Running obstacle (AGAIN with the running!!)

Stephanie0523

Cathlete
Hey runners!! As you know, I'm preparing for my first ever race on Thanksgiving Day (a 5 miler). I am SOOOOOO excited about it. I am doing great on the treadmill. I have endurance, I can handle the incline. I can focus and really enjoy it. However, whenever I run outside, I am anxiety stricken. My breathing speeds up, and I can only do short distances. I worry about what the other runners on the track will think. I worry that I look ridiculous/run like a "girl." (I'm not being vain. Just have always ALWAYS struggled with self consciousness/body issues.) My DH tells me all the things I know in my head... not to worry because everyone is concentrated on themselves and running is not a team sport, I shouldn't worry about anyone else but just be in the moment.... But though I know this in my head, I can't get my body to relax and perform like it does when I'm alone on the treadmill.

Am I the only one with this problem? How can I overcome this crazy issue? :confused:
 

lioness

Cathlete
Hi Stephanie,

I have been running for a couple of years now and in the beginning experienced the same kind of anxiety but once you get your first race under your belt, you will feel different. There are so many people running races of all shapes, sizes, ages and fitness levels. Your DH is right, running is not a team sport. It is all about you and challenging yourself.

Here is a story from personal experience. In 2008 I did my first 15K which was the longest race I had ever done. I live in a rural area so races are small and there is always a threat of coming in last. Before the race even started I was so nervous I spent the majority of my warm-up time in the bathroom. The race started and I felt fine but I was so worried about finishing last even though I had passed up 2 other people. The course was an out and back course. I made the turnaround and continued to stress about finishing last. About a mile after I made the turnaround I noticed a lady running towards me (she was running towards the turnaround) and I thought I'm not last (even though I knew I wasn't) but as I passed the lady she said to me, "I'sn't it a beautiful day. I'm having a great time". And I thought whoa...this lady is clearly in last place and she was smiling and having a great time. After I passed her my attitude suddenly changed. I was no longer worried about coming in last and even if I did, I didn't care. I was out there and doing the best that I could. I ended up finishing 3rd in my age group and became friends with that lovely lady.

So don't worry, just do you best. I promise you will have a fantastic time!

BTW...every race photo I have of myself is horrible. I always look like I'm dying but who cares I'm having fun!!
 
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kathryn

Cathlete
Hey runners!! As you know, I'm preparing for my first ever race onHowever, whenever I run outside, I am anxiety stricken. My breathing speeds up, and I can only do short distances. I worry about what the other runners on the track will think. I worry that I look ridiculous/run like a "girl." (I'm not being vain. Just have always ALWAYS struggled with self consciousness/body issues.) My DH tells me all the things I know in my head... not to worry because everyone is concentrated on themselves and running is not a team sport, I shouldn't worry about anyone else but just be in the moment....
Really, most everyone is thinking about themselves and not paying much attention to others (unless they are passing them or trying to pass them or trying to keep ahead of them).

I'd recommend running outside more before your race, so you get used to it, and find a mantra or imagery that works to make you less nervous. Try to get inside your own head, then you'll worry less about what's going on with other people.

And realize that pre-race, you'll probably feel quite nervous as that extra adrenalin kicks in (my first few races were like that, but I don't get that adrenaline kick much anymore), and remember to tell yourself that it's normal, it's not going to turn into 'anxiety' and you can deal with it.

And don't let some self-imposed expectation of performance (I "have" to run the whole way/I don't want to be iin the last group/I want to finish in under # minutes) become an obstacle. Each race is different, and there are many ways of 'winning,': from placing, to just finishing the thing, to getting in a good workout and enjoying the journey. And 'firsts' are always learning experiences.

I would feel self-conscious speed walking outside if I didn't wear my running hat and huge 'bee girl' dark glasses, so I feel somewhat 'protected', if you get what I mean.

Are you actually doing a 5-mile race or a 5-K?

I hope you live in a warmer climate than here: my racing season was over once it hit 50 degrees!

Good luck !
 
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jdimascio

Cathlete
I have to completely agree with Jane. I just notice at races that youa re dealing with a wide variety of runners, a majority of them are just trying to finish the race, because that in itself is an accomplishment. You are running 5 miles...something most people can't even get close to doing. I have run in a lot of race....tons within the last 20 years of my life, and I have seen it all!! I just did a 5K with my kids the other day, and I ran with my daughter. Anyway, what I love about races...the best part (and I always forget about this until I am actually in the race)is everyone is cheering you on, individuals not in the race and everyone in the race. Those sort of things make me smile while I am running. While my daughter and I passed a few runners they were cheering us on, and we did the same when someone passed us. Even though it's a race, it's about finishing the race the best you can and having a good time. No one cares what you look like, no one cares if you run like a girl...you are doing something amazing for yourself!! In addition, you are doing something before the biggest meal of the year. I love Thanksgiving races...have fun and you are going to do great!!
 

jcm

Cathlete
I've been there! I started 10 years ago on a treadmill and it took several years to build up the courage to head outside! Now when I drive I always notice EVERY runner looks different and has a different style. I'd just recommend getting out there as much as you can before the race. The more you get out you'll get more comfortable.
 

RapidBreath

Cathlete
My DH tells me all the things I know in my head... not to worry because everyone is concentrated on themselves and running is not a team sport, I shouldn't worry about anyone else but just be in the moment.

Am I the only one with this problem? How can I overcome this crazy issue? :confused:
He is right about that. Are you always afraid of other people? It sounds like an ego problem (not that you are stuck on yourself.) When the ego is afraid of how others will see it, there is anxiety. I don't really like to be looked at either. I tend to run on my own early in the morning (less so now that we have a black bear in the neighborhood.) Was there any moment when you were more focused on yourself? Sometimes it helps to focus on the one moment when you were content and try to expand that.

btw. Nobody is watching your form. If it isn't any good, no one is looking at you at all. Truth is, you don't matter to any other runners, this isn't high school, no one is going to point and laugh if you run like a girl ( you are a girl, you are supposed to run like a girl. Since when is being a girl a bad thing?)
 

MadnNatsmom

Cathlete
Stephanie - When started re-running about 14 years ago, it was after my first child and I was 25+ overweight. I ran SLOOOOOOOOOOOWLY, i think 15 minute miles. I was SOO self-conscious because I had never been so overweight before. I thought everyone was looking at me and laughing.

But, running is a mental challenge as well as physcial, so this is a good exercise for you!

Are there other people who are actually RUNNING on the track? I find that very few people run - most walk. So, right there, you are doing something most people won't or can't. Running is just about the most physically (and mentally) demanding cardio activity. The fact that you are running should make you feel really good about yourself.

I hope you work through your anxiety because you MUST run outside before your race. Running on your own - without the help of the treadmill belt - makes a HUGE difference. And, the only way you're going to overcome this is to get outside.
 

Stephanie0523

Cathlete
Are you actually doing a 5-mile race or a 5-K
It's a 5-mile run benefitting the homeless in Nashville. I need to focus on the purpose of the run more. That's the big reason why I wanted to do THIS race. I am a personal goal kind of gal. I don't work out at a gym or participate in group fitness. I don't ever compete. I work out at home all by myself. It's my time alone. A therapy of sorts, in addition to a way to stay healthy physically. A friend of mine ran in this race last year, and I remember thinking how wonderful it would be to run on Thanksgiving morning. I am a spiritual person, and I thought that time would be a great time to reflect on my blessings as well as help others who are in need. My family truly feasts on Thanksgiving. It's a day of total comfort. And my heart breaks for those who don't have homes or tables filled with food or families who love them. So I'm running for them too.

Just writing this makes me feel so guilty for feeling the least bit nervous. I know WHY I'm running this race. My intentions are good. But my body just won't cooperate.

I really appreciate all of you guys' remarks. I'll remember them when I'm out there training! And I will try to get inside my head more and focus less on others. I just hope that physically my breathing will follow suit! :)

I got teary reading yall's posts. Thanks for the support! What would I do without this forum?? :)
 

Stephanie0523

Cathlete
Running on your own - without the help of the treadmill belt - makes a HUGE difference. And, the only way you're going to overcome this is to get outside.
This is another thing I'm worried about... (Geesh I'm a worry wart!!) I worry that I haven't been running true distances with my treadmill. Maybe I've built up this false confidence that I can even run this race. But it technically is a run/walk, so I guess I could walk at any time. I'm just afraid I'll feel like such a failure if I have to do this.

Lots to work through. Who knew that a silly race could get me so worked up??
 

pgeiger

Cathlete
Stephanie,

I've never really been much of a runner but do run occasionally and have run in a few races. I used to be self conscious about people seeing me running outside too, thinking people were looking at me and judging my form, speed, etc. I realized though that when I saw people running I wasn't doing any of those things. Usually I would be thinking good for them if I even really thought about it at all. You're even less likely to be noticed in a race environment because there are so many people and as others have already said, they are concentrating on their own running. Just go out there and have fun and think about the great exercise you're getting and the great cause that you are supporting. I know, easier said than done! :D

Pam
 

kathryn

Cathlete
. But it technically is a run/walk, so I guess I could walk at any time. I'm just afraid I'll feel like such a failure if I have to do this.
STOP THAT!;)

MANY people run/walk these things, so you will be in good company.
NOT a failure: most people couldn't even walk that distance in one fell swoop.
 

jcm

Cathlete
I know treadmills are notorious for miscalibration. For what it's worth I think mine runs fast and long. I actually find running outside - once I got used to it - easier than inside. My treadmill has to tell me I'm slower than I really am.

And focus on that goal. I personally am Christian and have chosen my running music to make it my time for prayer and praise. As a mom of 3 I don't make enough time for that, but running is my time. Remember - a huge part of running - I'd say 90+% - is psychological.
 

morningstar

Cathlete
First of all, why run on a track? The race won't be on a track. And tracks are boring! If you're going to run on a track, you might as well be on a treadmill. Go find a great place to run where you can get outside of your own head and enjoy what's happening around you. If you pass a runner on the street, either they are incredibly focused on what they are doing and ignore you, or they smile or wave. I've been known to yell out to other runners after we both make it to the top of a steep hill that "we rock!" And we do! If you're worried about people on the street noticing what you look like running, gotta tell ya, they're mostly feeling guilty because it's been so long since they moved their own hairy asses. When I see a runner on the street when I'm walking along, I look at their form and think about whether their running will cause them injury over the long haul, but I never think about how they look otherwise.
 

morningstar

Cathlete
This is another thing I'm worried about... (Geesh I'm a worry wart!!) I worry that I haven't been running true distances with my treadmill. Maybe I've built up this false confidence that I can even run this race. But it technically is a run/walk, so I guess I could walk at any time. I'm just afraid I'll feel like such a failure if I have to do this.

Lots to work through. Who knew that a silly race could get me so worked up??
Go ahead, get worked up. Then you'll be like the rest of us that freak out for our first race and then do it and have so much fun and get so excited that we go home and spend our kid's college fund on races for the next year. Why should you be different? Your first race is your first race. It's a huge fat hairy deal, so stress and worry and obsess all you like. Eventually you'll become blase, and that's not fun at all! Enjoy the anticipation while you can, before you become a grizzled old veteran only worried about your PR.
 

fawn001

Active Member
I am not trying to be mean but remember, this race is not about you. It is a fund raiser. No body cares about what you are doing.

It is not like you are trying to win a gold metal for your country! Dont be so self involved. Just go out there, run, and enjoy the t-shirt.
 

Stephanie0523

Cathlete
I am not trying to be mean but remember, this race is not about you. It is a fund raiser. No body cares about what you are doing.

It is not like you are trying to win a gold metal for your country! Dont be so self involved. Just go out there, run, and enjoy the t-shirt.
Point taken. I just need to get over myself. I know this in my head, my whole point was how do I keep my body from reacting instinctively with the wonky breathing and all.

Morningstar-Thanks for the great words of encouragement! You're totally right, I know. As for the track... It's not a school track; it's a track placed in a random field out where we live in a rural area. It's a beautiful setting. Lots of trees surrounding it. Very zen. I really love going there. It's also hilly, which is a good thing, and one lap is 9/10 miles, so it's easy to keep up with my distance... I do need to run the neighborhood, you're right. I'll try to get my big ole butt out of bed this weekend and do that early. I love that you yell to fellow runners that they rock. Wish you lived in my neighborhood!! :p
 

Stephanie0523

Cathlete
I personally am Christian and have chosen my running music to make it my time for prayer and praise. As a mom of 3 I don't make enough time for that, but running is my time. Remember - a huge part of running - I'd say 90+% - is psychological.
This has nothing to do with the thread really, but you said you program your music for prayer... Have you heard Chris Rice's hymns CD? I just got it from iTunes. I don't usually listen to Christian music, except for at Christmas, but I love love love old hymns. They are comforting and really special. This is one of my favorite CDs... especially at Thanksgiving!
 

MidgetDogg

Cathlete
Do you really think the other runners will be paying any attention to you? They'll be so focussed on finishing the race and hopefully beating a PR. Seriously, woman... stop thinking about what other people are thinking. If you're that self-conscious about running outside right now, while you're training for this race, then maybe you could run before the sun comes up. Nobody will see you.

I can't wait until this race is over and you come on here and say, "wow - I worried so much about nothing! The race was great. I did my distance and wasn't the last one across the finish line. I'm so glad I did this, and I'll never use that dumb treadmill again"
 

Stephanie0523

Cathlete
Well, another fork in the road. Just found out I have strep throat. Ugh!!! I'm taking today off, but I hope I can run tomorrow.

Thanks for all the words of encouragement, guys!! :)
 

fitg

Cathlete
Hi Stephanie,

I understand your fears about the first race. I have been a runner since I was 18 and now I am 34, almost 35. I can guarantee that the other runners on the course could care less about what you look like. In my experience runners are the most non-judgemental people I have ever met. We are plain and simple. I have not met one in person that I did not like. Just get out there on race day and do your best. :)

By the way, I think running with strep throat is a REALLY bad idea. Don't do it. Get well first.
 

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