Outrunning Self-Doubt: Strategies for a Confident Outdoor Run

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Cross Training For Runners
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Written by :

David Dack

If you’re just starting out and maybe carrying a few extra pounds or feeling a tad out of shape, I totally get where you’re coming from. The worry of looking, well, less than athletic, might be playing ping-pong in your mind – “too fat, too slow, too old” – you name it. And let’s not even talk about the thought of encountering other runners or folks on the street.

But let’s chat about something real here: that fear of feeling a bit embarrassed while pounding the pavement shouldn’t be the thing that stops you from taking those strides. Seriously, it’s not worth sidelining your fitness goals just because of this unease.

And you know what? I’ve been right where you are. I remember when stepping outside for a mere stroll felt like a major act of courage. But guess what? Fast forward to today, and I can tell you firsthand that pushing through that initial discomfort is absolutely worth it.

Now, let’s get into the good stuff – how I managed to flip the script on my fear of running outdoors. These strategies were my saving grace, and I’m here to share the wealth with you. Trust me, they’re like little confidence boosters that can turn your self-doubt into a distant memory.

So, go ahead, try these tips on for size, and pretty soon, you’ll be strutting your stuff outside like a pro.

  1. Focus on You

Here’s the scoop: the moment those awkward thoughts of self-consciousness start sneaking in, and you start fretting about how you might look to others, hit the mental pause button and listen up. Brace yourself, because this might sound a tad blunt, but it’s the truth: most people don’t really care. Yep, you heard it.

Think about it this way: just about everyone you cross paths with has a VIP spot reserved for their own concerns and insecurities in their heads. They’re in their own world, pondering their own issues, just like you are. It’s a bit of a mind-bender, but it’s the reality. More often than not, folks are too wrapped up in their own lives to give you a second thought.

Now, here’s the game-changer: once this clicks in your mind, you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted. Suddenly, your focus can shift to your running goals, rather than stressing over everyone else’s potential opinions.

Ready for the golden rule? Run for no one but yourself. Yep, you read that right. You’re the superstar of this show, the audience you’re aiming to impress is one—yourself. Whether you’re aiming to shed some pounds, conquer your first 5K, or just get a little more in shape, it’s all about you, my friend.

Now, let’s get real for a second: can I guarantee that nobody will glance your way or form an opinion? Nah, trolls do exist, and that’s a fact of life. But here’s the kicker: they’re not worth a single ounce of your energy. In fact, if anyone should be pitied, it’s them. Let them do their thing while you continue to rock your own journey.

  1. Dress Like A Runner

You know, it’s funny how much our outer appearance can influence how we carry ourselves. It’s like when you look fantastic, you naturally exude that confidence too. And let me tell you, this rings especially true when you’re out and about, getting your exercise fix in the great outdoors.

The secret sauce? It all comes down to what you’re wearing. Trust me, the right clothing isn’t just about comfort (although that’s a big win); it can actually crank up your performance and make your training sessions a blast. And who wouldn’t want that, right?

Imagine this: you’ve got the gear that fits like a glove, giving you the support where you need it most. What happens? Your confidence shoots through the roof, and guess what? That boost in self-assurance translates into some seriously impressive results. It’s like magic, really.

But hold up, don’t let me give you the wrong idea. You don’t need to break the bank to look and feel like a fitness superstar. Nope, it’s all about the essentials, and I’ve got you covered on that front:

First up, we’ve got the holy grail of running gear – the perfect pair of running shoes. Head on over to a specialty running store to have your foot type and gait analyzed. Trust me, this step is crucial for finding your soulmate in shoe form. And for a deep dive into the world of proper running shoes, you’ll want to check out my post on the subject.

Next up, let’s talk attire. Think comfortable running shorts or pants that move with you, paired with a top that screams “I’ve got this!” I.

And ladies, this one’s for you: the right sports bra is an absolute game-changer. Trust me, it’s not just about comfort; it’s about feeling your absolute best while you’re pounding those pavements. Nobody wants the dreaded bounce, right? Plus, let’s be honest, it’s all about focusing on your run, not fidgeting with your outfit.

  1. Pair Up With A Running Friend

Sure, running is a solo activity, but if braving the outdoors makes you feel uneasy, you may feel more confident if you go at it with a friend, family member, or co-worker.

That’s something I learned early in my running career, back when the mere thought of running alone made me nervous.

Pairing up with a friend is a good idea for many reasons.

First, it keeps your mind distracted and off of your insecurities.

Once you get out there a few times with a friend, you’ll start ignoring the people around you.

You might even forget they exist!

In addition to this benefit, running with a partner holds you accountable for your action and keeps you motivated to stick to it for the long haul.

Plus, companionship makes any endeavor more fun. For example, if you run with your spouse, it might help you both feel more connected and strengthen your relationship.

As a rule of thumb, make sure you and your partner have similar running and fitness goals.

Otherwise, it’s a mismatch, and that can do more harm than good

  1. Lose Yourself in Music

Imagine this scenario: you’re out there on a bustling street, surrounded by a whirlwind of noises and distractions. It’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. But guess what? You’ve got a secret weapon up your sleeve – music.

And let me tell you, this can be your ultimate ticket to overcoming the self-consciousness that might be nibbling at your confidence. With the rhythm of your favorite beats guiding your steps, you’ll find yourself in a zone where the opinions of onlookers just dissolve into the background.

So here’s a little tip: curate a playlist that’s as upbeat and uplifting as your spirits deserve. Let your top tunes become the wind beneath your wings, propelling you forward while the rest of the world simply fades away.

But, and this is a big “but,” my friend, I’ve got to remind you to stay mindful. Music can be a fantastic escape, but it shouldn’t turn you into a zombie, oblivious to your surroundings. Your safety and form should still be top priority. Stay connected to your body and the environment around you, even as those sweet melodies pump through your ears.

If running safety is an issue for you, check these two posts:

Post 1

Post 2

  1. Seek the Road Less Traveled

Let’s talk about those early days of embracing running – those months where the idea of stepping out to jog felt like a leap into the unknown. I had a trick up my sleeve back then, and it’s one that might just be the confidence booster you’re looking for.

I’d rise and shine at the crack of dawn, slipping into my running gear with a heart full of determination. My destination? A tranquil, secluded spot that shielded me from prying eyes. It was my safe haven, a place where I could build my running skills without the pressure of curious gazes.

And guess what? This strategy worked wonders, and I have a hunch it could do the same for you. There’s something about starting your journey in a cocoon of solitude that allows your confidence to sprout and bloom.

Now, fast forward a bit. Once you’ve cut your running teeth in those secluded corners, you’ll notice a shift. The insecurities that once held you captive start to lose their grip. Running around your neighborhood or local park becomes a natural part of your routine, and those doubts? They begin to shrink.

With each stride, you’ll start to feel a transformation. Your confidence won’t just bloom in your running ability; it’ll extend its reach to every part of your being. It’s like you’re reclaiming your self-assuredness one step at a time.

But here’s the thing: whether you’re trotting through your own neighborhood or venturing to a nearby park, pick a location that makes you feel like you’re on top of the world. Choose a spot that amplifies your strengths and dims the spotlight on any initial discomfort. Running is your journey, and you deserve to conquer it on your own terms.

Here’s your full guide..


There you have it, some of the best strategies to help you improve your confidence and help you feel less self-conscious when running outside.

Now it’s your turn. Do you usually feel self-conscious when exercising outdoors? How do you deal with it? Or do you still shy away from any form of outdoor exercise?

Please leave your thoughts and comments in the section below.

Thank you for stopping by.

Keep Running Strong!

David D.

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