Couch to 5K
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I just can't bring myself to run outside! Help!!!

I have been hovering around Week 2 for a while now and my next run, after having had a break this week, will be Week 3, run 1.

I have been doing this on the treadmill, but the longer the runs get, the more boring it is becoming for me. My intention was to get up to a certain level of fitness on the treadmill, over the winter months, then start running outside in Spring, when my running is more efficient and I am less Dumbo and more Bambi-esque.

I see runners outside and secretly I wish I could be one of them. They seem so agile and graceful. When I run outside I feel (at 33 lbs overweight) heavy and ungainly, and incredibly self-conscious. This embarrassment is the main reason I won't run outside at the moment. Other reasons - it's cold, wet and miserable, dog poo, squidged slugs, broken pavements, random wheelie bins and recycling tubs strewn across pavement. (But of course these "reasons" could just be excuses - and I could run in my local park)

I did start my runs outside in the park, sporadically (and with my husband in tow), and repeated two Wk 1 runs on my own in the park, and one Wk 2 in the streets where I live. I enjoyed the park runs more, but felt uncomfortable breaking into a run when there was someone walking past me, in front of me, or behind me! Totally irrational I know but there it is!

In the gym, I am less self-conscious, probably because I don't feel like I am the most unfit person in there! I do a bit of weights, then my treadmill run. BUT..... as I said before, it is getting a bit boring now, and travelling without actually arriving somewhere is starting to do my head in a bit - you miss out on the thrill of covering a certain distance from point A to point B, taking in some scenery along the way, having fresh air!

Lately I have also been wondering whether the treadmill is actually "proper" running, since I do not feel as though I am propelling myself forwards in the same way as outside and when I do run outside, I find it much more challenging.

Anyway I am stuck on the threshold of Wk3. Help me to get out of the house please!!

12 Replies

I have a little trick that I use to help my self-consiousness when running outside. Sunglasses! Yes, even in dull weather I wear them. When I run with sunglasses on, miraculously, I feel like I'm in my own little bubble and it avoids eye contact with passers-by.

Hope you manage to overcome this and get outside into the park. I, for one, love running outdoors in the fresh air and would also be bored to death on a treadmill. Everyone is different, but that's me. I don't even run to music, i just love the sights and sounds of being outside. Good luck on Week 4!


Once you have got out there, then that's the main hurdle over and done with. We were all the same the first time we ventured outside, I know I was! I used to go very early in the morning to try and avoid anyone seeing me but there were always dog walkers or other runners about. I soon realised that no one is judging me and if anything they would give supportive nods of acknowledgement. It's much more fun to run outdoors. Harder apparently, but more rewarding I would imagine (never did treadmill). Take the plunge, you won't regret it!

1 like

I put on a woolly hat, earphones in and then put my head down when I'm approaching anyone. My thinking is, if I can't see them then hopefully they can't see me! I think I'd find a treadmill a huge bore as well and end up losing interest. Go on, have a go outside.

I'm about to do W1R3 tonight, (so hardly an expert at running outside) it'll be dark and cold but then my reckoning is, if I keep at it over the winter then come the spring I should be confident enough to run in daylight :-)


Thanks! I will try. he hat and sunglasses actually sound like a good idea I have just done myself a timetable that involves running TO the gym, doing my weights, then walk/run back. So I get the best of both worlds. The gym is 1.9 miles from my house, which gives me time to do the early weeks of C25k before needing to alter my route. The route is also slightly hilly in places, which means a bit more of a challenge. If I can measure my success in terms of my ability to eventually run all the way to the gym non-stop, I will have achieved something, I think (and will be just over halfway to running 5k).


Hi. I totally agree with the replies above. Honestly really try and get out there. You might be running on your own but your not alone - we all feel the same, same confidence issues, same paranoia but you really can overcome it. I am 5st overweight and am moving onto week 3 tommorrow and can't wait, I do two runs in the week under cover of darkness, although I have just bought a high viz running jacket from Aldi (previously thought I'd rather be run over than be seen bouncing along the pavement!) and do the other on a Saturday afternoon.

I would have never thought I would have had the guts to do this but I just bit the bullet and thought NO I am worth this, I am worth getting out there and doing this no matter who is looking. I am doing this to get fitter, slimmer and happier and if people are so offended by the sight of me they can look away can't they - have to say that this has not happened so far and doubt it will. I'm with isabella123; lets get this done in these dark wintery months then come spring we'll all be more Bambi-esque!! You really can do it :) x


Absolutely Brilliant and perfectly said!!!


Hiya mummyluvsyoo!!

I felt exactly the same as you - until i took the plunge and got out there. Im only up to my third run in week one but I started when it got that little bit darker earlier (so Im out at about half six) but there was still people about, cars and street lights on - for safety. However, I felt that as it was getting dark even though they could see me coming in my luminous jacket and hear me coming because of my clompy feet and gasps for breaths - they couldn't really "see" me because it was dark! The couldn't see the pain on my face and how red it was!

I dont think anyone I know around where I live would recognise me because of my day glow clothes and my hat.

its working so far!!

and actually, Im passing other runners who give me the knowing nod, other people cycling giving me the knowing nod and even other "normal" people who smile and I swear half appreciate the hard work I look like Im putting in!

I agree with our fellow C25Kers - once you're out, head down (watching for slugs....) and plugged in to Laura, you're too busy trying to do walk and run and breathe to worry about what and who's around you.

On my second run Wednesday, i changed my route which took me up a slight hill and I was running admiring all the twinkly lights on the hills surrounding where i live. Amazing!!

so, what Im trying to say is, please, just get out there give it a go. What you got to lose apart from inches and stones, and what you got to gain apart from pride, fitness and a massive smile!!

:-) Ali


Great suggestions above, to add a few more points:

1) Those graceful runners probably weren't so graceful when they started.

2) If you look carefully you'll see not all of them are graceful... :-P

3) The first time another runner greets you you will probably be on cloud 9. I know I was.

4) Think how proud you will be when someone you know says "I saw you out running today & you looked really fit - this is just about guaranteed at some point.

Think positive & be proud. :-)


I'm almost the opposite to you! I've been running outside for the past 6-7 weeks, but had my first ever treadmill run today. I much prefer running outdoors - the variety and fresh air makes a big difference to me. Where I live, there are various public footpaths that go along the edges of fields, so I normally run along them to try and keep away from public sight. The thing is, various people have commented to me over the past few weeks that they've seen me running - and they clearly haven't gone blind from the shock! - so I'm getting over that fear, and holding fast to the thought that I'm doing this for ME, not for what other people think, so there! :P

The only trouble with outside is the lack of light at 6.30am - hence the treadmill today. I'm tired of running up and down the high street of our little village as it's the only area that has any light; but 20-30 mins on the treadmill isn't going to keep me interested. I might be alternating dark & indoor runs when necessary through the winter.

So yes, brave the outdoors! :)


I feel more encouraged - thanks for all your comments. That is just what I needed. It has come to this really - the treadmill is so boring that either I run outside or not at all. I hope I can look back at this post this time next year after a few 5k races and chuckle to myself about how silly I was.


I wish that I had more to add, but I think that the responses above are right on the mark!! Leyther1's answer is nothing short of brilliant!!


Keep Running! (Outside!!) :-)



prior to this programme I ran in the gym and like you, found it super boring. I only started running outside because I didn't have an option - and oh my goodness, i would never go back.

I have to say that i don't think most people even register what other people look like, they are too involved in thier own run/goals/breathing..

Just go for it - and i bet once you have done it it won't be an issue again.

Good luck!


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