Recovering Agoraphobic and Running Outside

Hi all,

I'm about to start week 5 tomorrow and up until now I have been using the cross-trainer in my house. There have been two reasons for this, firstly I have lower back problems which I didn't want to exacerbate and also I have been agoraphobic for between three and four years.

However, my back is feeling much stronger as the muscles around it have tightened up and I really want to start running outside. My question for everyone is should I try and run the first week 5 run as planned on the cross trainer or repeat week 4 but outside instead?

I've been much better about getting out and about since February this year and although I'm really nervous about how people might react to seeing a four stone overweight person running, but I really want to give it a try and run properly. Especially as I will be running outside anyway at Christmas because I will be visiting family, so I want to get comfy with it now.

I would really appreciate everyone's advice or tips. Thank you! :-)


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19 Replies

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  • No advice on the agoraphobia but well done on feeling ready to venture out. Im not sure how it will feel running vs the cross trainer as cross trainer action is different to running so I'd probably go back and redo run 3 of week 4 before going to week 5 as you will be more confident you can do it especially if using slightly different technique.

    Try not to worry what people are or are not thinking. Running is so popular now I don't think most non runners really notice when someone running. I think we can all relate to feeling self conscious especially at the beginning but you have been running for 4 weeks regularly you are doing brilliantly :)

  • Just something to think about - but it is well recognised that running outside is much harder than on a treadmill , so you could consider backing up a couple of weeks to weeks 3 or 4 if you find the running outside a bit too difficult.

    I believe we have had many people here who initially felt self conscious about running outside - but who have conquered that fear.

    This morning I was doing a slow easy run - but the return to home par was uphill. Because I was also attempting to keep my heart rate down low in a low zone, it meant that I had to run even slower. It did cross my mind as to what I looked like - probably pretty silly -- but I then realised that I was the only one doing it, and if anybody driving by thought it was silly, let them try to run uphill and keep their HR down low at the same time -- it's not easy!!! :)

  • Aww bless you! How fab that you want to give it a go outside. I'd suggest you do whatever you feel comfortable with - maybe repeating week 4 would help your confidence, at least for the first run? I don't think anyone will react to you, there are many runners here who are not so sylph liike, but you know what? They're running .... be gentle on yourself, and keep us posted! best of luck xxx

  • I'm not agoraphobic but I am a bit of a loner and did avoid taking the running outdoors due to low self-esteem and did all of my training on the treadmill. Like you, I was afraid of what people would think of a 176 lb. woman running. Well, I went outside and found that most people that I passed gave me a "high five". I've had some tell me that they admire me for sticking to my running.

    At least I got off the couch and out of the house and am setting an example for others. It also helped with the social phobia, and I now am doing an average of one 5k a month. I'm a slow runner but I'm getting it done. Good luck and keep us updated. :)

  • I have never run on a treadmill and know nothing about agoraphobia, so can offer little from experience, but I just wanted to say how much I admire your spirit. You have the attitude of a champion. The advice that the others offer is sensible and all I can add is my very best wishes for your venture outside. Good luck.

  • Run with some music, it might take your mind off being outside

  • Sounds like you're doing fab! Maybe try and run somewhere with nice views so you can enjoy where you are rather than worry how you look? And keep in mind that however slow you're running, you're *running*. People who aren't don't get to have any valid criticisms, and people who are will know how tough it is starting out and will be busy admiring your fierce attitude.

  • Well done on your progress. Running outside willbe harder but really worth it if you can. I would suggest just trying a short run with I exoectation of time etc.. Just to test the water.. Good luck :)

  • Well done on your progress. Running outside willbe harder but really worth it if you can. I would suggest just trying a short run with I exoectation of time etc.. Just to test the water.. Good luck :)

  • Thank you all so much for your kind words! I think I'll give it a go by the river because it's flat and a lot of runners go round that way. I'm hoping it'll rain so there will be fewer people milling around so I can just try and get on.

    My hubby put all my favourite music onto my phone, so I'll have some good company in Laura and them and I'll be bringing you all along with me mentally!

    Again, thank you all so much, I'm still nervous, but no way near as much as before. I think I'll try W4R3 to test how much I can do and depending how my body feels tomorrow might even go back to Week 3.

    I'll let you all know how it goes, thank you for your lovely words, it really means a lot.

  • Go for it, it will be so, so worth it. I am so impressed! Like most people who haven't run before I was rather self conscious to start with, but plugging into music helped and I've found that nobody takes any notice of me, except the odd runner that I meet and then we usually exchange a smile. I've repeated several weeks just to make sure my body is recovering OK and it's worked for me.

    Looking forward to hearing how you get on. I think it will be a complete triumph for you just to run outside, never mind which week you are on or how long you run for.

    Never had agoraphobia but am old friends with anxiety and find running (or in my case plogging) helps.

  • Beginningtorun, as Kellywillow has said, massive well done to just be thinking about running outside. Even just for getting to the stage you are at with C25K is brilliant. I'm very impressed by your determination and spirit and wish you all the best for it. Take it easy and maybe go back a week for your first run outside.

    Remember that you are doing something fantastic for your body and health and at least we're trying (that's what I keep telling myself)! Go for a run somewhere a bit quieter, a park maybe and just keep your mind occupied, never mind anyone else. Life is pretty selfish and as much as we think others might be judging us, life is selfish & they will be caught up in their own day and worries/thoughts. Also, I think they will probably just be thinking 'crikey I wish I had the determination to get out and try like they are, good on them'.

    Let us know how you get on with your run :)

  • I think many of us here hid our running at first as we felt daft. I felt "who do you think you are, thinking you can run, you silly fat old biddy"! I really did. In spite of that I did it. So, despite our fears, whatever they might be, we can do things. We just have to give ourselves a kick up the ar*e sometimes or we'd never shift it. We line up all manner of excuses about why we shouldn't instead of why we should. Daft really when you think about it

    After the initial skulking about in running tights and bright pink or yellow day-glo running jackets (not easy when you can be seen from Mars!) we get a few run/walks under our belt and before we know it we forget that we were ever self-conscious and just don't give a toss who sees us. It's a blessed relief when that day finally dawns

    I would definitely recommend getting out there. If you're doing C25k it doesn't involve going far to start with, so it won't take you too far from your door. You can head outwards for half of the podcast and then bring yourself back towards home for the remainder of it, so you have the comfort of home if you need to

    Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

  • Hi all,

    Despite my doubts and a wee while of putting off getting ready, I made it outside!!!! :'-D

    I cannot tell you all how much your posts helped to inspire and motivate me, thank you all so much!

    I decided to take your advice and do W4 again. I'd thought it would be awful and people would look at me. Some did, but I didn't care, I think I had psyched myself out so much that the reality of people looking didn't faze me at all :-)

    I am a bit sore, despite the extra stretches, but I am so proud and I will definitely keep on running outside :-)

  • Hi ,

    Just wanted to say Welcome to the board :-)

    D'ya know something ? You have done something today that you should be amazingly proud of . You have got out there, despite suffering from a deabilitating condition and shown amazing determination and spirit. I just want to give you a big hug and say a massive WELL DONE to you .

    Please keep posting, we would all love to know how youre going on and support you in your quest. We are all rootin' for you .....

    I hope you have a lovely rest day tomorrow and I look forward to reading your next post.

    Keep going, onwards, always xxxx

  • Glad it went well, best wishes x

  • Well done! That's the hardest part over with.

  • Fantastic - I'm really proud of you and I've never even met you! So chuffed for you, keep going! :)

  • Thank you all :-)

    Good luck with your running too Miss Slinky! :-)

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