The chances are, when you started running, your goal was simple - run more, walk less. Inevitably, as you progress, you expect more from yourself. But some runners avoid stepping up the intensity, citing a range of anxieties. Here's how to free yourself of your worries and enjoy the next phase of your life as a runner.
I want to enter a race, but I'm afraid I'll be last
Most community events attract recreational walkers - so sorry, the last-place position has already been taken. Ask your runner friends or the staff at local running stores about which races are the most fun for a beginner - these are the ones that attract runners of all abilities and a large crowd of cheering supporters.
When I race, everyone seems faster than me
There will always be runners who speed past you in a race; as long as you finish within the allotted time, it doesn't matter how fast you run (or walk) the course.
I feel stuck in my comfort zone. How will I ever get faster?
Once a week, run intervals. First warm up, then pick up the pace for one minute (but don't sprint), then walk for two minutes. Start with three or four of these accelerations. Add one or two intervals each week until you can do eight to 10.
I'm worried I'll hurt myself if I go faster
If you gradually increase your speed and distance, and incorporate sufficient walk breaks and rest days, there's little chance you'll suffer an injury.
I thought I'd eventually be able to run without walking
Running continuously doesn't have to be your goal. Most runners find that taking walk breaks throughout their runs results in faster times and more overall enjoyment. If your goal is simply to run faster and feel good, it's often best to use some form of run/walk strategy.