I want to start running, but I'm not in great shape and I'm afraid people are going to judge me. How do I get over this?
It’s great that you’ve decided to start running. Tell yourself not to worry about what others think, and be proud of your decision. It’s more likely people will be impressed by your motivation, and I’m sure many non-runners will be wishing they could muster the same determination. Even experienced runners had to start somewhere and they would have felt those same anxieties.
The first few times may feel daunting, so persevere and give yourself time to gain confidence. Focus on the positives, such as the huge benefits to your physical and mental health. To begin with, build confidence by running early in the morning or evening, when there are fewer people around. Running with a friend will help – perhaps you could even persuade another new runner to take up the challenge with you. Wear clothing that you feel comfortable in, as well as a good pair of running shoes.
The great thing is that running is such an inclusive sport. Go along to a parkrun and you’ll see people of all abilities running together, sharing their passion and encouraging each other. If taking part seems a big step, you could just watch at first, and you’ll see that runners are a friendly lot. There are plenty of welcoming beginner groups, too.
As you start your journey, build up your running gradually to allow your body to adapt. The Couch to 5K app helps beginners to build up sensibly. Having a goal with progression steps along the way will help keep you motivated. I’m sure you’ll soon wonder what you were concerned about as your enjoyment and sense of achievement outweigh any worries.