As a regular runner, how often do you take notice of other runners?
Can you remember the last three runners you ran past? What did they look like? How did they look running? My thought is that you really wouldn’t be able to remember any of them. But it is this thought process that goes through a lot of people’s minds, I may be generalising but mainly us women.
I have had many discussions with friends who are so fearful about running in public, even on a treadmill and I’ve been thinking about why that is? Like everything in today’s world we are so dictated by images of perfection through social media, magazines, TV shows, clothing etc. As much as that is all nice, we all know that it is not reality and not a true reflection of life. There are genuine people out there who are trying to make a change in their life through exercise and unfortunately this so called perfect imagery does not help with their confidence.
But like every new creation, new business or new experience we must start somewhere - the key is to just make a start. I will digress a little here but it is a great thought that puts new experiences into perspective - Did you know that Coca-Cola sold only 25 bottles in its first year? Everyone starts somewhere and what I am saying, is that the people you see running did not run a marathon on their first run, nor did they lose 50kg on their first run. No, they started just like all of us and built up their skill. Like any new skill we are trying to learn, running is one which needs to be learned and patience and persistence is key.
It saddens me that the reason people do not run is because of the fear of what other people may think about their weight, their running style, clothes and any other reason you can name. I have been a runner for a few years now and perhaps I have lost touch with what it is like to start running but I know for myself I genuinely love seeing people out running. And personally, the more of a beginner you are the better! The reason I love it is because there is an endless opportunity of personal development and success that awaits you. As the great Oprah Winfrey says “running is a metaphor for life, the more you put into it the more you get out of it”.
Actually as I write this, I have had a flashback to my running ability when I first started. I could never get my breathing right or in sync with the movement of my body, to the point where I sounded like a steam train huffing and puffing along. Those runners out there who have gotten to know me, would be familiar with this bit of advice I was given - run at talking pace! Do not run faster than that, when starting out there is no need to.
Running is such a liberating form of exercise. It’s probably the cheapest type of exercise and therapy out there. And in all honesty I have had nothing but positive experiences in connecting with other runners in the community. And I can assure you that when you are ready to branch out to a running group there are endless options out there - mums running groups, beginner groups, local suburb groups, running movement groups, trail running, hills running - you name it’s out there. Or why not start running with a friend - experienced runner or not. I know for myself I love getting the opportunity to run with people, especially friends and I do not care how fast or slow I am running, it just gives me great pride seeing that person I am running with just doing it!
Hopefully reading this, you will be inspired to let go of any of the inhibitions you have and get out for your first run. I’d just like to reiterate that the running community is very inclusive, most people that will run past you won’t actually see you and go easy on yourself - you need to start somewhere. Give yourself a massive high five for just getting out there in the first place and giving it a go.