How to be comfortable running in public: part 5

Run with others

You stand out a lot less when you’re part of a group.  There are running clubs almost everywhere.  You can search online for “running club ___,” filling in the name of your area.  Here you can find running clubs listed by stateA similar resource provided by the Road Runners Club of America seems more comprehensive.  You can also ask at a local running shoe store.  The staff will know of clubs.  Also, many stores serve as a meeting place for informal weekly runs.  People who live nearby just show up and run together at the appointed time.  Of course, you can also just call a friend.  Even running with one other person can help.

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How to be comfortable running in public: part 4

Where to run

Consider where you’re running.  Some places will make you feel more comfortable than others.  Run where you feel comfortable.  Here are some ideas.

1. Runner-friendly areas

I do sometimes feel a little self-conscious in my neighborhood, especially in inclement weather (people will stare or offer me a ride) or when my neighbors are having a party, but once I get to the bike path/running trail, I feel right at home.  Even if I’m struggling, breathing hard, and badly dressed, I feel okay on the trail because there are so many other runners and cyclists.  On the other hand, as a beginner, you might feel more self-conscious around other runners, so you would avoid the trail.

Other runner-friendly areas to seek out or avoid, depending on your feelings, include parks (especially those with hiking trails) and the high-school track (check on availability, but usually residents can use it anytime the students aren’t).  Runner-friendly environments are nice if you’re doing speed workouts.  I feel stupid sprinting up the same hill over and over, right in front of someone’s house.  But no one thinks anything of it if you’re on a trail.

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How to be comfortable running in public: part 3

Running clothes

On a Saturday morning run, I passed two ladies running together.  They were both wearing three-quarter-length tights and brightly-colored long-sleeved tech tees.  This, if you want to know, is practically the official uniform for women out running in weather under 45 degrees.

It’s not what I was wearing, mind you.  Not even close.  I don’t dress that well for a runner, so maybe it seems as if I shouldn’t be giving advice.  But.  I don’t fail to wear the “right” things because I don’t know what they are.  It’s because I’m cheap and I don’t care.  But I am observant, and I know what clothes would be right to buy, if I were thinking of buying any.  So I’m just going to forge ahead and give my advice.

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Part 3 delayed

I apologize for the delay.  Our electricity went out on Saturday evening, when part three in my series on How to be comfortable running in public was still in the (very rough) draft stage.  Our power was restored late this afternoon, but rather than frantically clean the post up for you now, I’m just going to post it next Monday, as it was becoming quite long anyway.

I have also been unable to run.  Snow, fallen branches, and an eagerness to leave a really cold house as early as possible this morning, prevented me.  The rest of this week is busier than usual.  We’ll see how it goes.  Here on my desk sits a long-since-filled-out-and-signed application to join the fitness center (basically for free) where my husband works.  Someday, we may get around to submitting it.

Actually, that’s a funny story.  We went to the fitness center when his work was having an open house.  We intended just to fill out the form while we stood there, and then it’d be all taken care of (we must both be present, they say).  But the lady insisted on showing us around because, she said, “It’s important to feel at home at your gym,” or something to that effect.  I sort of laughed and said I really just needed a treadmill for the winter.  She looked confused.  And she kept asking if I was interested in any of their other services, all of which I turned down.  No, I won’t be showering here.  No, I probably won’t take a Zumba class.  Seriously, I just want to know if you have enough treadmills.  She was very kind, even though I think we ruined it for her a little.  I must learn not to laugh when other people are in earnest.

So, she made us bring the form home and talk it over, and now we have to take it back, together.

How to be comfortable running in public: part 2

What the other runners think (not that we should care)

If you feel self-conscious running in public, you probably think you know what other people are thinking of you.  You might be wrong though, and as a life-long runner, I can tell you what the other runners are really thinking, if they’re thinking anything at all.

Of course, we would all do well to remember that other people don’t think about us nearly as much as we think about ourselves.  The best way to quell your self-consciousness is simply to think about yourself less (you know, be less conscious of your self), which is worth doing anyway, isn’t it?

But, that will take a lifetime, so while we all work on not thinking about ourselves, I invite you to let the following scenarios put you at ease.

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How to be comfortable running in public: Part 1

I was going to make this just one post, but it was getting really long, so it’s going to be a series instead.  I have a lot to say about this because, for some reason, people are always asking me these kinds of questions: “How can I look like a real runner?”  “Do I look stupid?”  “Is everyone staring at me?”  “Do I need those shiny clothes?”

This seems to be a major obstacle for many would-be runners, and I completely understand (at least I think I do).  If self-consciousness is keeping you from getting some exercise, then please read on, as I have many, many things to tell you.  For that matter, if self-consciousness if keeping you inside on the treadmill when you could be running in the beautiful outdoors, then I have many, many things to tell you.  The first is, you deserve better than the treadmill.

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