Free at last... escaping the garden

I started all this in May but I've never escaped the confines of my garden. I just haven't had the courage to get out in public. I've always been like this, but after 40 odd years of it, I am sick of holding myself back and I was determined to try a) to run and b) to get over myself.

So at last, today, many weeks down the line and with the aid of a new top to cover my lumps and bumps, I finally summoned the courage to get out at 6.30am (when hopefully everyone else would still be in bed) and see what it's like to run more than 80 foot without having to negotiate a magnolia. Plus it would be a bonus not to have the cat lying in my path, tramping on hidden slugs or snails, or my daughter pulling exploding faces out the window.

Within a minute I'd met a another runner (also build for comfort) who had the same idea about getting out early & we smiled knowingly at each other. The warm up walk took me neatly to my local rec, a football pitch and a cricket field linked together and rather thoughtfully they'd mown the grass, they knew I was coming, obvs.

I had got myself all worked up on the way, nerves and running = palpitations! My heart was fluttering and I couldn't ease in, I set off too fast, the ground was lumpy and there were two dog walkers on the horizon. I wanted to run home. So then I spent the first lap muttering every swear I know (except for the really bad one) which helped me stumble through. Then a crazy lady (that made 2 of us) doing her morning walk joined me briefly, arms in the air shouting to the world, she was cheering me on. After the initial shock (why is this happening to me at 6.45am??!) I was really grateful for her support, although I did run in the opposite direction from then on.

It was hard, I didn't think I would make it, was it nerves or maybe my garden running hasn't been that realistic after all? Pink got me through the last 5 minutes which we mentally V signed together, after all these weeks, I was going to bloody well finish.

On my warm down I finally appreciated what a beautiful, still, clear morning it is today. It felt so amazing to be out and alive, enjoying the quiet world before anyone else surfaced for the day (before c25k I loved a lie-in). That's just one of the many extra bonuses about running that I never considered before I started this journey. I may be incredibly slow, I may never reach 5km in 30 mins. I may look a right sight in my running gear, but I don't care. I love what it has done to me, I love how we all do it differently.

Happy Saturday everyone! xxx


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88 Replies

  • Well done. You did brilliantly to have the courage to go out and do it. I haven't managed to go outside myself I use a treadmill. Enjoy your future runs👍

  • Thanks very much! Some people might think what's the problem, jogging on the street, but I'd built it up into an insurmountable mountain!! I too have a treadmill (a fairly pants one) which I used to walk on a lot, but I decided to start c25k in my garden and now I don't want to get back on the treadmill. But I've worn a mud path and it's getting all boggy. I've surprised myself by getting out, just hope I can keep it up!

  • What a brilliant post. So, you ran the whole programme in your garden? Hats off to you and a big well done for escaping 🙂

    As you've discovered, it's a big, beautiful world out there and other people don't give a toss about us runners. As far as they're concerned, we're all nuts 🙄

    Now you've made the break there'll be no holding you back. Go you!

  • Ah thanks! Yes, all in my 100ft garden! I dream about completing a marathon in it sometimes!! Although 30 mins is enough at the mo!!

    Sad I know, but I knew I couldn't go out in public until I felt more confident and yet I really wanted to learn to run.

    I work at a local secondary school & many of the kids live nearby... the thought of being jeered on by them would be enough to make me shrivel up on the spot! Hence the early start. I'm hoping one day I won't give a toss!

  • Loved reading your post and well done for taking on the outside world. You have every right to run out there. I too used to feel very self conscious as my 15 year old daughter used to find me highly embarrassing, but on Friday when I had my 25 minute run to tackle and was feeling nervous she said "go on mum. You can do it". We can all do it. Keep on running and enjoy those peaceful early mornings.

  • That's lovely to hear! My daughter's the same - and she loves to take the mickey at every opportunity but at the same time is thinking more about her fitness as a direct result of me doing this. Which is great.

    Thanks for your encouragement :)

  • Loved reading your post! Well done! Hope you keep running round the rec in future :)

  • Thank you! I intend to, it was so lovely this morning, dewy grass, cold but sunny. Fingers crossed!

  • I take my hat off to you keeping going since may without leaving the garden. Even with a bigger garden than mine I'd have been bored by week 2.

    Well done for making the break. Hope your experience hasn't put you off and that you discover the joys of running in different places and not worrying what anyone thinks. Only comments I've ever heard as I puff past are "I really must start running".

    How fast, how far and what you look like don't matter. Sounds like you are doing great and getting loads out of it. That's all that matters.

  • Thank you, it's been ok actually, although I can see the benefits of getting out!! I was so amazed at the beginning of c25k that I didn't need an ambulance at the end of each session, that kept me happy for weeks! I really shouldn't give a fig. I'm hoping that one day I won't! But I am loving it in a weird way!

  • Good morning. Oh your post certainly gave me a good laugh to start my day.

    I know exactly how you feel about not wanting anyone to see you, I feel the same way. That's probably why I walk the 15 minute walk to these large fields/ wooded areas and then do my exercise there.

    One thing is for sure though. Everyone is so tied up in their own thoughts and faces down in their phones nowadays that I'm beginning to think that even if I did try to run on the roads, no one would notice.

    Well done on venturing past the confinement of your garden and in to the unknown. Takes guts to do that.

    And thank you for your post this morning. Sure made me smile.x

  • Glad to put a smile on your face! I could supply more laughs if you actually saw me running! We all have our hang ups, I am so glad to hopefully be getting over this one, finally!!!! Good luck with your runs.

  • Thank you. I just got home from doing week 1 run 2. The field was full this morning with nothing but fit guys playing football but you know what... I didn't walk all the way there for nothing. I put my earphones in, ignored the footballers who probably couldn't care less about me and just got on with it.

    We will look back on these days in time to come and laugh about them. Until then... we must proud of what we are doing. Keep on posting!

  • Well done for getting out there and not giving a ..... ! I can only aspire to that. One day.....

  • Good for you!!

  • Aww, this has brought a tear to my eye...what a fantastic post...what encouragement you're giving....what courage you're showing?!!! My running heart goes out to you for all those emotions you were feeling did had every possible gremlin sitting on your shoulder trying to convince you that you couldn't do it...but you ignored them all!!! What you have done today just proved that we all have strength inside us that eventually will come to the surface...& take us by surprise & that's what's happened to you today & the feelings that you're having now will continue as you carry on this journey...I don't even know you but I am so proud of you & you should be immensely proud of yourself. Please, please, PLEASE keep posting on here...keep at it, keep smiling & remember, it's not about this moment for you it's about getting out there & beating your demons which you have done today with flying colours...ABSOLUTELY WELL DONE!!!!! Completing the programme in your garden??!! Wow...just wow!!!

  • You've got me crying now!! Thank you so much for everything you've just said! I thought twice about posting, I thought that people wouldn't perhaps understand the difficulty I have in doing this. And that I should get over myself. I feel SO self-conscious, it's crippling and I HATE being like this. Plus, you guys are all out there, doing it already, from the start & in style! This programme is unbelievable. The things that it encourages & allows us to do. Without sounding like a cliche it really is life-changing. Thanks again for your lovely words. Could I hire you to come and say that to me every day?!!

  • Lol...if you keep posting you won't get anything other than encouragement from me...or anyone else on here...honestly. Nobody & I mean nobody would ever think 'get over yourself' or 'what's she thinking of' or anything like that...the fact that you've got a pair of trainers & have run round your garden to complete this programme is absolutely unbelievable...think about it...that is pure determination...not everyone has that in them, most people wouldn't even bother...I know I wouldn' garden is full of scooters, bikes & plastic toys!!! When I started this, I just ran round the park then, eventually, I plucked up the courage to run on the pavements in public, that was a big achievement for me & now when I read back on some of my posts I can see how far I have come, but you?!! Well, my hat is are the star of the week in my eyes...fantastic...& I look forward to reading your future posts!! X

  • Seriously, I need you in my life on a daily basis!! Thanks again for being so encouraging. All I do is turn up and get on with it, the programme has just taken me away with it and done it's thing. I've never been really exercisey - I'm just getting older and can't lose weight!! Still haven't doing this but instead I've found something that I can't stop doing and I'm so grateful. And it's doing things to me that I never jog in public! I'll let you know if it continues but so grateful for your kind words. x

  • And another thing......if one person is inspired by seeing you & your determination while you're out there imagine what effect that's gonna have on their life? It will be changed forever like all of ours...brilliant x

  • Well, put it like that and maybe I don't feel like such a plum! You have such a lovely perspective on things! thanks x

  • You're def not a're amazing x

  • Likewise you guys! Everyone is so kind and supportive on here, taking the time to say nice things....I feel so encouraged. Thank you x

  • Ah Fishypieface those out there already doing it, as you say were also beginners at one time and have only got where they are by following the programme.

    I struggled with the longer runs and went back to W5R3 which I repeated 3 times before moving on. It's only now that I'm starting to feel the benefits.

    As they say practice makes perfect.

    Don't measure yourself by others but by your own progress and improvement.

  • Wise words.... very close to my heart! :)

  • Fabulous Fishypieface! What a lovely, moving post. I can't believe that you did the programme in your garden- That's amazing :)

    But now, you have stepped out the door, faced your fears and a whole new running world lies before you :)


  • Aw, thank you! It's a bit sad really, but at last I've managed to kick myself up my own butt!! Here's hoping I can keep it up!

  • You will.. do you think we are letting you go... I shall be chasing you for posts as you move forward!!!

  • Congratulations! Fabulous post which is truly inspirational. Well done.

  • Oh thanks so much!

  • Oh well done Fishypieface.

    One thing you have to realise though - anyone who sees you out running at 6.30am thinks, 'blimey - good for you, wish I had your determination'. The other thing you find, is that after the first couple of encounters, the 'regulars' start to smile at you, then give you a cheery 'Good Morning'. Totally brightens your day. x

  • I hadn't looked at it that way! I was just SO desperate to be alone! Yes, the bonkers lady, although slightly worrying, was only trying to cheer me on, I was really touched that a stranger passing by would do that. Thanks for that perspective, it will be my mantra on Monday! x

  • Brilliant well done you 😀

  • Thanks!!

  • WOW!!!! What a post!

    I am so pleased you overcame all your trepidation and hit the big beautiful world. I am sure that your garden is lovely, but running through the woods, or along a beach, across a moorland track or a clifftop path is what running is all about for me. You have now released yourself into these wonderful opportunities and I am sure you will go from strength to strength.

    Keep running, keep smiling.

  • Oh thank you! Having read your words of wisdom these last few months, in others' posts you've really been a part of keeping me going when it's got tough. I dream of running on a beach and that seems closer now.... who knows?!

  • Go for it.

    Nothing can stop you now.

  • I'm so envious of you, running outside, I use a treadmill and tried running outside yesterday but I can't regulate my pace.

    Don't be bothered about what people think of you, unless it's friends or family their thoughts don't count.

    You are dong great, please keep it up.

  • You can do it. Just take it very slow and you will soon build up to your indoor pace. The outside is so much more inspiring than being on a treadmill. Give it another go.

  • I know I'll do it, it's an annoyance more then a problem to be honest. The practice I did yesterday was better than being on the treadmill, it will be the same kind of progress that I used up to now, slowly, keep trying.

  • Very true! Thank you. I found it hard to regulate my pace, I just kept telling myself to slow down, slow down, slow down.... when I wasn't swearing of course!! It works. Do try again, it might be bumpy for a week or so, but you will get there.... listen to me, giving advice!!

  • I will keep trying, my body likes one pace that I can keep for I'd say 5 minutes before I'd have to slow to a walk.

    I'll use that as my rest day exercise or may start trying that after I graduate from C25K.

  • Ha see!!! You're at it already!!

  • Well done for taking the plunge and running out in public. A really inspirational post, and huge determination.😊x

  • Thanks so much, I love reading your comments, you always make total sense!

  • What a lovely, courageous post! You made me smile and I am so pleased you enjoyed it. Running outside is the best, but I can understand that you would be apprehensive and admire you for overcoming that fear. The advantages hugely outweigh all your fears and one day you will just smile smugly at those schoolkids and they will secretly admire you!

    Keep running and keep posting!

  • Thanks. They are more likely to be sticking their fingers up at me!! But I absolutely need to over come it, I'm the wrong side of 40, I don't want to be this person anymore. I want to be out there like you guys, not caring. That will be a very welcome miracle.

  • Wow and well done. I was another "garden runner" at the start of the programme. I didn't want to have to call my husband after a few minutes to drive to the end of the road to rescue me and our dogs joined me in the first circuit of the garden then gave up because it was clear I was never going to be out of sight and they found a nice place in the sun to lie and sleep. Glad to hear you have flown the nest and found the outside world. Me too. I run very early in the morning when I can share my run with deer and shout hello and. I one laughs at me. Brilliant to read your post. 🙂

  • Great to know that I'm not alone or bonkers!! My cat used to go mad for the few runs, then she got bored and lay (on purpose of course) right in my path. I was singing with Pink out loud today which made me laugh. It's great to be free to do that kind of thing!

  • Brilliant! Well done you😬

  • What a heart warming post..way to go for getting out the garden you doing amazingly, keep up the good work! ☺

  • Thanks, I am overwhelmed by the support on here, everyone is so kind and it really does help to hear it all. You will all be running behind me on Monday (but don't look at my bum!!).

  • No, we'll be looking at the path, the trees, the sky, the birds etc. etc. And if we do see your bum we'll think good things like "wow, she's doing something about it, good for her" or "her bum is smaller than mine".... you get the drift!

  • Haha! Very true! I hope......! Yes, my hang ups, not anyone else's, of course. I will get there.... thanks to you guys. x

  • 😂😂

  • Loved this -fantastic read! Well done on your journey

  • Well done you! What a lovely post, thank you for sharing it with us.

    Many of us go through those horrible feelings of self consciousness and self doubt so well done for conquering it, it can only get easier from now on. Before you know it you'll be doing your local Parkrun and looking for to Saturday mornings!

    Good luck and happy running!

  • Haha! Yeah, maybe a way to go before that happens!! I get worked up just thinking about it!! Good luck with your journey too!

  • You'll get there, I know you will.

  • Hello Fishypieface, you are one extremely courageous and inspirational lady!

    Not only have you thought outside the box to find a way to complete C25K when you couldn't cope with running in public, but also you have faced your fear head on and beaten it!

    There will be no stopping you now, when you have as much determination as you have. I hope you realise how proud you should be of yourself!

    I think that C25K is more than just a running programme. It really does change the way people think and make us all more self aware and confident. Keep up your fantastic work! Keep posting too, as you must have inspired so many people with this post!

  • That's really kind of you. I don't really feel determined or brave, I feel like a wuss, but it's lovely to know that other people might think that!! And that's what is so great about this forum, the way the people support each other and egg each other on. I want to get back out there and do it again for all of you who've been so encouraging today.

    It certainly is more than just a programme, it does amazing things to us without us even realising it. I hope that other people will be inspired to achieve, there is so much to gain from doing it, and they'll never know unless they give it a whirl! x

  • What an upbeat post Fishypieface abd well done for breaking out of your garden! I can't imagine how you did the programme in your garden but what amazing persistence and determination!

    You'll find other runners won't give you a second glance, they're too busy telling their own gremlins to be quiet! They might smile, give you a knowing nod or say high. I passed 7 this morning, must've been the weather!

    As a teacher, who taught in secondary schools, I know dhatvyou mean about teenagers, perhaps join a running group, maybe a beginner's group, for commeraderie and support.

    I must admit I prefer getting out earlier, whilst others are in bed, although I can't quite manage it during the week, whilst working!

    Remember you're lapping everyone on the couch.

    Well done!

  • I hope that as I progress I will be open to clubs, park runs, mingling with the general public, including teenagers!! It all seems a huge ask, but then so did c25k a few months ago. I do feel like anything is possible (more or less) eventually.... and yes, I'm not sat on my backside instead (except now of course!). :)

  • That is so lovely to hear. Good for you!

  • What a POST!!!! Yeay!!!!!

    Blooming brilliant.. that is all...just blooming brilliant!!!

    You have had the most amazing journey and you should be completely and totally proud of yourself.. this is what it is all about...:)

    Slow does not matter.. distance does not matter ... what matter is YOU and running.. your way... and just proving to all of us Newbies and Graduates that we have the strength inside us to achieve anything that we want...:)

    Thank you so much for this... I feel humbled and in complete awe :)


    You do realise that this is only the beginning now.. and this great journey goes on ? Plus.. All of us right here to carry on with you.. and I shall be oh, so proud to run at your side:)

  • I love reading your comments and posts, experience & positivity just oozes out of them and they have really helped me when I've been down, so thank you. It's been so great today knowing everyone is on my side, it just makes me want to get back out there. This place is just awesome, the support we give each other, I've never known anything like it. Unconditional and something very special. I'm very grateful to be on the receiving end!

  • I completed C25k a year and four months ago and only visit the forum once in a while now, and then the first post I read is this fantastic piece! Brilliant, just brilliant. Congratulations on overcoming your fears. This is just the beginning of a running adventure. ❤️🏃‍♀️👟

  • Ah thanks! I hope in a year's time I will be running everywhere and anywhere!

  • Brilliant! Well done you😊

  • Congratulations on your very personal achievement. Your post has been a great motivator for me, a newbie, about to embark on the C25k today. I'm starting on my treadmill but hope that once I get fitter to run around my local park.

  • Anything is possible! We all say it but honestly, if I can do it, anyone can! Good luck with your journey. I felt ridiculously pleased with myself each time I completed a week. It is a seriously great programme that helps us achieve so much, in a relatively short space of time. There is so much support on here, too. You will never be alone if you post on here :)

  • Loved this post. I just completed Couch to 5K last week and spent the first 3 weeks doing anything to avoid running where someone could see me. If I spotted a dog walker at the end of the lane I would turn around and go back. I never struggled really with the actual runs, just what was going on in my head.

    The baggy teeshirt is a must- whatever covers the wobbly bits!

    This forum is what got me out running past workmen, dog walkers, kids and not caring too much what they think- because in fact everyone is right- they are not thinking about me at all and probably don't even notice me!

    I am proud of you too, and I don't even know you- but I know how hard that was for you to do.

    Well done🤗

  • Thank you :) This place is very special and unique, so supportive and nice, I've never known anything quite like it. An oasis in a cynical world! I will take it all with me tomorrow when I go out again.

    Congratulations on completing too! :)

  • Superb post, what an achievement! 😊 X

  • Well done !

    Simply amazing what this programme gives us 😁

  • It certainly is.... Unbelievable! :)

  • Brilliant post. Made me teary eyed. Just brilliant. Xxx

  • Wow. well done! your post brought so many feelings back - all that hiding, back roads, early/late runs, dying inside whenever I saw someone else. I now run through town in less baggy clothing, not necessarily all black either! And I genuinely don't care if I meet/pass/follow people any more. I'd love to be slim. I'd love to have a swishy ponytail. But right now I love to run and I now have the confidence to do that in public. A fantastic program indeed, and fantastic support from so, so many other people who have felt the same and taken the time to say so on here. Again, congratulations on your determination and success. Don't stop now :)

  • haha! Yes, so true, swishy ponytail is a must! :) It's great to know I'm not alone and that it can be overcome! Thank you.

  • Oh, God bless you! Welcome to the club :-)

  • Well done on venturing forth! You have been very courageous. I hope that it will be the first of many enjoyable runs in the world outside your garden. You have every right to be there and as you mentioned, there are few people around at that time and everything is so peaceful and still - it is as if all that is around you is yours in a special kind of way.

  • I like that thought - it's mine, all mine!! Very peaceful yes, it's lovely

  • Hey, snap! I too get up before 6 am and run around the park when only crazy people are there. However, one good thing about ageing is that I care less than I did about what others might be thinking of me; I am doing this for myself. I tried to do C25K before on a treadmill in the gym, but even with the interactive screen so you can imagine you are running in a California canyon, it was too boring on the longer runs. The park is much better. If you see a giant elderly crazy person running very slowly, that's me, but don't worry I am friendly. X

  • Glad I am not alone! One day, I hope that I won't care and I will be happy to run anywhere but I think that day will be a long time coming! There were a few more dog walkers today but I survived!! I also run very slowly, in fact I am sure that I walk faster than I run! Good luck with your next run.

  • I have had a similar situation. I decided to partially retire and I hit 60 at the beginning of the year. I decided to do the C25K on May 1st. I completed it in the comfort of my living room, then progressed to the garden. I needed the oxygen in my lungs. I got to the stage where I really wanted to stretch my legs and the garden seemed too restrictive. I thought I would try to go out into the big world for a run . I went around the side of the house , down the steps- no I couldn't do it !!!! What will people think of me in my trainers and running lycra !! In my mind's eye, I was an Olympic runner, I had good technique then I looked at my reflection in the glass of my patio doors. OMG look at all those lumps and bumps, I can't possibly let the world see me like this, I turned around and went back to the garden.

    I spoke to my husband ( who had been so supportive), what will people think of me, they will look at me running and have a good laugh, silly woman what does she look like. No love, they will probably look at you and think ' Good on you at least you are giving it a go' Well I gave myself a good talking to - so I went out for a run- I was only out for 30 mins and on my run I passed a man running ( he too was built for comfort) he wished me a good morning , an elderly man watering his tomatoes and he called over the fence ' good morning' and a young dad and his daughter on her scooter, she scooted along beside me for a little way chatting away to me. So I did it, I returned home and felt proud of my small victory. I may not be very quick but I am only competing against myself. I have been introduced to rock music, which I finds help me run ( I have always been a Radio 2 person). I am fitter, I have more stamina than I have ever had before, my blood pressure is coming down, my grown up children have told me they are very proud of my achievements and my husband is a diamond. What more could a woman want, I think life is very good.

  • What a brilliant post, WendyN!

  • You brought a tear to my eye; we are indeed fortunate to be able to run and have support for our endeavours. I will remind myself of that when I head out at 6 am, instead of whingeing. X

  • Good on you! Such a lovely post to read and know that we are not alone in being like this! Well done for getting out there. It'll be my 3rd time out in the real world tomorrow, 3rd time lucky I hope!! It can all only get easier! I'll be your virtual buddy, if it ever gets tough, just think of me, I'll be out there doing the same as you :)

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