1. Firstly, don’t worry about it. If people are looking at you as you run, it’s probably out of admiration. I’m sure you don’t have negative thoughts about people when you see them running and the same will be true of others when you’re running past them. As soon as you go for that first run you have joined a group of millions of people worldwide who do the same and as a group, runners are very friendly and welcoming. Be proud of yourself, don’t worry about other people.
2. Go with a friend. It’s always nice to run with someone alongside you and if there are two of you it makes it much easier to feel confident.
3. Join a club. Okay, you might not want to go straight into your local athletics running club, but there are a number of ‘new runners’ and jogging clubs around the country. Many gyms have beginners running programs where you can go out in a group.
4. Get a coach; getting a fitness coach to help you with a few sessions is one way of getting up to speed and building confidence in what you are doing. It’s not the right thing for everyone, but if it gets you going it could be well worth it.
5. Build up confidence in a gym. If going outside is the problem then try to build some confidence in the gym on the treadmill first. This could act as a good introduction, but be careful to ensure you have a clear aim to get outside at a certain point, running in the gym is great for you, but you are missing out if you stay in there and never get out and about.
6. Find somewhere that suits you. If the gym is a fear then try a park, if you don’t like the open space of the park, try a gym or a running track. If you’re not a member of a gym then just get in touch with a local one and ask if you can give it a try – most will let you go in for a free session to see if it suits you. If you feel confident on a bike then cycle out to somewhere you could run and run for a bit before cycling home. That way you’ll be two thirds of a way to a triathlon before you know it.
7. If you really still can’t face running outside; try wearing dark sunglasses to keep you hidden. Somehow I always feel more separated from other people if I’m behind dark glasses.
Let us know in the comments if you have any other tips.