Top 7 Running Fears in Beginners (& how to conquer them)

walking for weight loss

Whether you’re thinking about taking up your first step or recently fall off the wagon, logging the miles can be intimidating.

But don’t give in to obstacles, nor should you let them deter you from pursuing your running goals.

Help is here!

In today’s post, I’ll debunk the most common fears for avoiding running and provide some beginner-friendly tips along the way to help you manage your running fears and gain confidence as a runner.

Let’s get started.

Fear  1 –  I’m too Fat to start running

All runners have one thing in common: a beginning.

In fact, everyone has to start somewhere—and a lot of people take up running because they were out of shape.

Contrary to popular belief, runners come in all sizes and shapes.

If you’re overweight, logging the miles is a fantastic option that can help you shed the pounds, get in shape, and improve your overall health.

How To Overcome It

Whether you’re too overweight, feel too old, or think that you look ridiculous in running gear, there’s a simple solution.

Start small and progress gradually.

The goal is to compete with nobody but you.

Try run-walking. This method is perfect for beginners looking to get fit without getting hurt.

It involves mixing jogging and walking intervals, allowing you to properly recover so that you can continue.

As a beginner, start with a two-minute walk, followed by a one-minute jog, repeating the walk/run cycle for 15 to 20 minutes.

As you get fitter, aim to spend more time jogging and less and less time walking until you can run straight at a conversational pace for 30 minutes.

Fear 2 – I’m not Built For Running

This is a common limiting belief holding back many beginners.

But it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Our bodies are built to run.

In fact, running is a natural human movement—maybe one of the most natural of all.

Humans are,bipedal creatures, and millions of years of evolution have to designed us to travel long distances on our feet.

The truth is, everyone can run—the more you do it, the easier it will become.

If you stuck with this mindset forever, then welcome to the 600lbs club. You don’t want that, don’t you?

How To Overcome it

If you can move, walk, breathe, and sweat, then you can run.

You don’t have to become a runner overnight.

Just start slow and build it gradually.

Next, dress like a pro runner.

Fake it until you make it.

Often, perception is everything.

Running-specific gear sends a strong message that you know what you’re doing.

Furthermore, technical compression clothing can help keep those jiggly parts under control while covering up.

Never worry if you feel heavy or slow today, you’re already going forward, and that’s all the validation you need.

Fear 3 – People Will Laugh at Me

Feeling embarrassed can take a toll on anyone, especially self-conscious beginners.

Yet, this is perfectly normal, and everyone has to go through this when they first take up running.

You’re out of your comfort zone.

You feel like you’re in a strange environment.

Remember, your body is your own asset, not anyone else.

How to Overcome it

A simple remedy for this fear is running with a partner or group of people.

At least, you’ll be hanging out with like-minded people instead of being alone with your dark thoughts.

You can also run early in the morning or late in the evening when there is fewer people around.

Of course, with the safety kit like a whistle, pepper spray, or headlamp.

Wear high performance running attire.

This not only helps your performance but can also make you feel more comfortable and confident.

You can also use a few tricks to hide trouble spots if you don’t like how your body looks at the moment.

For instance, if you feel embarrassed by flabby arms, invest in a long-sleeve dry-fit running shirt that covers the whole area.

Here’s how to deal with excessive sweat while running.

Fear 4 – Running Will Ruin My Knees

Running is a high impact sport per excellence.

Every footstrike puts a lot of strain on the knee joint, (allegedly) causing damage, inflammation, and pain in the process.

But as it turned out, the “running is bad for your knees” is nothing more than an urban legend.

In fact, research out of Stanford University reported that devote runners are roughly 25 percent less likely to suffer from knee joint problems, such as osteoarthritis, than sedentary people.

running old lady

How to Overcome it

First of all, keep proper form, fix muscle imbalances.

If you do these then running will do your knees good.

Often, any dysfunction in the stabilizing muscles (especially the quadriceps and hamstrings), as well as uneven stress on the body, can cause extra wear and tear on the knee joint.

It’s mandatory to check with your doctor to assess your postural anatomy, gait through a movement screen to determine whether the primary running muscles are activating properly and working efficiently.

Fear 5 – Afraid of Not Being Able to Finish a Long Run 

Logging serious miles can scare the heck out beginner runners, but it shouldn’t thwart you from pursuing your running goals.

First, come first, build your base, and put it on repeat.

Attempting to run long distances before building your base is like trying lift chest press 160 pounds with no previous strength training.

It won’t happen—instead, you might yourself hurt.

How to overcome it?

Start short and build it up slowly and gradually.

I’d recommend shooting for 30 to 45 minutes of continuous running in the first few months.

The walk/run method is the way to go, especially if you’re out of shape.

For the first few weeks, discipline yourself and make a running journal for example, 20 to 30 minutes.

As you get fitter, increase this by two to three minutes.

Don’t forget to Monitor your distance and training intensity, so you know just how far you’ve gone.

Overtraining is never cool.

Fear 6 – I’ll Have to Use The Bathroom

Maybe you feel anxious about having to use public restrooms.

Or maybe you dread the idea of having a “bowel accident” while you’re out logging miles.

Lots of runners have these fears (and challenges).

Bathroom needs are democratic.

Every runner has felt the urge where they thought they’d pee or poop their pants.

This is especially an issue on long runs and/or for runners prone to digestions problems.

How to Overcome it?

Plan out your running routes to pass a location that has to have a public bathroom, such as grocery stores, public parks, and Starbucks.

Remember to take some coins with you as some places require money to use their facilities.

Keep an emergency kit in a running fanny pack.

You can pack it with things like wet pipes, toilet paper, and antibacterial soap.

For female runners, make sure there’s pads or tampons in case of emergency.

Fear 7 – Running Will Hurt

Yes, running will hurt.

It’s a high impact sport that can take a toll on your body, exerting terrible stress on your muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissue with every step.

But it’s worth it—as long as you know when to scale it back and rest.

How to Overcome it?

Pay attention to what you’re really feeling.

Most importantly, learn how to tell the difference between genuine pain and normal discomfort.

If you’re experiencing shin splints or joint pain, it may be time to slow down and reassess your training routine.

Prone to stomach cramps?

Experiment with different pre-food and adjust your diet accordingly.

Into challenges?

Give this 30-day running challenge a try.


Well, actually, there’s nothing you can’t overcome. So what’s stopping you?


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