Does the idea of running outside make you anxious?
Well… you are not alone.
Many beginners feel self-conscious about running outside. And a lot of experienced runners had gone through the same when they started.
Let’s look at the reasons why the idea of running in public may seem embarrassing:
What People Will Think
The main reason beginners are scared of running outside is the fear of being judged.
You may ask yourself, “What people will think about me?” I have never done this before and I must look weird. People will make fun of me.
Now… let me ask you a question. What do YOU think when you see someone running?
Do you judge them? And spend hours-after-hours thinking about them?
I bet you don’t. You may think (if at all) about them for a while and then just move on to your own business.
That’s the whole point. Nobody really cares. And most will forget you almost immediately after seeing you. They will just move on to whatever they were doing.
On a positive note, some may look at you and think – Wow, look at that guy/girl. I wish I could do that as well. Maybe I’ll start running… someday…
And if someone does think negatively about you. Let them. It’s their problem, not yours. You shouldn’t care at all.
What Other Runners will Think
As for the runners, they are great. The running community is awesome and very supportive. So if you meet runners on your way, you may get a thumbs up or a smile… and sometimes you will just get ignored as you are invisible.
Many experienced runners start running quite late in their lives. They know how hard it is to get started. It requires some serious determination. And they respect it.
Personally, it delights me to see other runners on my way. I have a lot of respect for anyone stepping out on the roads – making their lives better.
Related: How to Overcome Anxiety About Running in Public (5 Simple Tips)
5 Tips to Boost Your Confidence as a Runner
1. Start Early in the Morning
Start running before sunrise. There will be fewer people on the road. And the ones that you’ll see, will most probably be out for a walk, jog or run.
As you continue to run early in the mornings, your runs will get longer. Your fitness will improve and so will your confidence. And it won’t take you too long to be comfortable.
Plus, it’s a great way of starting your day. You’ll feel energetic throughout the day.
2. Find a Running Partner or a Group
If you have friends or family members who are willing to join you, run with them. Or if you like to socialize, find a running group near you.
Running with like-minded people will make it a lot easier for you.
Related: Tips for Beginner Runners: Start Running the Right Way
3. Get Some Running Gear
It gets a whole lot better when you run in proper running shoes and clothes.
Running shoes are the most important piece of running gear that you’ll need. They are more comfortable and help you avoid injuries.
And the clothes suitable for running have moisture-wicking properties. And you’ll feel quite comfortable running in them.
Additionally, running in bright colored clothes is good for safety. You can be easily spotted by drivers.
Oh, and the pictures you’ll take – look awesome!
4. Learn to Run the Right way
You may worry about how you look while running.
So learn the basics of good running form. Not just to look good, but it will help you avoid injuries. And you will become more energy efficient.
5. Participate in Running Events
Sign up for a race and prepare yourself for an amazing experience.
It feels great to see runners of all sorts. Runners dressed in colorful clothes and shoes. The dancing before the event. People cheering you during the race. The fantastic energy all around. It just feels awesome.
You’ll get pumped up… And hungry for more.
Participating in running events will definitely give you a confidence boost.
But What if You Actually Have to Face Harassment?
Unfortunately, some runners face harassment. People may honk at you or make an offensive comment. It is rare but, it can happen depending on the area you live in.
Some people have a bad attitude. They are just terrible.
Just ignore them. And if such chances are high in your area, avoid running on lonely roads.
Know that you are better than them. And you’ll do great injustice to yourself if you stop because of them.
Remember why you are running in the first place. Not for those idiots. But to make yourself better.
So get out there. Be safe. Run…
…and most importantly, have fun!
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