Self Conscious Newbie

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08/09/2012 at 22:19


I am just starting out hoping to follow the couch 2 5k plan. I am overweight (nay, technically obese ) with a BMI of 32 and have lost 1stone 8lbs in the last 8 weeks following Slimming World. Determined to keep losing and get fit which is why I'm trying to learn to run. 

My problem is this - I'm big and I know it, I feel horrifically self conscious and when I do go out in public trying to run I feel like people are staring at me or that every person I pass is sniggering/dying to burst out laughing at the sight of me and my big red chops wheezing along. I've had lorry drivers honk their horns at me as they pass before which has made me feel worse. 

I've tried to get up really early to run so that not as many people would see me, but I'm not a morning person at all and keep sleeping in! 

I'm probably being paranoid I know, but does anyone have any advice on how I can get over this and get out there without giving a hoot who sees me ? 

08/09/2012 at 22:40

There is no easy way if you are self conscious but if it is any consolation the lorry drivers and other road users  beep and holler at all runners nothing to do with size so it's not personal.

As your running keep telling yourself that every mile is helping you to lose weight and you are probably fitter than most of the idiots beeping.

Well done on your weight loss and don't let them get you down. Most people who look are probably admiring you for your effort. I know that's what I think when I see peeps out running...

08/09/2012 at 23:11

Congrats on your weight loss to date! Can't really help other than to agree with Flo and try and turn it round so your thnking they are actually encouraging you. Think of how you will feel (and look) a year from now, and that all this hard work will pay off in time

09/09/2012 at 07:20

Just remind yourself that every runner was a beginner once - and I've certainly never forgotten how it felt to be a beginner!

09/09/2012 at 09:46
Depending where you live and your schedule, how does running at night sound, if you can't do early mornings? but really I agree with above sentiments, good for you to do something about weight loss. I especially like kittencats mantra!
09/09/2012 at 09:59


im kinda in the same position i have losted nearly 4st since march, i did a 5k in july in just under 47mins but mainly walking very fast, i keep trying running but admit i am not very good at pacing myself and feel to self conscious to join a club because of my shift patterns a nd family commitements but so far this weekend one morning i walked 3miles and another i walked 4miles but have signed up to do my first 10k in november and when i see that some people can do these at the same time i did the 5k thing i need to do something, just my brain or self consciousness stops me.....keep going and hopefully will get there!!!! p.s i think i need to adopt kittenkats mantra to

09/09/2012 at 11:03

Well done on getting started - and a couple of points.

- If you're on a run and someone is walking / driving past you, then you're the one doing something healthy, they should have a go.

- When I started, I thought all the other runners thought I was a tubby lad and should get off the path. Now I've been doing it for a while, I realise that when I see someone getting started, and looking like it's hard work, I think "go on there, well done".


09/09/2012 at 11:05

Hi tillie, I feel the same as you, as I'm a newbie to.

09/09/2012 at 11:18

what is it your traing for tillie? hope ok to ask. I'm hoping to continue through tbhe winter, hoping to run a half marathon, sometime around March April next year.

09/09/2012 at 11:22
I've had a load of unfit looking football fans chant 'Run fat boy run' at me. Also, I've had some people throw half empty cans of coke at me whilst running, so try not to take it personally.

As others have said, try and use it as an extra motivation and think to yourself that you're doing something to make yourself fitter than the people taunting you. Recognise also that it could be jealousy in their part.

Well done for starting on learning to run. You're doing the right thing as in my experience running is the best way (along with a good overall diet) to help get into shape.

Good luck!
09/09/2012 at 11:25

I just read your thread properlyand I hope the the threads I'm placing is not too much? I understand totally where your coming from. I'm 13st 6lb, and I too get the comments etc.

Trying to jog in the morning is a great idea. But that takes time, the more you stick to learning to run, you may find that you want get up erlier for your run, as you will have more energy to do more activities.

If you feel you need to sound off go for it if it helps,

Your not alone in what you feel.

09/09/2012 at 11:46

Do you have any friends that you can run with? I'm 15 stone and sure i look awful plodding along but do i care? no, i have a goal in mind and i am working towards that. Don't give in. Keep it up and you will be feeling amazing in no time. 

Pethead    pirate
09/09/2012 at 14:44

I'm sure it doesn't matter what size or shape you are, I look like a runner and occasionally go quite fast, and people still beep horns, shout "Run forest run" and "pick them knees up" and other unhelpful things.
Just relax about it - you're a runner, they're quite clearly not running, just rise above and tune it out! Other runners, cyclists, dog walkers etc. are far more respectful.

09/09/2012 at 16:21

I used to be very self conscious but then a friend pointed out that if it is other runners/cyclists/walkers that see you they are either too busy doing their run/walk/ride or worrying about what they look like to really notice. If they are not runners/walkers/cyclers you can just feel smug!


09/09/2012 at 17:09
Hi. I started running with a bmi over 35 basically, just go for it I tried to run in relatively quiet areas when I started.

To be honest you will find like I did it was my personal hang up that was the only problem. I think I was sniggered at once and that's it.

BMI now 27.x and I feel darn good when our running it's down to self confidence and trust me it gets better with time, just be brave go out the door, and once you have done that you have it cracked.
09/09/2012 at 18:30

I know what you mean about feeling self-conscious Tillysue, but my advice would be to turn up your music really loud and then you won't hear if people are saying anything at you, and you certainly won't care! That's what I do. It also helps you pretend you're in a movie or something, which is good for inspiration. But also after biting the bullet and having run outside several times now, I can assure you that people really aren't looking at you as much as you think they are - people are very self-absorbed and honestly most people probably won't even notice you, joggers (of all shapes and sizes) are so common these days. Good luck!

09/09/2012 at 19:19

Well done for getting out there. It's more than most are doing. I can sympathise with your feelings of being self conscious. Keep at it. It will get easier 

10/09/2012 at 05:45

Hey everyone thanks for your replies, they've really helped. Especially using kittenkats mantra of fuck'em haha 

I got up and out today and managed to complete my first day of week 4 c25k. I felt so good at the end of it I even repeated week 1 afterwards. I couldn't sleep so managed to get out very early for once which helps as it's not too busy - the only thing on the road at that time where I live is early morning delivery lorries. 

Every time one came along I just dipped my head and hid under my scoopy cap lol. Still felt the self consciousness but not to the same extent - before if anything came along the road I would stop running until it had passed. Today I managed to keep going Feeling pleased! 

Thanks again  

10/09/2012 at 16:24

Keep at it Tillysue.  My experience has been similar.  I started my journey from around 17 stone (qas too scared to weigh myself) at the back end of April; I started running again 6 or so weeks ago when i got to 15 and a half stone.  When I first started plodding I'd only go out first thing or when darkness was falling as I kept getting the local yooof taking the piss.

Starting to ignore it now, head down, headphones in just listening to music and the 'ping RUN' from the C25K app.

A key driver for me ignoring folk us to see what their reaction is when I'm not slowly waddling up the road, but gliding gracefully once I've progressed.  I'm guessing I may become invisible to them

10/09/2012 at 17:02

Keep at it TS - picture your future self thanking you (ideally weeping with gratitude, but in a Oscar-acceptance kind of way ) for all the work you are putting in now. Sometimes it's easier to brave things if you are doing them for other people... you're doing this for an older person (your older self!).

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