Just go for it. If your form is the issue joining a running group or attending a local running clinic for beginners can be a great way to change the way you run. I attended a running clinic at my local gym and they made great suggestions to adjust my gait.
If you are interested, I encourage you to GO FOR IT! I know when someone steps on the treadmill next to me and knocks out the same distance in 1/2 the time, I'm sheepish. I know that I'm literally dripping with sweat and look like a mess, but when I'm done, I can brag to myself all day that I did it.
As far as the "looking funny" doing it, I couldn't help but remember this episode of Friends. (The clip is 1:39)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
9,047 9/7/13 4:28 P
Best wishes to you as you strive to overcome your fears With dedication and determination you will achieve One day at a time Love Prayers Peace Bernice
Try running at a well-known and well-used park where other walkers and runners are. Like some of the posters stated, no one will be paying attention to your pace or your running style. Another suggestion is to maybe look for a beginners' running group in your hometown. One of my running buddies said she started last year at the YMCA with a running program and running group. Try to shake off those past memories (I know easier said than done), but you will be amazed at how far you come if you just go out and do you! You can do this! So, go do it with no fear!
Fitness Minutes: (4,233)
6 9/6/13 10:11 A
I just started running. Have lost about 60 pounds since October 2012. I have signed up for my first 2 5K walk/runs. The first one is Sept 21st. Will be walking this one with a friend, as he doesn't run and then Oct 26th, will be my first one that I will run. Right now, I am running a mile and have almost 2 months to get up to 3 miles. I have started slow. I also run right now with my dog, Baxter who loves to run so he pushes me to run just a little farther each time. Start slow, as slow and steady wins the race....
Fitness Minutes: (13,511)
219 9/6/13 1:07 A
how other people might judge me was a major factor in why I didn't exercise for so long!! Now I just hope to save my pennies enough to buy some proper running shoes - I feel ready to run but I know my joints will hate me without the right gear :)
I do support the idea of picking a race to be a goal to build towards, but Garrie - I have to say very strongly DO NOT PICK A MARATHON. It can take years to build up the muscular skeletal adaptions to run that distance. Start small - look at 5Ks. The point is to enjoy running, not go too fast (or far) too soon and injure yourself.
I am only running very short distances at the time these days but it is still good.
Fitness Minutes: (26,448)
351 9/5/13 11:42 A
Is there a running club nearby? Ask at running stores, typically the small mom and pop shops would know, more than the big stores that just have sales staff. I'm thinking maybe the support of other runners, especially if they have a beginner's group would be immensely helpful. Also if there is something wrong with stride, they would know.
Also I am too very shy about being in public. I find going out at off peak times helps. I've only encountered a few folks that were also walking/running/biking and they only just offered polite friendly greetings since they were doing the same thing--being active-like i was. I never thought anyone passing by or spoke to me was funny looking so I am thinking that never crossed other's mind about me-why else would they have said hi if I was weird?
Fitness Minutes: (4,418)
278 9/5/13 10:47 A
The 'at least I am doing something about it' line works for me. Also... don't think about it, and just do it. Once you start running, you'll care more about the next breath and next step then what the people think about you.
Fitness Minutes: (2,168)
63 9/5/13 10:32 A
I get embarrassed running because I... have a chest. The way I see it, there are two things we need to do here.
1. Take a Zen attitude toward being made fun of. If other people find amusement in you, be grateful they have something to smile about. Acknowledge their small-mindedness, and let their hurtfulness go. Be glad for you the way you are today, because today is the only place we can live.
2. Learn to run in a way that supports our health. When our run is ungainly or out of form, we can hurt ourselves. I don't know the particulars, but I had a trainer once who was training for her first triathlon. One of the coaches she was using told her that her run was out of form. It would cost her not only time, but she could hurt herself because her feet weren't hitting the ground properly. She had exercises she did every day to correct the problem. They weren't strength exercises or anything, but they looked more like a physical therapy routine. She would do a series of these strange, over-dramatic steps. It was designed to force her to walk with her back, hips, feet and all in the proper alignment. Perhaps you can find an article about how to correct your gait? Or speak with a specialist or one of those doctors for athletes? Much more important than what people say about your run is that you aren't putting your body at risk.
Yes, there are many different running styles out there, and you shouldn't necessarily feel compelled to change styles unless you are experiencing problems.
But toe strike does provide much better impact absorption through the muscles in the foot and the natural flexion of the ankle.
Especially as the original poster is a natural toe striker, she shouldn't be giving this up.
Fitness Minutes: (4,553)
327 9/5/13 9:49 A
One other tip that might help you get your mind off what other people are thinking is to sign up for an event, such as a marathon or relay or race. Of course, you will need to give yourself plenty of time to build your strength and endurance, but when you have something to look forward to, you will find that your focus will naturally shift to that goal. You will forget about your perceptions of what others are thinking and you will tune in to your own fitness. Some call it "the zone," and it's a really cool place to be. It makes fitness fun and meaningful.
Fitness Minutes: (4,553)
327 9/5/13 9:40 A
Good point, Lazy_Dave. It IS difficult to run when you're overweight/obese. Personally, I don't run...treadmill or otherwise. It's too hard on my knees and my hip, and it doesn't do me any good to suffer through a 30-40 minute run when cycling or something less intense gives me the same cardio workout. There are just too many options for any of us to feel "stuck" in a routine. Dance is great. Cycling is excellent. Use your imagination, and use SparkPeople to do what they do best...help you succeed.
Folks like to say that buts its not really true. If you look at some pro Marathon runners you'll see a variety of foot strike styles. The best is to do what is natural to you and not force your body into some unnatural gait.
Fitness Minutes: (34,164)
752 9/5/13 9:39 A
Oh, boy can I relate! I'm a very ungraceful runner. I'm fairly athletic but I am a terrible runner. First of all, I don't really enjoy it but I do it because it is one of the best ways to lose and keep weight off. Several people in my family made fun of my stride and my pace but you know what, I've finally learned over the years to just ignore it and now I laugh at myself because I get that I'm not a natural but that's ok with me. I'm out there clocking miles and they are not! What I've discovered is that several of my family members are just voicing their own insecurities by focusing on my faults. Sometimes people just don't like to see others succeed at something - especially if they are struggling with weight / fitness. You are not doing this for them, you are doing it for you!
Over time, you will gain confidence and when you start to see your body change and your endurance build up, you will keep on running! I'm a very self conscious person and it was hard for me to step out of my comfort zone. It is definitely worth it and you will become a motivator for someone else. Keep up the good work and go out and run!
Fitness Minutes: (29,776)
424 9/5/13 9:38 A
Well I'm more of an indoor runner, and I have a treadmill in my home, so it's no problem. You might be better off starting on a treadmill anyway, as outdoor running deals with things like slope and wind resistance. When you start, run for 2 minutes and then walk for one. Do that several times a session. After a week, push it up to 3 minutes, then 5, etc. And be sure to invest in a good pair of running shoes. If you're busty then get a good sports bra as well (that's not much of a problem for me, LOL!). Good luck!
Don't run then, you don't need to do that to lose weight. Weight loss is 90% diet, not exercise. You just can't burn off enough calories unless you are doing a heck of a lot of intense exercise. If you are overweight running probably isnt the the thing to do anyways, try biking outside or the elliptical machine, or just brisk walking.
But as to being self conscious, most folks are that way to some degree or another when at he gym. But the reality is that the vast majority of people at the gym don't pay attention to you and if they do they are impressed to see you there. What I don't like seeing is someone out struggling to run that is very overweight, I know it's too hard on their body. Choose a low impact aerobic activity or just do resistance training for now, that will get your heart rate up also.
Fitness Minutes: (4,553)
327 9/5/13 9:09 A
Gosh, lots of good advice here...some I hadn't thought of, for sure. I have to say that sergeantmajor hit the nail on the head for me...just do it, regardless of your perceptions about what people might be saying or thinking. Just go. Just GO! Your fitness level AND your psyche won't get any better if you don't, and, if you've been yo-yo-ing all of your life, you already know this. Learn something from your years of experience dealing with yourself.
Someone said here...and it's so true...that others are more worried about how THEY look and feel to be concerned with how you look. I have a lot of weight to lose, myself, but frankly, I find myself studying those that are fit and firm when I go to the gym or when I participate in any physical activity. I am impressed with their efforts, and I'm definitely not critical of them. But they all had to start somewhere! I'm not watching the people who are in the same boat I'm in. I try to imagine how I will look someday, and I try hard to not be critical of anyone. It starts with me.
I think families are the worst when it comes to criticism. They all think they're "just joking" and have the right to be extra hard on you because "they love you". Hogwash! Family and friends are the ones who's opinions and viewpoints we trust and respect the most and if hurtful words come from their mouths, it's so much worse. You need to let your family know they have hurt you, since they probably don't even realise.
At both gyms in my town the bank of treadmills is IN FRONT of every other piece of cardio equipment. The treadmills are riiiiiight in the front followed by rows of elyptical trainers, steppers, bikes etc. So it doesn't matter which treadmill I choose (and there's an upstairs and downstairs bank...), I will end up running in front of a whole host of people who won't ever PASS ME!!!
I know my butt and thighs and arms jiggle when I run and I am self-conscious every single time I get on that machine, but I just put my music on and zone out. I keep telling myself that I'm there for me and nobody else. And honestly, if some poor schmuck has nothing better to do than stare at my wobbly bits, that's quite sad for them!
I agree with all the other posters. You are willing and able to get out there and run. Be proud and keep your head high. You'll get far more support than criticism and you'll FEEEEEEL great!
I do also think that a visit to a professional to investigate your gait etc. is a good idea. It might also make you feel better about what you have always perceived as something being "wrong".
Please, please. please never land on anything other than the ball of your foot, heel landings are the way to destroy your ability to run with the injuries that faulty running mechanic will cause. Never let anyone tell you different, that is the natural foot strike when running.
Whenever I am feeling self-conscious about exercising in public, I keep repeating to myself "Yes, but at least I am doing something about it". I haven't had to use this line on anybody, but I feel better knowing I have a retort ready.
As for your family, you are entitled to their support, not their ridicule. So next time someone makes a joke at your expense, tell them about how it makes you feel - perhaps something along the lines of "You all know that I am trying to get fit and healthy, and running is part of that. But it makes me feel really self-conscious when you make jokes about me running, and that makes it harder. I want support from my family, not ridicule. Yes, it looks funny when I run, and heck, I'd probably laugh at me too. Snigger on the inside if you must, but please keep your comments and jokes to yourself, as they are hurtful and unhelpful".
Fitness Minutes: (71,598)
3,032 9/4/13 7:39 P
Online Now • ))
I wonder if there is something wrong with your stride. When I first started running, I realized that my natural tendency was to run on my toes (maybe from years of dance training?) and that I was putting the ball of my foot down first instead of my heels.
I live near the running capitol of the world and there are places here where you can have your stride analyzed. I wonder if a running store near you might offer such services, or if you could get help from a trainer? Could there be videos on YouTube that would be helpful?
It's too bad that your family did a number on you about this. I hope that you will give it a try, and if running doesn't work out, that you will find another exercise that you can enjoy.
I am not sure what you mean when you say you are made fun of when you run but I will make a suggestion to deal with it. Find and experienced runner who will analyze your running technique and coach you to proper running mechanics. Running is not always a natural mechanical act especially as we get older. It seems that somehow we outgrow the ability to run free as we did when children.
Regardless of what others may say or think it is your option to do as you choose and not let others judge you. Do not give personal power to those who have not earned the right.
Fitness Minutes: (49,499)
1,751 9/4/13 11:35 A
If you go out under low light conditions, say at dawn or dusk, you're less likely to be noticed. Be sure to wear a reflective vest, by the way.
Take a path off the main drag. Run through a subdivision where the only beings to take note will be the dogs.
Begin with WALKING. Build up to the run. Less bouncing.
Use the track at the local school off hours. No one will be there.
Run through the path at the local cemetery. The deceased are not judgmental. Cemeteries are beautiful too, like gardens.
Wear loose clothes that breathe and cover the jiggle. Wear a good sports bra for support.
Now, go for a run!
Fitness Minutes: (3,530)
337 9/4/13 11:20 A
Oh and I have to say, I thank God ,every single day of my life that I can use these legs to run..
Fitness Minutes: (3,530)
337 9/4/13 11:01 A
I honestly could care less what others think, I think I run very funny to, but at the end of the run, I feel GREAT!!! and have lost inches. And those that joke are probably sitting on their behinds doing nothing... You are RUNNING, GOOD for YOU!!!!!:]...
Last night I decided to move my run from the treadmill to the park and the hardest thing was getting out of my car and starting the run. I thought I looked stupid with the water belt on. I thought people would make fun of me for being overweight and slow.
The reality is that anyone who does say something to you has bigger problems than you do. Anyone out running doesn't care and is probably silently encouraging you because we love running and are happy when we see other people doing it. We also all secretly believe we look awkward and ridiculous doing it (that's what I've learned by talking to other runners). In my first 5K race, the frontrunners passing me had a lot of encouragement that they offered - telling me to keep pushing, keep it up, that I was doing great.
Out running, I'll often smile and say hi to people I see on the trail a lot. Or the one day, the guy I happened to see about 3 times on the trails.
I've spent a lot of years letting my fear of what other people would think keep me from doing the things I want to do and love to do. I now realize that it wasn't them holding me back, it was me.
I agree with other posters, no one is going to worry about what you look like b/c they're all worrying about what they look like. Just do your thing, hold your head high and be proud of the steps you're taking!!
I have found runners to be one of the most amazingly supportive group of people I've ever associated with. I've never heard a runner make fun of another runner for their pace, their stride, how they look when they're running, how they started, what distance they can run, anything - they just come back to sharing a love for running.
Kids in school can be terribly mean. But unless you're running straight out of the Ministry for Silly Walks, no one will even notice. ;)
Fitness Minutes: (1,977)
12 9/4/13 8:59 A
thank you! I have alot of anxieties being in public that I have had to work on but I just can't get past the working out I'm getting of others I have joined a gym a few times and had a friend to join with me so they could be there with me but they would never seem to be able to go so I would quit the gym now I just use videos from this site and others and my xbox Kinect to exercise at home but I am not getting results which I'm sure is from other bass habits I need to break but this is something I have decided I really want to do I feel if I can do that I can do anything
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
2,246 9/4/13 8:32 A
I can guarantee that anyone around either inside at a gym or outside in a park (wherever you choose to run) will not be the least bit interested in what you're up to. I am by far not the most graceful runner on the street but anytime I pass another runner (or more likely they pass me ;)) its little more than a perfunctory head nod and we head our own ways at our own pace.
Fitness Minutes: (159,372)
10,600 9/4/13 8:05 A
I run in various areas with people of all skill levels. And I think they wouldn't ever pick on you! I think they's respect you for being out there and being active. Yes, you just need to take that leap of faith. And remember, school kids and family members can sometimes be overly cruel.
Fitness Minutes: (804)
55 9/4/13 8:00 A
Ok, so I'll be honest with you here.... I have had some major hurdles (mentally) that I had to get over before I could start exercising in public, I won't get into all of them on your post BUT I will say there was many. With that said, I had to make a rational decision that my healthy, happiness, and weight loss was more important than anyone's opinion of me and what I looked like exercising.
Sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith and do it. If you haven't run before then start off walking, then toss in some jogging. Clear your mind. Don't think of anything other than putting one foot in front of the other, breathing right, and the fact that you are doing this for YOU and that no one else's opinion matters. PERIOD.
You can do this!!
Fitness Minutes: (1,977)
12 9/4/13 7:26 A
I want to get into running but I hate to run in front of other people all my life I have been made fun of for the way I run not only in school but it is also a big family joke out will get brought up some how at least once during any family get together so of course this is something I have always tried not to do in front of people but I really want to get into running to lose weight and get into shape I will of course do some strength training and toning exercises at home I do that now but I need some cardio to really start losing does anyone else have trouble running in public and did anyone have any tips how you got past this fear
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