How to Handle Hecklers and Harassers While Running

Running outside can be pure bliss -- until some idiotic creep comes along and yells out an obnoxious "woo-hoo" or "hey baby!" as you run past him (or her). Dealing with the occasional obnoxious heckler is inevitable when you run outside, especially for female runners. Here's what to do if someone starts verbally harassing you on the run:

Keep running.

Don't stop and start screaming back at the heckler or flip him off. Although it may be tough to ignore him, it's better to keep your distance and continue moving. Pretend like you don't hear him and keep on running. Try to run in a direction where there will be more people around.

Don't appear vulnerable.

When someone starts hurling derogatory comments at you, hold your head high and stay strong. If your harasser tries to stop you and gets in your way, be forceful. Tell him to back off and keep moving.

Run with a cell phone.

It's always smart to carry a phone with you, especially when running alone. If someone is verbally harassing you and you feel threatened, call the police. Give them a description of the harasser and where and when it happened.

Keep your run safe.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but don't run in isolated areas, deserted streets, or overgrown trails. Never run by yourself at night. No matter how comfortable you feel running at night, there's always more safety in numbers. Follow these tips for finding running buddies in your area.

Don't wear headphones.

Although you should ignore heckler's comments, you need to hear them to know if you're in danger. If you absolutely must use your iPod or phone to listen to music on the run, just use one earbud or keep the volume low so you can still hear what's going on around you. The more aware you are, the less vulnerable you'll be.

Vary your routes.

If you keep encountering the same obnoxious person, pick a different route. This is good running safety advice even if you're not being harassed, as a potential attacker might track your routine and know when you're vulnerable. It's better to mix thing up by running different routes at various times of the day.

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