Blisters 3 min read

Overcoming fear and self-doubt when starting a running routine

Overcoming fear and self-doubt when starting a running routine Overcoming fear and self-doubt when starting a running routine Overcoming fear and self-doubt when starting a running routine

The seasons are changing, the days are warming up and embarking on a running routine is looking more appealing than it has done for months. But whether you’re looking at getting involved with parkrun, starting Couch to 5K or following your own training plan, there can often be one thing stopping you from getting things moving: your own state of mind.

Starting a running routine can be intimidating, especially if you’re a novice runner or have struggled with self-doubt and fear in the past. But don’t worry; with the right mindset and approach, you can put these worries aside and get running. In this article, we’ll take a look at some effective strategies and practical tips you can use to help overcome your hesitancy and get into the swing of a sustainable and enjoyable running routine.

Set achievable goals - and celebrate when you reach them!

One big goal can be daunting, but a series of small goals much less so – and each small goal achieved provides you with a boost of confidence that comes from knowing you are getting closer to your ultimate objective.

Start by defining specific, achievable objectives that align with your fitness level and running experience. Whether you’re aiming to run a certain distance or time, breaking down your goals into smaller milestones can make them less overwhelming. For example, increasing your total distance run by 10% each week provides a realistic aim that gradually increases your stamina and fitness.

Don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments along the way. Acknowledge your progress, no matter how small it may seem. Every step forward counts and serves as a reminder of your capabilities. By focusing on your achievements, you’ll gain confidence and motivation to continue pushing yourself.

Focus on your improvement

Adopting a ‘growth mindset’ means believing that with the right methods and hard work, your skills and stamina will naturally develop as you progress with your running routine. This is a powerful tool in overcoming negative thoughts that might prevent you from getting started.

Instead of viewing your running objectives as a series of insurmountable obstacles, try to see them as opportunities for growth and learning, while focusing on the belief that every ounce of effort and practice you invest in running will inevitably pay off in your overall improvement as a runner.

Whenever you’re doubting yourself, shoo negative thoughts away and try to replace them  with positive, encouraging ones. For example, it can be helpful to remind yourself that everyone had to start somewhere, and the only reason they ever improved was because they kept at it. Even pro runners were beginners when they started out!

Soak up knowledge

Good technique plays a large part in running efficiently and preventing injuries, so it’s important that you take the time to educate yourself and ensure you have the correct form and training strategies. Injuring yourself – either through poor technique, not warming up or training too hard – is a surefire way to knock your confidence and wipe out any momentum you’ve built up.

On the other hand, gaining an understanding of the science behind running can help dispel myths and build confidence in your abilities. The internet provides a wealth of information at your fingertips, but remember to make sure your advice is coming from a reputable source and is pitched at your skill level.

If you’re thinking of taking things to the next level, you might want to consider consulting with a running coach or experienced runner to guide you through your training. They can provide personalised advice, help you establish a training plan, and offer valuable insights based on their own experiences. A coach can also assist in setting realistic goals and monitoring your progress, further boosting your confidence and self-belief.

Find your running buddies

Some people prefer running alone, but many aspiring runners actually benefit from being around like-minded people who share their goals and passion. This is precisely the idea behind parkrun, which brings people together to run as a community in more than 1000 locations all over the world.

Being with friends or people who are facing the same challenge as you can be hugely motivating, giving you an added boost of confidence to complete a run that might intimidate you if you were flying solo. In addition to the positive mental impact of simply connecting with people, you are also able to share experiences, seek advice and celebrate your achievements together.

It doesn’t have to be a group, of course. Even finding just one friend you can run with provides an opportunity to share in the ups and downs of running – as well as providing that extra bit of accountability that might be all you need to motivate you to stick with it. You’re much less likely to sack off a run if you know someone’s waiting for you!

Get running!

Follow these tips and you’ll be laying the foundations for a positive outlook that will empower you both physically and mentally, setting you up for successful and sustainable running. The only thing left to do is get your running shoes on, get out there and get going. You’ll soon see you never had any reason to doubt yourself.