarely sees them or if they do, doesn't care...

  • Hi Sarah, have you experienced heckling before? I say don't let the idiots win. Luckily in the 7 weeks of doing this programme I have never been heckled, but I do know a friend who has, so I understand your concern if it has happened to you. If you have experienced heckling maybe you could choose somewhere you feel more comfortable running. Have a scout around before a run and see if you can find a nice route. Don't let others spoil your fun I say. 4:30 is very very early to be up. If you prefer to run in the evening I say do it and stick two fingers up to the hecklers! ;-)

  • I agree with the general drift on here that, so long as you are going somewhere safe, it's not that likely you will get heckled, and it's best ignored. I have had a few comments (mostly of the "you're even brighter than me" type, from workman in high vis), but far more people congratulating me for what I am doing. Hopefully you will soon come to enjoy it, rather than worry.

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