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Posted on July 29, 2013

When I first started to run, I hated doing it in front of others.  I was fat, slow, out of shape, and terribly self conscious.  I believed that everyone who saw me was thinking, “look at that loser over there, he should just stop running, and go back to the couch”.   It made it so hard to go outside, and get my workouts done.  I didn’t let this keep me from running, but boy, did it make me feel crummy.  In time, I became an experienced runner, and got over these feelings.  That being said, I still remember how it felt at the time.

Based on what I hear from my present students, I am not the only person to feel this way.  Over the years I have discussed this subject with a number of experienced runners to get their thoughts on the subject.  You may be surprised to learn what they shared with me.

It turns out that they look at new runners, slow runners, and heavy runners in a manner opposite of what I assumed.  They don’t look down on these people.  To be honest, the converse is true.  Experienced runners are extremely impressed by runners who are just starting out.  They were once new runners themselves.  They remember how slow they felt, and how hard it was to get started.  They understand what new runners are trying to do, and truly appreciate the effort you are making.   They don’t look at you like a loser; they look at you like a winner.

Next time you are out on a run, feeling self conscious, try to remember what these runners shared with me.  They are your fans, hoping you become part of the running family.  If you look real close , you may even notice them giving you a nod and a smile as they pass you.  They are behind you, pulling for you to make it.  It may hard to believe, but trust me, it’s truth.  Now get out there, and run proud, no matter who can see you.