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5 Tips: Is Being Self-Conscious Holding You Back?

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

Are you self-conscious about running in public? 5 Tips for runners to overcome being self-conscious

"Danger wide load" self conscious runner

Some people love running, while others despise it but do it anyway. Ask yourself, is your weight holding you back. Do you feel self-conscious about running in public because of your body, or you'll look slow, or silly? Certainly understandable if you don't want others to see you struggle. Do you loath your friends who enjoy getting " the runners high", or say running is therapy and it helps to clear their minds? All the while you think to yourself, I hate every step because my muscles hurt, or I feel like I can’t suck in enough oxygen to stop my lungs from burning.

Just like you, I have asked myself, "why on earth would anyone ever want to do this?"

Well, to answer that question, running is a great way to lose those excess pounds and keep them off. So, let's get into it, starting one step at a time! The first time is always the most challenging.

Take the first step

5 Tips for runners to overcome being self-conscious

This is about overcoming your fears and understanding this is a process. Don't be worried about what other people might think. Think positively. Focus on you. Be proud that you are overcoming your fear, getting out there, and reap the positive benefits.

Note: Before starting any type of exercise, you should meet with your doctor. Make sure your doctor gives you the thumbs up before starting any physical activities. Maybe suggest to your doctor getting a full bloodwork panel done to establish a baseline.

Got the all-clear?


Now What?

2. Running Attire

What does your current workout attire look like? Does it need an update? Feeling comfortable in the clothes you are going to be running in can make all the difference. It can help you overcome being self-conscious. Here are some things to consider when shopping for athletic clothes. Start by getting yourself some comfortable running (workout) clothes. You don’t have to spend a fortune on the latest wicking quick dry name brand products. Have you considered compression gear? You should. It offers support, breathability and prevents chaffing. Now the most important thing when it comes to running is protecting your feet. Get a good pair of shoes. A local running store can help educate and advise you on what running shoes to get.

TIP: It’s not about the name brand it's about the fit. Don’t buy something because it worked for a friend. Find what works for you.

3. Start Walking

Now that you got your gear, it's time to move on to the next step.

When is the last time you went for a run? If you can’t remember then it's time to make walking a part of your everyday routine. This is a great way to build up your endurance and strength that is low impact. We are simply getting your body ready to run. This could be nerve-racking for some, as it's your first time or you are getting back out there. Having a walking buddy can help. Build up confidence and motivation.

DID YOU KNOW: To burn off a plain M&M candy, you would need to walk the length of a football field.

red m&m

For your first week, walk three to four days, for 20 to 30 minutes. For your second week walk three or four times for 45 to 60 minutes. When you can complete 60 minutes at a brisk pace comfortably you should be ready to run. Don’t be in a rush though, if you need to take another week or two of just walking to build up that confidence go ahead. When you are ready to take it to the next level, do intervals. Short bursts of running/jogging during your session. Set a goal, run/jog to the mailbox, walk to the next and keep switching off. When that gets easy, make the distance longer. Run the distance of two mailboxes, walk to the next one and keep switching off.

Tip: Seek out a coach that can build you a program that incorporates a running/walk methodology.

Warm-up and cooldown?

Start with a 10-minute warmup to get the body ready, the blood flowing and the mind prepared. Once you get warmed up you can jog. Maybe 20 to 30 seconds at a conversation pace (a pace you can comfortably talk). Keep it slow and steady as you alternate it with 20 to 30 seconds of a slow walk. Repeat for 20 minutes and finish with a well-earned cooldown. As you get stronger increase the jogging time.

remember to stay hydrated

4. Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition

All the exercise in the world won't help without a well-balanced diet. Again discuss a plan with a certified nutritionist or your doctor. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Turns out mom was right about this one. Don’t forget to drink, drink, drink. Stay hydrated!!

TIP: Numerous studies show that water helps with weight loss.

5. Strength training is your secret weapon

If you want to jump-start that metabolism, shed pounds, and get stronger, resistance training is the way to go. I won’t go into great detail here but a strong body helps you run and walk faster. Muscle helps burn fat along with numerous other benefits. Working with a trainer or a Physical Therapist will go a long way to getting you on the right track.

Note: If you are interested in working with a Physical Therapist send us a message. Laura has over 25 years of experience working with professional, amateur, weekend warriors as well as those just starting.

What to take away from this

We all started somewhere. I still remember the first time I went for a run and all the overwhelming feelings I had at that time. But I followed these 5 steps, and it got me to where I am today. I still struggle with the process of getting out the door sometimes. Even seasoned runners have their ups and downs. They struggle with diet, burnout, injuries, and yes even self-doubt. You are not alone or only the person who has these thoughts, feelings, and doubts.

Don’t let obstacles stand in your way. They are there to make us stronger, challenge us and build confidence.

Self-conscious runner running to be slim

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