When I first started running, I had a lot of mental barriers to getting myself out there.
I had thought about running outdoors before, but the fears seemed to prevent me from taking my first step.
It can be so daunting when you’re first starting out, especially if there’s a lot of people and cars about. Here are some of the worries I had and how I overcome them.
What if I look stupid running.
If you’ve never ran before, you’re probably not going to feel like it’s natural for you to do so. Runners call the way they run their form, and you should find your form by doing what feels comfortable. Everyone runs differently and I’ve heard and read of people that run with their legs kicking slightly outwards, waddling, but still being able to run as fast as anyone else.
You’ll feel stupid. But that’s because it’s not a usual thing for you. The more you run, the easier it will get.
I find putting my headphones in and forgetting the world really helps. Chances are, we’ll never see these people again and humans are always far too concerned with the opinions of those that don’t matter to us.
What if I have to stop and walk.
It’s okay to stop and walk for a bit, even the most experienced runners do it. There might be many reasons for you to stop – after going up a fill, after interval training.
It’s common for me to have rest, usually at the half way point I’ll stop for a minute or so, check my time and catch my breath. Then I turn around and run the rest of the way.
It’s likely that you will have to stop and/or walk on the first run and that’s fine.
I always tell myself that nobody knows how far I’ve run, so it doesn’t matter. For all they know, I’ve just ran 10 miles and need a bit of a break before running another 10. So who cares if I have to stop and walk for a bit!
What if I run out of liquid.
I take out a 750ml bottle of water with me. That’s fine for the type of running I do and sometimes I come back with over half left – but it’s nice to have it just in case. I’ve read that you don’t even need to have water unless you run over an hour, but I prefer to have some with me regardless.
If I’m going longer than 5 miles, I’ll pop a few pounds in my pocking so I can get another drink if I need to. I’ve only ever had to go into a shop and get more liquid twice – once on a 10 mile run and once on a 7 mile run.
What if I pass out.
There are times when I’ve felt dizzy when running but I’ve never passed out or had to stop. The trick is to know your limits and if you don’t feel great, then you need to stop and rest or slow down your pace.
What if it hurts too much.
If you have the right running shoes, it shouldn’t hurt at all. The only pain I get is sometimes the day after if I don’t stretch properly.
It doesn’t really hurt when I’m out. Mostly.
When I want to stop, I just ask myself how my legs are feeling and how my chest is feeling – they’re usually fine and there’s no reason for me to stop. Time to push through!
I have no idea how fast I should run?
Run at the pace you feel comfortable. You should still be able to hold a conversation when running, if you can’t and you are panting too much, then slow down a little.
How far should I go?
I would recommend going out for about 30 minutes to start with. Run and walk as you please.
On my first run, I did about 3 miles. I stopped and walked 4 or 5 times. Then I would do the same 3 mile route but give myself different markers that told me when I could stop, until I could run the whole 3 miles without stopping at all.
Find a route that is around 2.5 miles, find your pace and give it a go.