There seem to be a lot of posts recently about being scared and frightened about upcoming runs…..Week 5 Run 3 seems, unsurprisingly, to feature heavily in these posts. This may be because the forum is busier, or it may be to do with the times we live in. While on my run this morning, before I had heard about last night’s atrocity in London, I was trying to work it all out in my head.

We all learn, pretty quickly, that a major component of learning to run, is dealing with the psychological challenge of doing something that we have never done before. Apprehension and caution are natural but once you have embarked on C25k, whether you are using app or podcasts, you really do need to listen to the calming voice of your coach. In my case it was the goddess Laura, who made it clear early on that having to repeat runs was in no way a failure…...those repeats just make you stronger… what is there to fear?

Fear is an utterly negative emotion. It can cause physical tension, shortness or difficulty in breathing and increased heartrate, all of which on top of the stresses that running puts on the body are unhelpful. Sure, it may serve a purpose in life and death circumstances, but we have a remarkable ability to let it creep, in an irrational way, into our daily lives. Fear of being seen jogging by anyone who might know us…..fear of being laughed at by total strangers…...fear of being seen with a beetroot face…..all common threads on this forum alongside the fear of not wanting to “FAIL” a particular run.

I remember being excited by the challenge of W5R3 ( for those of you who have not looked yet, you will be ready for it when you get there!!). In no way did I fear it. I am not a superman, I just knew that if it was a step too far and I could not complete it, then my first attempt would have helped me be prepared for the next attempt…….every run is training for the next one, wherever you are in your running career. Take the positives (there are always some) and move on. It is about preparing your body, not a tick box exercise. This, to me, is a far more positive way to approach the programme than repeating weeks just because you are not sure that you will manage the next one…… do you know until you try it?

Voicing our fears can be helpful, especially when there is the reassuring presence of this forum to confirm you that you will be okay. However, the language that we use and the way we think through these “fears” to ourselves has a potent effect on how we feel about something and how others relate to our concerns. C25k is a series of challenges, superbly constructed to keep us progressing to the target of 3 x 30 minute runs. None of them should be dreaded or feared and I believe even using those words can subliminally raise anxiety. We limit ourselves by telling ourselves and others that we will never be able to do something.

Starting to run C25k, nearly four years ago, flooded me with an absurd surge of optimism, which has stayed with me, although maybe not quite as extreme now as back then. It was bolstered by the beacon of supportive positivity that is this forum. Running has changed my confidence and self esteem along with all physical benefits gained and all that is reflected in my life and relationships.

It seems to me that we live in a world overflowing with negativity, hostility and fear, but as we know, in this little microcosm of the world, positivity and communication garners fabulous results. Talk to the stranger, don’t worry if the question is silly, offer your advice, help the other person, because, actually, they are just like you, with the same hopes and ………..

well, I will leave you to fill in the gap with an appropriately positive word.

I know that next week there will be the same flood of “I am terrified about Week…..” questions and this post may not be of help to many, but if just one person thinks “Right, breathe deeply, keep calm and positive, face the challenge and do the best I can.” then maybe it was worthwhile.

Keep running, keep smiling.


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74 Replies

  • Very well said 😊

  • Thank you

  • Nice one lannoda so eloquently put I agree people seem to want to give up before even starting or have a fear of pushing ones ability(for anyone reading this these are not criticisms but observations of what people have posted).

  • Self belief does seem to be in short supply!

  • Awesome post, well said that man 👏👏

  • I wasn't aiming for awesome, but will take it, thanks.

  • Sometimes we get places we weren't aiming...

  • Brilliant and encouraging post Ian😀

  • Thanks Jacs!

  • Excellent post, well said

  • Maybe we can flood the world with positivity.........

  • A great positive read Iannoda. So instead of worrying about my first ParkRun and it's uphill section I'm going to turn things round and breathe, face the hill and do the best I can. No more worries !!

  • Thank you, it was will have a ball!

  • Well said Iannodatruffe 😊

    I postively agree with you...

  • Just got your running name Ian..

    You know the truth!!

    I always thought you were Lannodatruffe with an L.

    Know I realise Ian knows the truth..😄 love it...Lol

  • Actually, because of the limitations restricting dashes or spaces in names, most people have never understood that name. It should read Ianno da Truffe, which needs to be said quickly and is not as self centered as you name is not and never has been Ian.

    Regards, Tim.

  • Oops sorry Tim, I always thought it was a slightly unusual name like Rignold. Then when I saw someone call you Ian..

    nuff said...

    Never thought of you in any other way but inspirational and wise.x

  • Actually, I must confess Rignold is a Nom de plume as well. In honour of the great Hugo Rignold, former conductor of the CBSO.

    My real name is Billy Rhomboid.

  • I read it as truffle!!! 😂

  • Me too!

  • same... mmmm, chocolate 😍 ... guess that's partly why I'm here; #easilydistracted! 😁

  • Well said.

    As my dad used to tell me when I was 7 years old: you can do twice as much as you think you can. And five times as your mum believes you can.

  • Your dad sounds fab.

  • You didn't have me as your Mum...

  • Ha ha ha brilliant

  • Brilliant - very well said and already having the desired effect.

  • I love a bit of positivity, so much to learn in life. Great post.

  • "This, to me, is a far more positive way to approach the programme than repeating weeks just because you are not sure that you will manage the next one…… do you know until you try it?"

    This was certainly something that crossed my mind! Thanks for putting it into perspective.

  • Thanks very much for your comments. Absolutely the right way to think about the programme. Onward! (Just did W2R1​ this morning) and look forward to going further.

  • Ok. There is maybe a difference between anxiety and fear. Fear is a necessary emotion so we can fight or flee a life threatening event. Anxiety is a curse of the modern world; an exaggerated response to threat. So yes , I entirely agree: we need to be braver; warriors in a battle against negativity. But at the same time I really understand that people are scared of all sorts of things. Those anxieties maybe irrational- but they are real.

    I try and help my kids to know that you can't achieve if you don't try and I hope that people on this forum know that too.

    Thank you for the thought provoking post Iannoda

  • I love your reply and it would be great to sit down and debate semantics, but my main intention was to point out that we can limit ourselves by our own negativity, in a totally unconscious way. Many of our real anxieties come from our own insecurities and I believe that by taking a positive approach they can sometimes disappear. That doesn't mean they aren't real, but that we are partially responsible for constructing them in the first place.

    I try not to post if I have nothing to say.

  • I don't think I am disagreeing with you at all (I am brave!) but just pointing out that there are lots of people on this site who are fighting real demons with anxiety and it's tough, y'know?

  • I don't think we disagree at all and I am not belittling anybody's anxieties, I just believe that positivity can prevail.........

    My personal philosophy is that we are just a bunch of chemicals and separating mind from body is futile. Put that mix into an environment with so many variables and anything can happen. Positivity, for me, is my, possibly delusional, way of feeling I have some control.

  • Your name is Winston...:)

    "The positive thinker, sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible ".

    Thanks you x

  • Top drawer !

    Really Well put , great post Ianno ! :-) xxx

  • Well said, today I tried week 5 run 3. I didn't get to the end and did 16 consecutive minutes. Will try again on Tuesday and know I'll do it. No fear, just taking one run at a time.

  • You got it! Great!

  • Well said.

  • A very interesting post. Many of us have been brought up to get things right - and not just right, it has to be perfect. If it's not going to be perfect then don't do it. It is very difficult to adapt this way of thinking to real life. Your thought-provoking words help!

  • I've been wondering whether anyone else sees the thread of 'perfectionism' that seems to hold us back. Helpful post and response, thanks!

  • Wise words...that was me yesterday thinking of doing W5R3 today. Actually when I got up today I was feeling slightly excited about attempting it and that change in attitude apparently worked. Currently sitting here with my well deserved glass of water having just completed it. The last couple of minutes were tough and if my legs had stopped, no was further than I ran last time. I'll try the same approach next week and hopefully it'll work for me again.

  • Well done 🏃

  • Well done Mum😊

  • Spot on. And very eloquent.

  • Excellent piece! Thankyou 👍

  • Great post (& replies)... as a certified optimist myself, I can only add the old saying "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again".

  • Ah, that's what I was trying to say........ nicely succinct!

  • & on that note, just finished wk7:1... my bugbear is hills, or even slight inclines... so decided after all the posts to go for it & although hard, I got over my fear of hills... now I can run anywhere!

  • The fear of the unknown,especially as we have to put our own bodies through a physical effort which we have never tried before.What is this FEAR? Is it the possible PAIN that will consume our bodies.Each of us have reached apoint in our lives through painful events however small.There is an old adage " We don't know unless we try it".I am sorry 😞 I.T. if I have gone over with what you have said; it just got me thinking 😔 and l had to put it across in apost toyou as agree with you.Stevy

  • The fear, as I see it, is one of perceived failure.

  • You are so right, but posting wee worries here is always so reassuring

    The advice is always good and that feeling of being cared about just gives you the wee prop you need to get out there and do it. You are esp helpful Ian with your blend of optimism, common sense, and tough love. Thank you.

  • What a great post. I've just done W5R2 and loved it...I never ever thought I could say that. I don't feel like a middle aged out of shape woman any more...I feel like a runner and I can't wait to have a go at W5R3 because as you so widely say, I will do it. Maybe not on Wednesday, but I will do it! Thank you for your positivity!

  • Very inspirational post.

    I was worried about coming back after a bit of knee trouble. I am now going to just go out and enjoy my run and stop when I've either had enough or I get to the end of the workout. No worries now, cheers Ian :)

  • Do one thing every day that frightens you.

    One of the main things that C25k gave me was the confidence to do things I previously thought I was incapable of. Often it has turned out I'm still not capable of them - C25k didn't grant me omnipotence - but once you've tried a thing, you've demystified it, and then it's just a matter of chipping away until you can do it.

  • Wonderful! Thank you

  • Fabulously written! I am on week 6 run 2 on Wed and if you had said to me 5 weeks ago you can jog for 20 mins I wouldn't of believed it! I can and I will!! Thank you 😁🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️

  • Great and honest post! Very true, I felt a bit afraid before that 20 minute run and by listening both to Michael Johnson telling me 'I can do it, it's all in my head' and Miles Davis calming me down further, I actually ran nearly 4.5k without pain or losing my breath. I felt fantastic, now I'm on W6R2.

    My fear came from the fact that I was so prone to injuries previously and when back in early January I actually completed the course, I picked up an ankle trouble that kept we off running for months. A mix of age, very bad shoes, no insoles and running harder than I should have done all dented my confidence and busted my ankle.

    Got new great shoes, custom made insoles, wise words and exercises from my physio, and paced myself as Michael Johnson repeated to me every time. This time, no pain, better runs, more confidence and, fingers crossed, no injuries.

    Reading this forum helped me understand what we all can achieve, boosted my belief and confidence, and it's just amazing what a simple exercise can do to achieve all that.

    I can hardly wait for my evening run today, thank you all!

  • Well said :) And as for that scary ol' w5r3 - yesterday was my first run for a month, so I went back to that trusty 20-min favourite as I was pretty certain I'd be able to manage it. And I did! :) Mountains are never as big as the first time we climb them (or something!)...

  • Thank you for this... I think you are so right that certain experiences, and completing C25K is one, stay with you and empower you. They are not magic wands (didn't cure my underlying condition for example... and although fundamentally I knew that (as some might not) I still had a sneaky little hope) but they do shore up resilience which you may never know when you are going to need next.

    It's not that we should berate ourselves for a bit of second guessing, we have imaginations after all... and sometimes putting it down here on the forum gets it out of ourselves where it does the damage. We just need to know it doesn't mean anything important. We know that the aim of the programme is to get us running continuously for 30 minutes and not just as a one off stunt, so we can safely take it one run at a time.

  • Great post, I could do with someone like you following me round everyday shouting in my ear 👍🏻👍🏻

  • Never shout when running.........wasted energy!

  • What a delightful post, Thankyou for sharing, very wise words... I still do remember that W5 run3 and I will never forget the elation I felt after me and my son completed it... those feelings dont ever go away 😎

  • Hi Julia, my dear. Is he still running?

  • Yes he is!!! my beautiful 15 year old ran every day on holiday at my mums in Hayle on the beach with me last week. He's my favourite ( and only) running buddy, I feel very blessed....

  • You got him started at just the right age. I thought maybe he had hit that teenage slump....... What a joy!

  • I know.... for a while I thought I'd lost him but he still comes out with me. Cycling is his main sport now tho!!

  • Love this. For me, something changed or clicked when I started this programme. Or maybe just before which is what gave me the drive to just go for it in the first place. I couldn't complete the very first session properly - I had to miss one of the middle runs & cut a couple of the latter ones a few seconds short. But rather than give up, I made a decision to do It again until I was able to do it 'properly' then could move on. Thankfully I was able to do it with my next attempt & I have no doubt my change from normal anxious mindset had a lot to do with it. I'm now on week 7, running (slowly) for 25 minutes & really looking forward to doing the Race for Life in 2 weeks time. And that's just the beginning... 😀

  • Reading between the lines, I think I detect an addict...........great, isn't it?

  • Great post Ianno 🙏

    This was me last week dreading Wk5. Then after coming on here and hearing the positive replies, it gave me encouragement and put me in a different mind set.

    What's the worse that can happen? I have to walk some of it, there!! That's what I've been doing for the last 4 weeks, nothing has changed,

    I'm not gonna die and I'm not a failure. And more importantly, I'm out there giving it a go, which is what I wasn't doing 5 wks ago!

    So now my mind set has changed (thanks to you lot) and I've wk5 r1 in the bag, the next 2 are mine!! 💪💪

    I'm glad I put the dreaded post out there. It helped my immensely.

    Happy running peeps 🤗

  • How eloquent 👏🏾

  • Cracking post, young man. i don't get on here nearly often enough these days but definitely couldn't miss reading this one. Was it FDR who said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."? Dunno, but whoever it was knew a thing or two. Nothing limits us more than our own lack of confidence.

    T'would be good if this posted was pinned.

  • I'd like to add to your post some thoughts on the negativity of "gremlins" Some people like to name their gremlin, and give them a personality and traits... and blame them for their inability to complete certain runs etc... personally I think this is a bit dangerous, sometimes there are times when we should listen to our bodies (how many times have you heard that?) and STOP! It's kinda fashionable on this forum, I've never heard of Gremlins anywhere else, to blame these imaginary gremlins, and attempt to keep going when sometimes it would be prudent to do the opposite...Gremlins don't exist, they are in your head. We're all adults here, take responsibility for your runs, successful or otherwise...

  • Like you say gremlins are in our heads. My understanding is we use the term gremlins to refer to our inner critic (telling us we are not good enough, etc.), rather than to refer to any physical aches and pains.

  • I have just read this on the advice of jancanrun...I was worried about next I say come then let's get this done!!! If I don't succeed totally the. Will just do it again, and again until I do it!!! Thanks, brilliant advice!!!

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