Couch to 5k beginner (for the third time!!!)

So glad to have found this forum, I'm working abroad so I'm constantly making the excuse of not being settled enough to get into a fitness routine, but I think seeing other people's stories and having an online support web might make this time the one! I'm not overweight, but the pounds have been creeping on for a good few years now and I'm incredibly unfit (light jog for more than 30 seconds and I feel sick!!) so I'm heading that way... Anyone else feel a strange sense of anxiety surrounding exercise? Tried the gym but couldn't handle it, and even running in open spaces I feel like everyone's looking at me. I guess I just have to push on through and remind myself they aren't!!

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17 Replies

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  • Hi there, curly monkey, and welcome to the wild side :)

    It looks like you really want to do this, and the only thing that's stopping you appears to be a fear of other people watching you. It's a common phenomenon. Let's get this sorted then: When you go past someone in a pair of trainers, they do not know if you have been running for a day or a decade, five minutes or five hours. Nor do they spend time thinking about what a terrible loser this person must be for getting their trainers on and looking after their health. And guess what? That's IF they notice you, because whether you believe it or not there are so many people out there in trainers now that most people don't think twice about seeing you go by. And most of those who do say hello or encourage you.

    And the others, the loudmouths with a fag in one hand and a pint in the other? The ones you are scared about? Who cares. You have headphones on and trainers on your feet, and they are the ones who feel inadequate. In a year's time, will you want to give them the satisfaction of knowing that you didn't do something you wanted to do, just because you think they didn't approve?

    Don't empower your self-doubt gremlins, get yourself some trainers and get going. In a year's time you either will be glad you did, or you'll still be worrying about the opinion of people you neither know nor care about. Convinced? Sermon over.

  • Love it, my wonderful friend..... I could do with you around to give me a sermon sometimes when I need it!!!

  • Ready and willing to supply, as and when requested :)

  • Love, love, love this! Exactly what I discovered once running outside. I feel so silly that it took me the first 7 weeks of the programme to realise it and I wish I could go back and tell myself that. Will have to make do having to try to convince people now! :)

  • Go you! Spread the word, sister (note to self: must make up a C25K Gospel song to be sung by forum members wearing trainers and waving pompoms). I've only had nasty comments once in nearly two years of running, and that was from another woman rather than the dreaded (and surprisingly rare) man in a white van. It's a pity that these people don't realise that while they forget their comment immediately (they must do it all day), they sometimes make an irreversible impact on their "victims". That's why life is too short to let these rare individuals influence other people's choices.

  • I can identify with every anxiety you've listed! Just start :) I still have all the same anxieties but every run, no matter how short puts them back where they belong! This is a fantastic place to come and hang out too. Loads of lovely folk to cheer you on, congratulate, commiserate and encourage. Look forward to hearing how it goes... :)

  • ... and you are a brilliant example of how amazing this programme is and how amazing you are... :)

  • Welcome! Yes, yes and yes! Most of us started where you are - exercise phobic, seriously unfit and terrified of the thought of being seen running in public! The C25k is made for people like us. It's very gradual but is a challenge and feels more and more amazing with each week that you complete. People with all sorts of weight and health issues have completed the programme successfully and you can too!

    I completed the first 6 weeks of the programme inside on a treadmill, completely terrified of the thought of running in public. Everyone here told me to try running outside and I ignored them thinking that they couldn't possibly understand how I felt about it. The first time I went outside it was dressed all in black at 10pm in the dark so that no one would see me and I was shaking like a leaf! From that very first run outside I couldn't imagine going back to a treadmill as I love outdoor running so much! The thing you learn is that non-runners barely notice you. Once you start running you begin to see runners everywhere and you then realise how little attention to paid to them before you started. The main people who will notice you are other runners who will understand and appreciate what you're doing so no issues there! The people who fall between the cracks of these two categories are few and far between and aren't worth your time worrying anyway. I totally understand your anxieties about running outside, though, and can only reiterate the advice that was given to me - when you eventually feel comfortable enough to try it it's very likely you'll wish you had done so sooner! :)

    This forum is the best place on the internet and full of the most amazing, inspirational people. If they can all do it, you can too! Use the forum for advice, encouragement, motivation and to celebrate your successes. People here will help you through the programme in whatever way you need help. Start slow, if you're struggling slow down some more (you seriously can not go too slowly for this programme). Take your rest days, stretch, follow the programme and you'll be a runner before you know it! We'll be with you every step of the way! :)

  • Great advice all around... and are we not all amazing! Yes,, you are and we are too!!!!

  • Congrats for even being able to run on a dreadmill. I got thrown off by a particularly savage one in Portsmouth when I was in my early twenties, and vowed I would never try again. Luckily for me, I prefer the great outdoors :)

  • I simply agree with everything my lovely friend mfamilias has said.. with knobs on!

    Go for it.. let them stare.. jealousy is a dreadful thing..:)

    You do this... and show everyone, including yourself just how totally you rock! :)

  • I second what everyone else is saying, just want to add one more thing.

    It's the beginning of January. You don't say whether this applies to you or not, but I bet there's plenty of new runners/new-years-resolutioners out at the moment, so it's not like you'll be the sole focus even if the general public suddenly did start paying a lot of attention to runners.

  • If I see a runner when I am driving past I do look but usually think, "good on them'. And also people are so caught up in their own life that you jogging past probably doesn't even register on their radar.

  • So lovely to read all of these, I found a route that doesn't pass too many people, and keep reminding myself all of what you've said! The headphones in definitely help make me feel in a safe bubble too. Great to know I'm not the only one who's had these silly thoughts of people staring at laughing and the weird anxieties around exercise in public! Thanks so much for all the kind words and support!

  • That's great to read. Sounds like you're in the zone now!

    I had an irrational fear of being seen with any visible signs of sweat, but now I'm (just as irrationally, probably) very proud of having worked up a sweat. :)

  • Yes totally get that! We should be proud of sweat! Means we're working hard, as someone pointed out, on those occasions you do notice a runner, you think "good on you", if that runner is a sweaty betty then surely you'd think it even more!

  • Glad you've overpowered those gremlins and got out there. You're going to rock this :)

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