26 Things That Annoy Runners

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Being a runner isn’t always perfect weather and long peaceful runs. There are days when we face things that annoy us enough to sap the joy right out of any run. What annoys runners? I would have to say there are many, many things that annoy the runner, from a rock in your shoe to a snarling dog.

I polled my running friends to find out what annoyed them. They came up with some really fun—and annoying—things. Thanks, Ladies!

Here’s what we came up with:

1.     Fast Cars – Why do people have to drive by you so fast? And so closely? Are they trying to kill us or just scare us?

2.     Dogs – All the terrifying dogs prowling around without owners, just waiting to chase, bite, or bark at you. Dogs can go from man’s best friend to a runner’s worst nightmare. I know I’ve had plenty of run-ins with aggressive dogs.

3.     Cat Calls – I really wish people would resist the urge to ogle, whistle, or say some of the awful things they say.

4.     Bicyclists – As a rural runner, I don’t have to deal with this annoyance. But some of my running friends have complained about the silent and aggressive bicyclist. They come up fast and quiet and end up scaring the unaware runner. A little “behind you” or “on your left” would be really helpful!

5.     Pedestrians – This goes for people walking on sidewalks, walking during races, just anyone walking anywhere. Please, do not take up the entire space. So annoying.

6.     Dog Owners – For those dog owners out there who refuse to pick up your dog’s waste product (poop), please have some respect for other people—not just runners, but everyone. No one wants to step in it. And even if you do bag it, make sure you put the bag in the garbage – don’t leave it on the ground.

7.     Foot Irritations – Is there anything worse than an irritation to your foot while running? It may be a sock seam wearing against your toes, or your socks are slipping off into your shoe. Perhaps your shoe is full of sand or a teeny-tiny little rock has made its way under your foot. There are few things more annoying than having to stop at the side of the road, take off your shoe and hop on one foot while you fix the issue.

8.     Significant Others – I know we all love our significant others desperately, but sometimes they either pressure us to run when we don’t want to or get in our way we do want to.

9.     Over or Under Dressing – Dressing inappropriately for the weather is another aggravation. You are either too hot or too cold with no way to fix it. Your run has turned from a pleasant day of alone time to a miserable slog-fest.

10.  Wasps/Hornets – Ever had an aggressive hell-bee chase you while you’re running? It’s the worst!

11.  Weirdos – While this one is a little more scary than annoying, it is an awful feeling when you start noticing the same car passing you multiple times.

12.  Other Runners not Waving Back – You see another runner approaching, you wave and smile – and they do not respond. Annoying!

13.  Conversations from Non-runners – Have you ever had to deal with people trying to strike up a conversation with you while you’re running? And you stop to be polite, and they just keep talking? “Yeah Bob, the weather is weird lately, but I’m kind of doing something right now.”

14.  People Asking for Directions – For some reason, I get asked for directions a lot. People see me running down the road and decide I look like I know where I’m at. I probably shouldn’t feel so annoyed by this, but I really do not like having to stop and chat with random strangers.

15.  Someone Telling you “You don’t look like a runner” – Don’t do this. Never say this to anyone. Runners come in all shapes and sizes. This isn’t just annoying, it’s rude.

16.  Forgetting your Watch – You know the adage, “Strava or it didn’t happen”? I am a watch junkie. If I don’t record my run; I feel completely out-of-sorts.

17.  Forgetting your Music – Sometimes you need those tunes to get you through a run, or to keep your pace up. Forgetting your music can be really maddening.

18.  Clothing Irritation – From a shirt with an itchy tag to a tank top that chafes your shoulder blades to leggings that keep creeping down—clothes can drive you mad on a run. Not only will the irritation be annoying, but it can mess with your focus.  

19.  Chafing – Which leads us into chafing—super irritating. Like a clothing irritation (and often the irritation leads to chafing), chafing can make you want to give up and cry. Anti-chafing lotion is a really good thing.

20.  No Shade – It’s a hot day with no wind. You are running along in the sweltering sun and notice that you have zero shade…for as far as you can see. You start obsessing about getting the sun off your body.

21.  Huge Hills – The hill that never ends can be a huge annoyance. This is usually an issue in a race or a relay when you feel overly tired but also overly compelled to NOT WALK.

22.  No Porta Potties or Locked Porta Potties – Ever have to pee in a cornfield, over a fallen log, or behind a car because there are no bathroom options? The only thing worse than a lack of porta potties is a locked porta potty.

23.  Wind – The relentless wind. This is a big thing for me out here on the coast. The resistance makes for a good workout, but it can really tire you out.

24.  Dust – Dust can come from many sources: wind, cars, other runners. It can get in your eyes, mouth and nose. Not fun at all.

25.  Treadmills – Treadmills, the bane of most runners. When we are forced to stay inside and run on the dreadmill, we can spend the majority of that run cursing Mother Nature.

26.  Wild Animals – An opossum or raccoon waddling across the trail in front of you. A snake sunning itself on the road. A spooked deer charging you. A cougar cry nearby. All of these things can make your run an annoying experience.

As a group, runners tend to be high strung. And from the list above, they are also easily annoyed.

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About Author

Liz Ward

Liz Ward is a running fanatic, avid reader, and amateur farmer. She lives on the Oregon Coast with her husband, three kids, and a small herd of animals.

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