How to get over yourself?: I really want to do a... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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How to get over yourself?

surfing_electron profile image

I really want to do a Couch 2 5K, but I'm very overweight and what stops me putting my trainers on is the idea of running where people can see (and point, and laugh) at my fat self struggling along, red-faced and wobbbly.

I live in the city, so I don't think there's really anywhere "quiet" I can run, short of lacing up at 5am, so I just wondered if anyone can share any stories or help about being in a similar situation and how they managed to get past it?

40 Replies

I’m self-conscious but my husband always tells me that seeing me won’t be a topic of conversation for other people. They won’t sit down to dinner and talk about me! It’s tough I know, and easier said than done but you’d be doing this for you and a little discomfort will be worth it as you become fitter. Get your headphones on and get going. You can do it!

Goforitmama profile image
GoforitmamaGraduate in reply to calcath

'They won't be talking about you over diner' - I love that! It's so true. I'm going to write it on a post it and stick it on the fridge!

GemmaTakeTwo profile image

Before I started C25K, if ever I saw anyone running (whatever their size/speed) my only thought was that they were doing more than I was. Do this for you, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks - whatever your speed, you’re lapping everyone else on the couch!! Good luck and go for it.

Irish-John profile image
Irish-JohnGraduate in reply to GemmaTakeTwo


I first ran when I was a size 24 plus

I did run early just because that’s suited me but believe me it’s dtill busy 😊 it’s amazing how many people are about

I had similar thoughts and concerns however the reality was no one ever did. Plus I thought I’m this size now but if I do this exercise I will get fitter and lose weight so I’m the winner.

If you allow your fears to stop you it’s a guarantee you will stay the same

You could check out the closest park runs to you and start there as they are all very supportive

GoGo_JoJo profile image

Just remember.... in reality you are but a speck in the universe. People have their own stuff going on and most can't pay attention for the length of a tv programme so a chubby jogger is barely going to register.

But for you this programme has the potential to change your life, your fitness and your self-esteem...


Flaraflarkin profile image

I can relate to this! Your confidence will grow as you achieve each run, so this feeling shouldn't last too long -~ you will be so focused on getting through the run you probably won't even notice other people! 😊 In the first instance I'd say lace up at 5am and start your day with a boost! 🙌👊💪

Hi, I am doing my ct5k in the treadmill, because as I say I don’t want to scare people, lol. I do find it boring not having anything to look at, but if I can do it ok inside, I might feel confident to go outside when I have achieved the plan.

Jogger_Mum profile image

People will probably say good on you ! I have had so much support it’s been unreal! I was 7 stone over weight I have lost nearly 3 but still got a long way to go, feel good about myself for even taking a crack at this running be it very slowly 😂. Just do it you’ll feel great x

Jay66UK profile image

“Very overweight” is quite vague, and you are well within your rights not to go into details.

I’m 5st overweight, pretty much all around the middle. But I’m also a bloke and we seem to be allowed by society to be less perfect than women. My BMI is still around 33 after completing this programme.

If you have much much more weight to lose than me, there is a walking programme you could follow to get started (and it’s probably worth speaking to your GP to check what’s healthy and safe for you).

If you have about the same to lose as me or less, I would put on some comfy clothes and go out for a 20 minute walk where you think you might run, at around the time it would be convenient to run for you.

Most cities have parks or nearby rural-ness, and they usually have better transport infrastructure to get you there. Choose somewhere you can easily get to and can imagine being three times a week for the 20-40 minutes each session of this programme takes.

The walk will give you an idea who is around and what they are doing. Perhaps wear a particularly bright top and see whether anyone reacts to you.

My guess is that you will be invisible to almost everyone.

I hope you manage to get out - the first step of the first run is the very hardest hurdle. If you let us, we can help you through.

ccarter100 profile image
ccarter100 in reply to Jay66UK

Wise words!!

Goforitmama profile image

Hmmmm... Well the only person who ever laughed at me was someone who was probably embarrassed by his own body shape and he did not exercise ever. I think that he was one of those people who tried to make others look bad to make up for his own short comings.

Another neighbour made a sniggering comment about my red running face once, but again he would not know exercise if it bit him and he is what was once termed as a simpleton. So I just ignore him.

I suggest that you just try it. People will soon get used to seeing you out and it's nice when people say good morning or keep going luv! Sometimes people have stopped me when I have been out somewhere (like the supermarket) and say things like I see you are running again - that's them being supportive.

99.9% of people are supportive and the odd ones that say weird things have their own issues.

Julessn profile image

Truly, if anyone does look at you, they’ll only be thinking, wow, they’re running and that’s amazing. But I don’t think anyone does look or judge. We are all wrapped up in our own lives when we’re out and about.

Just go for it. It will change your life, I promise.

I too am overweight so I like to run along our local canal at 6am as I was worried about people seeing me, but I couldn’t do a morning run the other day so ran at 6pm, yes there were people about and most moved out the way for me, then I bumped into a group of youngsters and I was thinking omg they are going to have a good laugh but no they moved over and encouraged me to keep going , I know it’s hard to get started but when you do you will be well chuffed. Good luck 😉

One thing that held me back on previous attempts at running was being out of breath in front of others, so I use to run in the dark and try to breathe normally if I saw anyone.... it didn’t work...... now I do it in daylight and don’t care. You are more likely to be an inspiration to someone than a joke 🤠

Flowell profile image

I was the same but there are spots no-one goes to even in the capitals. Local cemetery for me, just dog walkers. I walked around for a week picking spots, which helped me get ready too! Get a baseball cap and look down when passing people until you are brave. If they can’t recognise you who cares? Week two I stopped caring and everything everyone says on here is true. BUT I didn’t have that in me in week one and you need to start somewhere, both in running and in confidence!

SandieF profile image

When driving around a city, I’m looking at traffic, traffic lights, pedestrians, ooo look a runner, a dog, will it run onto the road, that’s a nice car, where’s my next turn, I’m going to be late/early etc etc. That runner was nothing more than a 1 second thought on my radar. Believe me, you are probably more invisible in a busy city than in a park.

Just get off that couch and give it a go, you have nothing to lose and so much to gain. The day will come when you are running hoping people will notice you 😂

Keep popping onto this forum, I found it was this place that really, REALLY helped me get through it

Good luck and let us know how you do 😘

Bridget007 profile image

Do it! You will love it! I hid in the woods for weeks but when I did venture out I don’t think anyone noticed me I was just another one of them runners with a bright red sweaty face! I have my earphones in so even if someone was rude I wouldn’t hear them 🤣 but I don’t think anybody has been in fact I’ve had a few “well dones” from complete strangers! Don’t let what others might or might not say put you off! Go for it!

Alanist profile image

I say give at a go, I'm sure you'll be in for a pleasant surprise.

I think at the start most of us have worrie about being seen, what other people will think or say about us. But as others have said most of the time your fairly invisible to people and those that do notice tend to give you a friendly smile or some encouragement and are full of admiration for what you are doing.

I've found the running community, ramblers and dog walkers to be a very friendly and encouraging bunch and it's lovely to be amongst them.

janevine profile image

Please don’t be put off. It took me ages to get over the idea of strangers seeing me in leggings. I then thought about how little attention we pay when people pass us running, other than to admire their grit. I am the least athletic person but I love it now. You will be so pleased that you started. Good luck .

You really have nothing to lose. There's some great advice on here and I think we have all been where you are in our own environments. The feeling of everyone watching you will pass, I am just trying to remember who I have seen out running today and i cant remember! 😁😁 I'm not a veteran yet, only week 4, but I can safely say I feel I am doing a "good" thing and therefore, one more "good" thing than most. I read on here that there are 3 types of audience for us (And you are one of us) , firstly us "triers" (who will get there), secondly, other runners, who started somewhere and will only be supportive to you and lastly, those who probably think they should be running but aren't and are probably jealous that you have the courage and resolve to strike out and change your life. I hated running before, but weirdly, I can't wait for my next one. Go out and smash it!

Hidden profile image

I can understand your fears. There are unfortunately people out there who aren't always supportive. At our local gym there is a good mix of people and the attitude is entirely different. No matter what brings someone through those doors, they're there doing something to improve their lot, and that is something to be inspired by, not malicious about.

Good luck with your journey, may you go from strength to strength!

runswithdogs profile image

Awesome comes in all sizes. Have a read of this woman that does ultras.

Happy running.

Irish-John profile image

1) At any given point in your run, only you know how far you've already run.

So....get a tee shirt made that reads something like "Death Valley Endurance Race, 2013". You will appear AWESOME :)

2) Focus on routes, times, your pace (slowly does it - and sustained slowness takes concentration, believe me) and whatever you listen to music wise or whatever.

Even when the inevitable jackass - and every one of us has some encounter with the morons - shouts "Run Forrest Run" you'll be to busy to brood on it. Your dedication and detaychment will then also make you look AWESOME :)

3) Instead of thinking about what they are thinking - think this.

"I care more about the shape I'm achieving by running than I do about the shape I am right now!" - and then envision the jeerers dying a slow agonising death in the Cardiac unit while you continue in life in tip top health. :)

4) At it's worst, realisemost of us dont make changes in our life until the pain of continuing as we are outweighs the pain of changing.

You run for you....not to either please or placate or guard against anyone else. Screw the morons who might be negative - it's THEIR problem they are ignorant asshats. YOUR problem was you got sick of the Couch life and are now doing something about it that is not easy - and that, my running friend, really does make you genuinely awesome ☺

Wishing you many happy miles in your future.

Flowell profile image
FlowellGraduate in reply to Irish-John

So getting that T-shirt!

Irish-John profile image
Irish-JohnGraduate in reply to Flowell

I was given a t-shirt after an Archeological conference/ 1169 AD battleground field trip that was an unintended " You might want to pause before you mess with me" masterpiece.

The slogan reads "I have been where Men fought"

I kid you not, it got more wary glances recently than the authentic Special Forces tee shirt a retired Army Colonel friend was wearing at a recent BBQ :)

Trying to make sense - or even believing it's actually sensible - of what people are thinking about you by trying to think what they are thinking is just too bizarre really when you think about it.:) Personally I do not believe in ESP or anything like it - but I sure can waste a lot of time wondering how people see me if I'm not aware that's what I'm trying to do LOL.

Read back through the early posts when us Grads were new - I don't care what size anyone is, if they go out for the second run they fit in here perfectly, and if they just keep on, slow and steady one run at a time, soon enough they too will be passing on all the wisdom us Grads were given along the way :)

You might run on your own, but with the Forum you never run alone :)

Jell6 profile image
Jell6Graduate in reply to Irish-John

You are a wise man Irish-John 😊

Irish-John profile image
Irish-JohnGraduate in reply to Jell6

Thank you Jell5.

runswithdogs profile image
runswithdogsGraduate in reply to Irish-John

Hahaha. #1 is so true. I ran into some of my OH's chums about 5 minutes into a run near my workplace. I was already sweaty and puffing. They asked if I had run from home 18+km away. I just gave a non-committal grunt and carried on my way.

Irish-John profile image
Irish-JohnGraduate in reply to runswithdogs

Doin' it the IJ-way 😂😂😂

lexi6 profile image

Please, please, please do it. I did the c25k over a year ago running around my house, garden and driveway because I was so self conscious and when I completed the course, (I had lurked on this site and never posted anything) I didn’t know about the “graduate” badge, so felt no sense of achievement or pride. Cue, January 2018 I did it again, outside this time and graduated in April and I have just recently run for 7km, on ju ju’s bridge to 10k again thanks to this site. The support you will get from the administrators and other runners on here is amazing. I’m 65 years old, still get a red face and still wobble, but what c25 has done to my confidence and self esteem is immeasurable Put your cap, on, stick your ear buds in and have a go. It could be life changing. All the best 👍

JoOnTheRun profile image

I think you are being very brave and, in my experience, you really don’t have anything to worry about. Whenever I have been out running, I’ve always been met by encouraging smiles from fellow runners, walkers etc. I think you’ll find yo’ll gain the respect of others, rather than negativity. Go for it! You are doing this for you, nobody else matters. Good luck x

Jell6 profile image

Whatever our size, it does make you self conscious when you are out there in your running gear.

If I see larger people out running, I am always impressed.

I do go early (before 06.00) benefits are it's cooler, less traffic, less people.

You don't have to be wearing tight clothes. I started in March and had several layers, including long pants.

Only you will be focussed on you, everyone else will only give you a passing glance.

Well done for starting, enjoy it 🤩

Fabulous450 profile image

Ooh my goodness don’t get me started surfing_electron! People suffer this anxiety for many reasons. It’s a bit like public speaking! Well, I’d prefer public speaking actually than running outside or running full stop! An absolute doddle in my comparisons! I had started in the gym thinking there’s no way I’ll be letting the public see me making a fool of myself. Then my car broke down unexpectedly after R1! No way of getting there, so decision time. I thought I’d be stared at, laughed at and maybe even jeered (my own horror stories), but it was the most amazing feeling, having faced that fear, in rush hour too and not only survived, I have a new car now and I’ve never been back to run on the treadmill again. Maybe in the winter! I love being outdoors and it’s on my own doorstep every day! Not bad!

You’re not alone with those little gremlins telling you you can’t do this, because you can!! You might want to try a gym, but the most important thing is you have made this amazing decision to do something good for yourself and I’m sure you more than deserve this. We are here to remind you of that too! Go for it and just decide to have fun!! I’m far too busy laughing at myself to worry about anyone laughing at me and other people are far too busy thinking I wish I was brave enough to do that! Frankly I just don’t care anymore!! That’s a long way and a great feeling! It’s a win, win! ❤️❤️

Gilly0410 profile image

All these posts are spot on. I was very self conscious when I started, but soon realised that people are far too busy going about their lives. Before I started the program, I would admire people whatever their age, size, speed etc as they were doing 100% more than I was. Go for it, get your headphones on, listen to the encouragement from your coach and try to enjoy it. Good luck 🍀😘

Hi, don’t worry about the occasional moron, I think you’ll find far more people are supportive than aren’t. 🙂

You’ll find a lot of support on here, so put your earphones in, get running and keep posting! 😀

Thank you everyone! I bit the bullet and put on my running shoes this morning to do my 1st C25K run, powering through with my 80s workout mix. It was a glorious day and I got a couple of waves and a thumbs up from some other runners, which was lovely. :)

Yaaaaaaay that's fab news. Very brave of you. You can do this!

See if I saw you I would think good on you! But I guess not everyone is like that. Most people have no idea how hard it is. Sending love. Xxxx

Hi I am morbidly obese for my height and ageand I am just about to go on w4 r1. Yes me the person who doesn’t like exercise who has never run in her life. I will be 50 next July and just wanted to turn this around. I don’t give a shit what people think of me when I’m out. I put my headphones on and I’m lost in my own little world for 1/2 an hour. I will be honest I think people are more bothered what they look like and live them selves to be worried about the likes of us.

When I have made eye contact with people out they seem to have the look of “good for you girl”

Just keep your head up look right ahead of you and get that music on.

You will feel amazing when your done. I have now started to loose weight too. 🤭

One foot in front of the other ... one step at a time. Love yourself and believe xxx good luck xxx

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