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Couch to 5K
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Walking, running, walking, running - is anyone else conscientious of being seen as a stop, start runner?

Even writing this title makes me cringe; I feel silly for being so insecure but I wonder if any of you felt the same when you started...

I have completed couch to 5k twice over the last few years. Unfortunately last year, after running solidly for two years, I broke my heel and had to stop running.

In that time, I graduated from university, moved to a different city and got a new job. Now settled and with a fully-fixed foot, I am ready to pull out my running shoes and start these brilliant podcasts once more!

However, I have one ridiculous worry and I wanted to know if any fellow couch-to-5kers have felt the same...

The two times before, I ran in the early morning. I hide away from commuters and school-runs and went through the first few weeks comfortable with the stop/start process.

However as my new job starts at the crack of dawn and being an early bird rather than a night owl, I would only be up for running early evening; peak time to face the folk I tried to avoid.

I know that this is completely down to my insecurities and most people I pass wouldn't bat an eyelid but I just thought I would put it out there and see if any of you felt the same way about stopping and starting in front of people whilst training for a full 30 minute run.

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Yup probably all of us . I always did and sometimes still do put on a ‘this is not a stroll’ look on my face and swing my arms somewhat excessively...

I always wanted an explanatory tee shirt with a message on the back and front so I didn’t look like a fraud.

Now post graduation it matters less to me, but when I do interval running in London I still have that face at the ready! 😀

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Ha..... last week as part of my ongoing return from the Injury Couch, I did an out and back slow 3k run along a trail used by many dog walkers. On the way back one walker said.... oh youve nearly finished, chuckle, chuckle. Well as is often said on here, people who see you out running have no idea how far you have run, so I replied .......”yes just coming up to 10k now”........ smiles sweetly....

Oppps.......

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That acid reply laced with sugar. I love it - I could happily use that one it’s so effective. Just the perfect response👌

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Bit naughty really haha! It was just the patronising tone she used.... I could not help myself 😏

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Utterly forgiven as someone much nicer than me said - if you can’t say something nice, then say nothing at all.

Patronising folk need to be corrected from time to time👍

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I always have that type of reply ready - luckily never needed it.

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Ha, as Millsie says, people don't know how far/long you have been running...I always think with headphones in and a determined look on my face passers by think I'm training for a Marathon!..😄

Good luck starting the program again. enjoy it! and in a few weeks you will be running for 30 minutes non-stop..😊x

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To be honest, very few people take much notice of us runners! They are mainly all too busy dealing with their own life etc to worry about us.

Enjoy your running journey, you are doing great 😃🏃🏼‍♀️

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Unless you have a dedicated stalker you should feel absolutely fine.

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It is all daft really, I understand what you are saying but If I see someone stop and walk I usually wonder if they are doing C25K, have never thought anything bad.

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Yes, whenever I see a runner walking I feel heartened! “Yay! Someone else is doing it!”

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The thought has crossed my mind a few times, especially when passing the same dog walkers 2 or 3 times in the same session... but I try to live by the saying "what anyone else thinks is their problem".

What would you think if you saw a runner walking and running (without knowing about the programme)? Probably that they're a bit tired and slowing up?

Let's face it, most people wouldn't even give it another thought. They have their own stuff going round in their heads.

Just grin and look crazy!! 👍😁

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Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest your were daft, was thinking that I hate to stop with another runner in sight despite the fact they are least likely to be judgmental. I expect the dog walkers will watch your progress with admiration - tho' as you say most people are lost in their own thoughts. .

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That's so true and you're right, I never judge a runner who I see slow down/walk - I always think that maybe they're a couch to 5k runner too :)

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I think I run so slowly that people wouldn't tell the difference between my running and my brisk walking...just a different gait...listening to music helps as I can't hear what anyone says and I'm too busy concentrating on the music so I don't worry about how long till the next walk!

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I always felt embarrassed when spotted doing the 'walk' part by who I considered 'real' runners. Switching to full race walk wiggle while walking sort of helps. But I have to admit that the second time I completed the full course I did it on the treadmill because of that embarrassment. I suspect everyone's self image is different from the observer. My self image is of an old man making a fool of himself, and who should know better. Maybe their image of me - and you - is "Well done, I wish I could be out there doing that"

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Exactly, I'm 100% sure it is far more the latter!!

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You're right, thanks Duddles and GoGo_JoJo :) We are our hardest critic and if a stranger thinks/says anything negative regarding us practising runners, it's says WAY more about them then about us. It's just hard to put that thought into action

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One of the great things I have found about my advanced age is that the number of ****s I could give about what other people think of me, especially passersby etc totals precisely zero. I go out running carrying a big camera on a selfie stick and delivering a monologue into teh huge furry microphone. I set up my phone or camera in the gym to take pictures of myself for my blog. I do workouts in public parks wearing weird costumes and an elephant mask. On occasion this attracts attention that ranges from the amused and encouraging to the disparaging and downright rude. I have a chuckle with the nice people and ignore the rude people (or am ruder still back to them, depending on how I am feeling at the time).

What is the difference (apart from perhaps speed) between you doing interval training and Usain Bolt doing interval training?

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None. Both I and Usain will stop at some stage. He walks too when done.

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Ziggackerly.

In actual fact (I whisper this because it rather goes against the whole ethos of the forum) I very rarely run long slow distance at all any more. 95 per cent of my running is short sprint intervals or hillsprints (not because it is a better and more efficient form of exercise, although it is) so I am always starting and stopping and holding my knees and gasping for breath, vomiting etc. I sometimes do my hillsprints on Glastonbury Tor because it is very close to my house and very steep. I do try to do my sprints in unsocial hours to miniise contact with tourists. Not because I am embarrassed, just because they get in the damn way and I am a misanthrope. Occasionally I mistime it however. A couple of months back i was on my hands and knees 'recovering' at the top of my sprint, and an extremely witty fellow at the head of a party of patchouli reeking spiritual pilgrims in Peruvian knitwear stopped and chortled at me for a minute and then when I got upm said "ho ho, I thought you were about to die". I gave him a Paddington hard stare and replied "I was thinking the same about you."

Muggles. Don't take any crap from them.

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I do feel the same. But most people - if they think about us at all - probably think "Good for her/him for trying".

I have mostly convinced myself that I am invisible. That helps a lot. :)

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Nope.. not ever... at the moment I am repeating C25K after having a trapped Sciatic nerve for five weeks:) Two years since I graduated too :)

I am stop/starting all the time, obviously.. and I do not mind anyone watching :)

I am loving the whole thing...because I know what to do, it is so much easier this time round, because I know I can do it... and I am probably a bit of an exhibitionist too:)

I am a bit like Rignold .. I really do not bother about what folk think of what I am doing... folk are mostly pleasant, and quite a few who I do know, know I have been on the IC for a while anyway :)

Old age... ( I am much older than Rig) has its benefits:) One of my favourite poems... ?

barbados.org/poetry/wheniam...

You go for it... you are back out there, lift your head up, stick a smile on that face and run...:)

" Self confidence is the best outfit.. Rock it and own it " :)

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I hid initially, I took myself off and hid in the woods. I’d never donned the dreaded Lycra and envisaged an elephant seal in tights

As you get older though you don’t give a flying f*ck No-one sees you when you've donned the cloak of invisibility 😎.

Enjoy yourself out there. Life’s too short to be hung up by insecurities. If you are afraid to be yourself then be someone else. When you don your tights you are Wonder Woman sorta thing Whatever it takes 😃👍🏃‍♀️

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You're right. We are like those guys from The Sixth Sense, all over the place but nobody can see us. I don't mind that, tbh.

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You're so true! Life is too short to care about what a stranger may or may not think. I would rather embrace the adrenaline and happiness a run brings than not run because I'm worried that someone may see me stop and judge.

I went for my first run yesterday in the middle of the city, encouraged by your words and it was fantastic! I tried not to think about those I would encounter when I went from running to walking and I came home exhilarated.

Looking forward to tomorrow for the next run!

Thanks :)

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They have no idea how far you have or are going to run. They have no idea why you are stopping to walk, or starting to run. Own it!

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Sammy Davis Junior played golf - with people like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. He was asked what is his handicap in the game. He said "I'm a short , one-eyed , black Jew! - and you want me to have a handicap in golf too??" For me - I am a short old bald spectacles wearing man - and you want me to give a s*** about what people think of my "running" ???? :)

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Ha ha 😁😁😁

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I have definitely felt the same, especially when other runners have over taken me. But the way I see it, everyone else had to start somewhere and every runner I know has been so supportive of me trying to do some exercise that that thought has dominated my mind, rather than worrying what other people think. Also seeing other people walking has given me a bit of a boost, as I have seen that I'm not the only one. I'm only in week 4, but already my attitude has changed and I am really proud of what I have achieved (as a fitness-phob), so I think the more of it the do, the more you focus on yourself rather than the people around you.

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Definitely - you’re approaching people bobbing along and then Michael tells you to walk - and you think, they think what a wimp 😖 and want to shout I’m on a programme 🏃‍♀️

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Ha! I'm a fat middle-aged woman. I think they expect me to walk. I do not care what any of them think because I can do what I want :)

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Too true Annie!

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About doing what you want..... 😏

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Well, the other is true, but hey, I'm a runner as well :D

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:) I could have put it more strongly, but...

I suppose, to respond more constructively to j_a_w94 , probably many of us have had moments when we've been a bit self-conscious. But you do get to the point where you just don't care. No passer-by knows if you have just completed your first 60 seconds or if you have come to the end of a solo marathon run. Believe me, at the end of my first 60 seconds, I looked as if I had just completed a marathon! You are doing this for you, no one else. If you worry about it, consult your watch and nod firmly, with pride :D

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Hell yeah Annie! I want to embrace this mentality.

I went for my first run yesterday in the middle of the city and I tried not to think about those I would encounter when I went from running to walking and I came home exhilarated.

Now, instead of worrying about others, I am excited to get out there tomorrow for my next run!

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Brilliant! Well done :) It's a great feeling, isn't it? Happy running to you :)

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Wait until you're out one day running behind someone doing the Galloway method - then see if you can catch them up! I nearly always do run/walk, 2 minutes of running 1 minute of walking, as I was fed up of picking up injuries. I find it puts a whopping (!) 20 seconds on my KM time, and I can just keep going and going...I did have someone say to me "I've seen you, you run where you think people can see you, as soon as no one's around you saunter along" He got treated to a lengthy explanation of the Galloway technique...

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I absolutely felt this way when I tried to run in the park years ago. But with Michael Johnson to guide me I found I had no problems at all.

Michael tells to walk, I walk. He tells me to run, I run.

I have an Olympic athlete as my personal trainer...so what are you looking at?

But actually no one cares or even notices.

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loving this thread! Thanks for making me titter. Tee hee

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Nope, it never bothered me because I was already doing so much more than I thought possible. You are doing great. Take a closer look at all the unhealthy people you run/walk past and celebrate what you are doing for yourself. 👏👏

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