Friday, 3 January 2014

Snow, dogs and other annoyances of running outside

When I first started to run I came across all number of things that filled my heart with pure runners’ anxiety. These days, I am much more aware of how to deal with it. So for those who want to strap on the shoes, but still fear running outside, here are my top annoyances while running (with tips on how to deal with them).

The weather

The weather is basically a runner's enemy, because truly the best running weather is no weather at all. Maybe a light breeze, a decent midrange temperature that is not too hot or too cold. If it’s a long run, a light drizzle is quite nice.

Mostly though the weather does things like rain heavily, or drop the temperatures to create lethal patches of invisible ice on the road. Or be so hot, that sweat drips endlessly from your pores and give you a form of dehydration normally only experienced the day after drinking tequila until 5am.

Annoyance rating 4/10

How to deal with it: Just get on with it. If you’re already attempting to run, which if we’re all honest at certain times can feel like torture. The added irritation of a bit of rain or snow isn’t going to matter. And running when the weather is bad, will give you an absolutely wonderful sense of smugness.

The good news: Running in the rain is actually quite pleasant in its own way, and nothing gives you the right to sit inside eating ice cream and watching Netflix all day, than running ten miles in the freezing cold.

The public

THEY ARE STARING AND JUDGING ME, I KNOW IT. Passing other people on the street can turn any new runner into a gibbering wreck. Particularly when you’re wearing unflattering running clothes (which to be frank is most running clothes) that include any sort of neon colours.

Annoyance rating: 5/10

How to deal with it: Just ignore them, in a few seconds you’ll pass them and never see them again. If you feel really bad, listen to music to block it out, but remember you have the moral high ground here, so just get on with the running.

The good news: Sorry to burst the ego bubble, but most people don’t really care that much about your neon arse bouncing up the road.


Now teenagers in essence often don’t mean any harm, but they have a tendency to hang around in large groups blocking pavements, laughing loudly. It is hard to discern if they are laughing at you, or just at the fact they don’t have to pay bills. Whatever it is, they are unnerving.

Annoyance rating: 6/10

How to deal with it: I sometimes make up insults in my head I would throw at them, if they ever threw one at me. I also imagine flipping them off while running. I am not mature.

The good news: Most teenagers are perfectly nice and don’t bother me, I have yet to actually need to swear at one.


UGH, dogs are the bane of any runner’s existence. They tend to come in three variations: small and yappy, large and happy and just plain scary. The small ones run around under your feet, the large ones bound next to you incredibly chuffed to have found a new two legged running friend and the scary ones growl much too close to your ankles for comfort.

Annoyance rating: 7/10

How to deal with it: Mostly I just glare at the owners if they are around, and make sure I can quickly jump to the side if a small terrier is about to tangle itself under my knees. The scary ones, I just get the hell away from and hope to god nothing happens.

The good news: Most owners seem aware that their best friend is a nuisance to runners, and make an effort to reel them in (thank god for leads). And so far, I have yet to meet any particularly nasty dogs and have sustained no injuries (fingers crossed).

Small children

If anything could be worse than dogs, small children are definitely it. Mostly due to the fact they aren’t kept on leads, and don’t appear to respond as well to whistling. Small children have absolutely no sense they should probably move away from the large person coming towards them at speed, and often seem to totter into exactly the position you’re just about to run into. They also share the same trait as dogs, where they love to run alongside you, like a newly acquired toddler sidekick.

Annoyance rating: 9/10

How to deal with it: Try to get out of the way, and just hope they don’t kamikaze themselves under you’re feet at the last moment. Look around for parents who will hopefully pull them aside, and just assume that you may have to do a really odd matrix style swerve at the last minute, to stop from stepping on this small moving object.

Good note: I have yet to kick a kid in the face, or fall over one. I count that as a win.

People who shout RUN, FOREST, RUN

FUCK YOU, the film is officially 20 years old!

Only exception - if your name is Forest and are about to be mauled by a bear.

Annoyance rating: 11/10

How to deal with it: See above

Good note: They are probably lazy fuckers who will die of heart disease.

Notable contenders include: Leery men, geese, and cyclists.


Photo by Trojan_Llama.


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