How do you deal with comments from passer by's?

A few weeks back a lady commented while I was running. She said "Well done, I know how hard it is, good for you" I thought that was lovely and really encouraging.

However, today, I hadn't really gone as far as I wanted to but I was getting a pain in my leg. I think I've overstretched a muscle in my thigh, which hurts from time to time. I didn't want to make it worse so slowed to a walk. As I did so the "friendly" local recycling truck pulled alongside me and the driver leans out shouting "come on, get a move on". I didn't notice him at first because I had my music on. Once I noticed he was talking to me I ignored him, however it became clear he wasn't going to stop. I'm not sure exactly what else he was saying as I didn't want to listen but it wasn't nice. I changed my route so that I could move away from him to solve the problem.

It's been bothering me all day and I just wonder how everyone else deals with things like this. As a woman I feel really uncomfortable with comments like this, especially from males. It's quite intimidating, especially when they don't stop. I wanted to say something clever back but my mind went blank and I couldn't think of anything. Just wondered what everyone else does in these situations.


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22 Replies

  • It's difficult - a few years ago when I was running previously I had a few comments over the course of a couple weeks directed at me, in reference to my 'top half'. I stopped running because I was so self conscious and it took me two years and learning the secret of wearing two sports bras before I plucked up the courage to run again.

    Comments fall into three camps in my view. There's the pleasant cheery comments, the outright rude (which I probably no longer hear because of my music), and the trying to be funny but should know better ! I tend to forgive the last lot as I genuinely just think sometimes people just don't have a clue that it isn't funny but are trying to be nice (and your comment above might have fallen into that category ?).

    I don't think there's much you can do, unless you are confident enough to call them out on it. Just be secure in the knowledge that you are probably doing an awful lot more than they are fitness wise and you'll probably have the last laugh !

  • It's annoying isn't it? You want to say something so witty & clever it will shut them up! I just tell myself that they must be so unhappy with their own lives that they have to bring someone down who's doing something good with theirs. For every idiot there are 100 other people who are looking at you in admiration!

  • Can't say I care for any comments, even the positive ones while I'm running. I just focus on the tunes and not on other people. If folks are likely to be alongside for awhile I change my route as needed. Of course, you're welcome to give them a mouthful right back if conditions are safe for you to do so.

  • Hi Sezza

    I can understand why you felt intimidated . One comment yes you can probably shrug that off but when it carries on , that takes it to a different level.

    I think you did the correct thing in ignoring him and carrying on. Maybe he wanted to get a reaction from you , good that you didnt give him the satisfaction .

    Please dont let him put you off, I dont hear half of whats said to me if anything. I always have my earplugs in with my music on . Ignorance is bliss Ha ha ! :-) xxx

  • Thankfully it is rare to experience negative comments. It has only happened a couple of times to me, both time teenagers - sad they r giving young people a bad name when most of them are lovely. I think it is best to ignore such people even though the urge is to say something back. However, little point in trying to educate such people, run on and pretend you didn't hear - never give bad behaviour reinforcement by giving attention. We r runners, we are getting healthy and having fun - what r they doing, not much.

  • Joolie and PP are right, don't give them the satisfaction. I usually say something very rude, though. And do my best disappointed teacher face.

  • The teacher look- so powerful, even works on husbands!

  • Alas my husband is also a teacher, so we don't do the faces on each other because I think we'd just get stuck in some kind of endless face-off!

  • As I've said before harness the anger and imagine kicking off their wing mirrors! Then remember you're not the only one who gets rude comments and we're all here to back you up - at least in spirit!

  • I wouldn't know what comments I get as it is headphones on and music up. When I pass someone I smile and acknowledge them and turn my head. There are regular dog walkers I wave to but that is it. Suits me fine, I'm polite but don't give them the chance to ruin my run.

  • I've only had 2 comments, one was an old man who laughed and said, 'You must be first coz none of the others have passed me' to which I smiled and kept going. The other was in pouring rain when an Anglian Water van pulled up, I thought he wanted directions so took earphone out, he said, 'You must be mad!!' and laughed to which I replied 'Or dedicated' and kept running. My achievement was more important than any comments. Keep going, you're getting fit, they're not. Stay safe x

  • When I first started running I chose routes which were as isolated as possible because I was worried that people would make nasty comments about how slow/fat/too old to be running I was. I then realised that I enjoy running so much that I just don't care what anyone else thinks and I happily run through town. Luckily no one has ever said anything unpleasant to me (or if they did I could not hear them over my music). I think the best approach is just to ignore the very small minority of people who make snide comments and not give them the satisfaction of a response. Just enjoy your run and know that most people you pass just wish they admire you for keeping fit.

  • Don't let the turkeys get you down

  • Luckily I've only had nice comments (I think I have because like others here I have my ear plugs in!) but you could try singing loudly and laughing out loud. That way he'll think you're a nutter and give you a wide berth! I've done that in the car when a driver in front was being a di*k and it made me feel better!

  • Laughing at people sometimes defuses things, as well. And praying loudly/reciting Bible passages if you know them whilst kind of looking 'through' people is quite an effective deterrent as well, though you need balls of steel to pull it off.

  • I think you did the right thing on the spot - ignore, carry on, reroute if necessary. But what he did was wrong and you seem to know who he works for. So I would call his employer and make a formal complaint. If you give date, time and place, they should be able to work out from their records who it was.

  • Water off a duck's back . Stuff em 😊

  • You absolutely did the right thing in just ignoring them. Headphones are always a blessing as you can pretend you didn't hear them even if you did! It's only happened to me a couple of times. The first was very similar to your experience, some old fella telling me to go faster.

    He probably didn't mean to be discouraging, but it was. But after thinking about it, I'm not bloody Usain Bolt running 100 metres! Longer distances = slower running. Ah sod 'em, what do they know?! :D

    I run very early in the morning and have had cars and lorries beep at me in the dark for no real reason, which is a bit creepy. One time, a white van man found it necessary to wind his window down and yell something out the window, at 6am in the morning in total darkness, which was a bit sinister. But on reflection, how sad and desperate must his life be to get kicks from doing such a thing? These people are ignoramuses that aren't worth getting upset or worried over.

    Just turn up the music and smile about how awesome you are :D

  • I can only imagine how awkward that could be. I've only had the odd well done, but then all my c25k was done at the gym, I only ventured out once I'd finished. Not sure if I'd have been brave enough but would like to have said " why don't you come and join me?" or something like that! He probably wouldn't have made it past the first lamppost! I think ignoring it was probably for the best.

    Given you wear headphones, just turn the music up and smile and wave at passers by :) You wont hear any responses, positive or negative.... I don't wear anything and most peeps don't even respond except with maybe just a smile.

  • I can understand the comments, even the positive ones don't always sit well with me. About a year ago, I was at a park trying to get back into running from one of my stopping of running moments (I have had a a lot of the stop starts in the last three years, since I first took on the C25k app). One girl who was so much faster than me (snails are faster then me) passed me up and said "great job, good for you, keep it up". I know it was supposed to be positive and encouraging, but what I heard in my mind was "you are so slow, you must be new to this, I am so much faster". That was nothing of what she said or even the tone she said it in, but that is what my slightly overweight low self esteem when it comes to running brain heard. I have been fortunate that I have never had anything negative said toward me, at least that I have heard. I did get a car honk once, but that could have been one of two things.... "wow, you look ridiculous" or "way to go, keep it up". I think if I heard something negative, it would probably speed me up so I could get hit them in the face (I have never hit anyone in my life, but it still sounds like an option)

  • To my one malicious comment from a 2-something male, I took a leaf out of Winston Churchill's book, i.e. "Yeah, but I'm trying to do something about my problem, whereas you're always going to be an ignorant git!"

  • Yeah, is there a right speed to be passed ? no more than double.

    Possibly holding their breath to at least look red and uncomfortable as they pass.

    Etiquette of passing us plodders.

    1 slow down or prepare to be slapped (lauraelizas )

    2 make it seem that you're at least a bit uncomfortable.

    3. Positive comments only - I was that bad once - is fair but picture proof must be carried.(see note 1)

    4 possibly slap yourself as you pass. We really don't have the energy!

    I haven't been out in a while, due to a spate of issues. I now only have a pulled back and strained shoulder. How can lifting a 5 year old in morrisons do that much damage??

    but am preparing to be back on week 1 again today. Pass at your peril!


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