Scared to run in public

Hi, I'm new, keen to get going but don't know where to start. I get very nervous about running outside, I feel very self conscious because I am really overweight. If and when I do go out for a run I will walk to a secluded spot and then run when I know there is nobody to see me. If someone then appears I stop and walk until I am alone again. I want to get over this fear but don't know how. Help!


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27 Replies

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  • Oh I know that feeling and I started out on my driveway when it was dark or around farmyard!!! Wasn't long getting fed up and off I went to park, I havnt yet ran local route by my neighbours but it won't be long my confidence is building starting wk7 in the morning.

    if you have a local park try times when it ain't so busy , last week I ran at 6.30 I met one lady with her dog!!

    As I got to week 2/3 you know what I don't care I'm trying and succeeding loosing weight and feeling so much better.

    I met a lady last week who I'm sure is doing c25k, she struggled to walk but managed her wee jogging bits in between , nothing only admiration......

    All these joggers we meet couldn't always run you know ๐Ÿ˜œ

  • Thanks, yeah I can and do walk for miles and miles. Recently attempted Yorkshire 3 peak challenge but only managed 2 of them and was pretty much at the back from the start. But didn't mind as I felt self conscious struggling up those mountains!

    I just want to be able to put my gear on, go running and not care about what people think about me.

  • It sounds like you have a great love of the outdoors. Please don't be embarrassed or ashamed when you're enjoying it. You're doing great every time you get out that door, 99% of the people out there won't give you a second glance.

  • That will come with time if you just keep running. Sometimes you have to 'feel the fear and do it anyway' - the confidence comes from the doing (I know of which I speak: I was nearly two stone over weight when I started, having already lost 6.5, and was paranoid about running but as I did it I became less so. I was to lazy to get up and run in the dark! Now I don't give a monkeys what other people think: it's my life and I'm making it better). Loads and loads of people have felt what you feel - that doesn't make it easy for you but perhaps it helps to know you're not alone. Stay focused on the outcome YOU want. Good luck!

  • It's a normal thing. Everyone feels it (unless they are a totally self obsessed show off convinced of their astonishing attractiveness) but ask yourself a few questions -

    How does anyone know how far you have already run to the point where they see you?

    Have you ever considered the people who don't run probably wish they could - and those who do know exactly what you are doing and respect you for it?

    Overweight - join the huge majority of Western populations. And take comfort in the fact that by running you no longer wish to be a victim to it. Is it better to suffer in forlorn hope or run?

    Most important question of all might be - has the pain of continuing as you are become greater than the pain of taking the 'risk' of changing? If the answer is yes - join the club :)

    Basically, it's like everything new. A bit nerve wracking at first and then you get used to it. I really did not believe a day would come when I could not give a rats ass who sees me running but it did, and darn quickly too because when you enjoy something that's the only thing on your mind.

    And if you told me that half the crew from my old career were coming to watch - and no doubt have some wonderfully bantering remarks to contribute - me in my first 5K run in a couple of weeks I would have told you I would not be turning up for it.

    But I will. Because I really don't care. I'm having far too much fun and a new sense of what is and is not important. :)

    And biggest question of all - are we really so 'important' that people are going to have us on their mind more than ten seconds as we run by anyway? :)

    Stick with us - we might run on our own but we never run alone 'round here ;)

  • Before I knew of this app. I saw a group out jogging all shapes and sizes. So encouraging because normally skinny athletic types. I got up ahead parked my car and waited for them..... and asked. They were a 'Jog Scotland ' group. They go out twice a week so that can slot in with this programme. There are lots in Aberdeen different times different days. I started with them. It's given me the confidence to go out myself. I am overweight and 4 weeks in amazed at what I can do. Post where you are and when you jog ... ask if anyone is near and wants a pal. You can do it!! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

  • Hi A_Beaverhausen and welcome! :)

    You've taken the bravest step so far and that's to start the plan, so well done for that!

    I think just about everyone on this forum was not wanting to feel self conscious outside in front of people. You are not alone in that trust me! However, 99% of the people you will see out and about will actually be looking at you in admiration and wishing they had the balls to do something similar, so advice you to just go for it.

    I know there are some users of the forum who was so scared at the thought of getting comments when they were out jogging that they invested in a treadmill and started the plan at home. Then once they were able to comfortably jog for 20 minutes or more without looking like they were just about to explode, they ventured outside and only used the treadmill when the weather was far too bad to venture out. So that's an option as well. You can pick up a decent folding treadmill for around ยฃ200. I know this because I've just ordered one for myself! :D (Although, I'm already on to week 7 of the c25k plan but I've ordered it mainly to use when the bad weather arrives and I can't get out).

    All the best with it and keep us all posted on your progress! :)

  • Hi there, congratulations on getting this far! I think we are all self conscious but the reality is that everyone else is too caught up in their own life to be paying any attention to you! AND you will so into your run that you won't even notice them! Win all round! So give it a go, there is so much to gain, and as Lee337 says you can always resort to a treadmill. Good luck!

  • We've had people in here running around their garden and even round their living room! But once they get out there they don't regret it๐Ÿ˜Ž If I see an overweight person jogging I think "well done!" At least they are trying to do something about it - they have my utmost respect. Second thought is "are they doing c25k?"

  • I can totally relate to this and I did week 1 in the most secluded corner of my local park, by the end of week 2 I stopped caring if anyone saw me. Also I told myself that interval training (Stopping and starting a lot) was a known way of training and stopping and restarting is what you're supposed to do.

    Keep on keeping on you cando this. My next run is week 8 run 3 and I can still remember when getting ready to run (fighting to get phone into armband holder, untangling headphones, etc) took longerthan the actual running.

  • Oh I remember that!

  • It is hard... and the only way really, is just to take huge breath and do it...:)

    Let the folk stare.. except, they probably won't...generally they are so busy doing there own thing. Get your earphones on and take it very, very slow and steady.

    Take us with you, many folk have felt like this.. and now they are out there strutting their stuff confidently. I started, the original, slowest Grey snail.. in the funkiest brightest leggings , they have got progressively brighter as I have progressed! Folk stared..I just thought.. ..."yes you wish this was you...65 and looking good :) tee hee!

    "Self confidence is the best outfit, rock it and own it"

    Have a go!

  • Fantastic, well done you and welcome! You know what I defy anyone who has taken up C25K to say they never had any thoughts of feeling self conscious at starting or even during the programme, and even now.....occasionally.

    On one of my posts the other day I put my delight at where I've got to - a fellow forumite put that we've come a long way since trying to look like we were in a hurry to get somewhere ๐Ÿ˜„ - by the way, it's taken me over 3 years to get here.....

    It's good to use the podcasts to listen to, so you can certainly be concentrating on something whilst going along, (safely mind! - depending on where you are - traffic etc.,).

    in addition, why not imagine you've got all us lot with you......chattering along, (man that would probably get a bit rowdy!) and you can be thinking about what you are going to say in your posts about your runs, what did you see?, how did you feel?

    And remember you're doing this for you, be brave, because you are, and you can do this, ๐Ÿค—


  • I have just one piece of advice: Do what scares you until it doesn't scare you any more. You can fight your gremlin, or you can let it decide for you: much of our fear is illogical, and what others think and the opinion of complete strangers takes a disproportionate place in our decisions. At the end of the day, the only person you are accountable to and have to impress is YOURSELF. You will probably never see the people you meet when you run again, and in a year's time, do you prefer to have got running, be confident and have lost weight, or still be treading water in the same place? Everything you want is on the other side of fear. That fear is in your head, and YOU are the one who decides which one of you is in charge ;) Give it a name (my gremlin is called Gary) and kick the S**t out of the little bugger every time he tells you that you can't. Because you CAN.

  • Love it! Thank you! ๐Ÿ˜‚

  • What a brilliant post - I'm going to copy it, email it to myself and read it often! (I struggle with anxiety.)

  • Glad to be of help :)

  • C25k not only builds your physical stamina, endurance and mental strength, it also increases your self esteem, confidence and sheer bloody mindedness. Give it a go and as others say, you will realise that most people won't even notice you.

    Go for it!

  • Or if they do notice you it will be positive - a lot of my runs I don't see anyone but most dog walkers are really friendly and we exchange a couple of sentences about the weather as I shamble past (felt good to know i could actually talk and jog, the first time that happened) and a few people have commented that they ought to do that, or they wish they could.

  • Bless you and well done for venturing outside. Do you listen to music, that is a great distraction. I am 53 and a bit overweight too and no one is that interested in me running around. I have never had anyone be negative because people see runners all over the place, we are quite boring to them

  • Many of us have been there, I certainly have!! What I didn't realise is that most people will admire you and maybe even get inspired. Anyone who pokes fun at overweight person trying to get fit is clearly a cretin of the first order and not worth worrying about ๐Ÿ™‚ I did a 10k yesterday and afterwards walking home passed the people at the end of the pack still running and walking. I thought the effort they were making was much harder than anyone finishing at the front in many ways. I really admired that and the fact they were out in a race when I would have never dared when I was at that stage.

  • Hello and welcome - and well done for starting. Many of us have been here, scared to run in public because of what people will think, and there is a lot of wisdom already written on your post by the wonderful, supportive people on this forum. I'll just add one thing. Actually, most people don't care. They don't bother to look. Think about it - when you were last driving, or on the bus, did you actually think twice about the person you saw walking, or running, or jogging? I bet you didn't. Most of us do now, of course, because we all wonder if they are also doing C25K, or we are mentally cheering them on, or looking to see what trainers they're wearing, or wondering when we can next get out for a run, or envying their leggings, or... :D But honestly, most people just don't register us. Which is great! And the ones who do (round here, at least) are very friendly if you make eye contact and always say hello.

    Try it. Go on - it's for you, not anyone else.

  • Hi, thanks for your note. Actually I notice runners everywhere, and always marvel at how great they are. Don't often see large runners though but if I do, or even someone who looks like they're struggling (breathing hard, grimacing and generally like they're about to die!) I give a little cheer to them, not loud enough for them to hear but I feel I'm acknowledging their efforts. I'm sure most people feel this way. It's my own insecurities to be honest. I have run outside. A fair bit actually. I just feel very self conscious doing it and it puts me off. Just need to give myself a shake I guess ๐Ÿ˜†

  • Hey how you doing since

  • Hiya thanks for checking in! Not been out yet, reading all the positivity and trying to find my brave. Didn't get home from work until nearly 8pm tonight so no chance at that time. Have to leave home at 06:00 tomorrow so no chance in the morning. Hopefully toward the end of the week when I'm not so hectic workwise ๐Ÿ˜†

  • Ah glad your good and gearing up to go, I was where you are and when you get into it you won't want to stop .... Take care keep posting

  • It's an interesting topic. I started running because of ill health rather than weight I was roughly 6 foot and about 11 stone so nothing that would look out of place as a runner but I was not a runner and what would my neighbours think if they saw me? They had always seen me walking all over the place with a couple of dogs. In fact on one occasion a neighbour stopped and asked if I was ok and where my dogs were and a I gave some woffle and they drove on. Yesterday I had to meet up with several of the community elders after they came out of chapel I met them in shorts and running gear - my personal image of me has changed to the point where I do not worry what others think I'm fitter and probably healthier than I have ever been. What they think does not matter to me any more and you will come to think the same you just need to make that first step.

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