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Couch to 5K
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Confidence - visibility debate

I’ve just read several post about people using the treadmill because they lack confidence to be out side ‘being seen’.

It rather amuses me to think that it is preferable to be seen by a large number of very fit people dressed in Lycra upping their PBS in a small often sweaty noisy environment than to be outside being seen by sedentary people in cars, walkers dressed comfortably and people in their houses looking out of the window. Does it really matter what either of these groups think? You don’t know them they don’t know you and this is a personal goal not a public declaration.

Recently whilst in a car with three others all of us well past 60 and 70, my friend looked out of the window and said oh look all the wrinklies are out. I was inscensed by her remark . Oh! As opposed to sitting in a car like us grey haired oldies? You see people are keen to look out at others and pass comments whilst forgetting who they are.

So please whatever your size, age,hair, colour,fitness level, get some attitude. I think you will never find that anyone who is doing something active passes these comments only the wishful couchies murmuring criticisms and doubt.

Happy running all — lecture now over

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When I’m in the car and drive past other runners I’m often thinking, “Good on you “, or if it’s a non running day, I may be thinking “Wish I was running too.”

I quite often wonder if it’s a C25Ker, especially if it looks like they are doing a mixture of running and walking, and then I have to resist the urge to stop and give them a word of encouragement (don’t want to look like a nutter 😂😂).

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Hi fellow nutter, I always smile at fellow runners when I am out. But as you know in London that level of friendliness can get you locked up. I darent go as far as talking to them, the last time I commented on a lady’s running tights she gave me a very weird look!

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Maybe she thought you might mug her for them!

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I wouldn’t think you were a nutter if you did that to me, I say thank you and be spurred on to go further 😁

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I’m having that very problem about hitting the streets. I’m on week 2 Run 2 but I’ve been doing the running up and down the back garden. Haven’t got the confidence to leave the garden. So I’m probably not running correctly I don’t know. Just worried what people think about me being unfit and slightly overweight.

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I have been running on the treadmill in the gym for the last few weeks. I am middle aged, overweight and have never run. I am doing each week twice and am now approaching week 4. The last two runs have been in my local park. I eventually plucked up the courage to go outside and go public. it is so much better. I love it. I listen to a funny podcast- so I smile rather than grimace- and the fresh air, the scenery keep me interested and my brain engaged with other things than just the physical effort. No one seems to bat an eyelid. Yesterday I factored in a cash point visit to my warm down. There’s something great about getting somewhere you’d usually drive to under your own steam. Go for it.

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If you don't want to be seen by neighbours I would drive or walk to a park. I haven't worried about who sees me and now I have graduated I feel quite proud when someone says they saw me out running 😁

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I had a similar problem with self confidence when I restarted the programme following breast surgery. See my posthttps://healthunlocked.com/couchto5k/posts/134328975/week-1-run-1-with-strange-style

But I was equally self conscious about running in the gym. Having said that, in my gym we also have lots of different ages, sizes, levels of ability, and levels of confidence, and nobody cares. Everyone is usually focussed on their own routines etc to worry about what anyone else is doing. :-)

But I just decided that if people had a problem with my running style it was their problem not mine. I'm glad I stuck at it, as I now enjoy running outside and I don't really care what people think. There are lots of different sized and shaped people running out there, and the best thing is that they are running. So please don't think about what others think. Most people are just impressed that you are out there having a go at it. :-)

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Why should you care? You’re doing something about it. Go out head held high and dare them to judge. There’s a whole world outside your garden 😀

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Many people feel like this but without need. Usually when they get out they come back and say 'oh..It was fine'. Someone here said that people wont know whether you are on your fist five minutes or whether you have just run a 10k...Worth thinking about :)

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Well I finally made it out on the streets last Friday and run twice now. Just started week 3 and enjoying it. Thought there was no way I could run 3 minutes but I did. Feeling quite proud of myself, thanks for all your advice xx

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It's tricky. People's confidence and anxiety issues are very real, though often irrational. As anyone with a phobia knows, you can't rationalise away some fears. Chances are, there would be no negative repercussions from going out and being seen, but if people are not ready for it, it is much easier said than done. Treadmill running on the other hand, is still running, and not inferior in the slightest, just a bit different. I get your point, and if it helps motivate people to get outside, then great, but if someone is reading this and still feels like they can't go outside, please don't feel bad about that. You are still a runner.

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Oh yes of course I didn’t mean to say one is better than the other just rather clumsily trying to say that it doesn’t matter about other people. I know fears and phobias are very real to those experiencing them and probably overcoming them may seem as hard as the running. This forum is so very supportive for all of us

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Oh I know! Don't worry, I'm sure your post has made people rethink and consider that they don't need to worry about others. I was just adding a comment for people who may be prone to beating themselves up for not being able to will themselves to get out there. Your post was not clumsy at all, and very positive. I just wish words could win against some people's anxieties, as if they could, yours certainly would have =)

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Thank you

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Being seen was the hardest thing for me with my first run. But I went out in the dark and chose a few quiet safe streets near my house. But I didn’t have my contact lenses in and when I was in my first 60sec run I stopped because I thought I saw someone outside. But on getting closer I saw it was a large rubbish bag! After that I decided to stop being so silly and just go for it. Running outside is much nicer than treadmills at the gym. You can check out the gardens and, in the dark, be nosy and peer into lit up houses! I’m not very coordinated and always worry I’m going to fall off a treadmill!

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As I really cannot afford a gym membership like have to hit the streets. Having read laurel55's post my thinking is people are going to judge you without knowing you (and without you knowing ) in both environments so why payout an arm an a leg for the judgement when you can get it for free?

I had reservations about running in public but now I don't really think about what others are thinking. I see people looking at me from their cars but all I do is mutter 'lazy b****r you should walk' lol

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I just don't get why a person might make a comment of that type, or even think it. I personally couldn't give two hoots what someone so small-minded might think. I truly do not give a fig (polite version). The wrinklies, indeed! I When I was 20 I thought of a 40 year old as a "wrinkly" yet at 43 I consider myself a youngster, so it's all very subjective :)

I sincerely hope that when I truly am a wrinkly, I'll be out there proudly pounding the pavements or trails and loving every moment of it.

I totally get that feeling deeply self-conscious is very real regardless of whether or not there is any "reason" for it, and if indoor running is the way forward in these cases, then that is great and infinitely better than nothing. Hopefully in time those who run indoors for fear of being seen will build up their confidence and eventually venture outdoors (I hope so as running outdoors adds a whole new dimension to the experience). However I imagine there is a lot to be said for having a treadmill at home for those times when for one reason or another it is hard to run elsewhere (mothers of small children and other carers; getting stranded due to adverse weather conditions etc).

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One of the advantages of being a bit older is the you learned years ago that most other people are too wrapped up dealing with their own world to be watching or judging you. The others are either willing you on or unworthy of your concerns!

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Wise words, DWT123!

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If people feel more comfortable running in the gym rather than in the street and that helps them overcome their initial insecurity about starting to take exercise then what works is king. I recall there was a lady on here a few years ago who had such issue with the idea of being seen and judged that she did the first few weeks of the programme running back and forth across her living room. If I remember correctly, that gradually gave her the confidence to venture outside.

It is easy to judge other people's fears and worries if you do not share them, but that does not make them any less valid to the sufferer.

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This was / is something I still struggle with. When I first started running my biggest fear was my local vicar seeing me but after he did (he was forced to pull his car over for me and a horse on a narrow lane, lol) I was totally fine with that.

And I find other runners are lovely; they nearly always smile, say hello or give a thumbs up.

But I still find I get abuse hurled at me from vehicles and sometimes people throw actual physical items or spit at me. And I get a lot of beeps and laughs etc. alongside the abuse. Any tips on making that aspect of running go away would be fab!!

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Dear God, where do you live? I would chuck the items straight back in through their windows or drag them out and remonstrate with them in a very robust manner. Failing that take their registration number and report to the police.

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Kent! Went tourist running in Somerset recently and couldn't believe how lovely everyone was; made me want to move! Lol!

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Oh that is horrid I can’t quite understand just why anyone would do that! I suppose that’s why I choose (and am lucky enough to be able to) to run off road and to my amazement I’ve even had cars stop to let me across minor roads.

I suppose nose in the air ignoring is the only answer for you. Or perhaps a few discreet nails to throw under their car tyres!!! You could alaways offer to ‘run’ and get help for them

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Whenever I see an older person running I feel the urge to lower my window and give them some encouragement. Good for them for getting out there and giving it a go. Whatever pace they’re going at, they’re making an effort. More than most of the bystanders and sniggerers! It takes a lot to get up off the couch and go outside - particularly in the dark, wet, cold winter days. Good for us, we’re trying !

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