Body confidence for beginner runners

Running outside is empowering, enriching and revitalising – but if you’re just starting out, it can sometimes feel daunting, too. Here’s how to embrace your inner strength and get out there!

Body confidence for beginner runners

If you’re new to running – or would like to start – it can be normal to experience a certain amount of anxiety about running outside for the first time. Running along the open roads can feel intimidating if you’re not used to it, and worries about what other people might think can seem overwhelming. However, take a deep breath, clear your mind and read our top eight tips on how to boost your running self-esteem, so you can head out of the door with confidence!

Don’t worry about others 

If you’re anxious about what people will think if they see you out running, don’t be! Even though you might feel like you stand out a mile, you really don’t. The truth is, everyone is usually so caught up in their own lives, concentrating on where they need to be and what their own day entails, they will likely not give you a second glance.

Focus on your achievements

Remember, it’s about what your body can do, not what your body looks like. So what if you’re a stone or two heavier than you’d like to be? So what if you can currently only jog for a minute or two? You’re still lapping everyone sat on their sofa in front of a box set, so hold your head up high and go for it. You’re awesome! Just don't forget to breathe.

Try a run/walk plan

If you’re worried you can only run for a minute or two, follow a run/walk plan that will take you from complete beginner to being able to run a 5K in a few months. Taking deliberate walk breaks will give you a confidence boost, and by starting slowly you’ll be more likely to stick with it, rather than going all out once and then hanging up your trainers for good. Our 14-week beginner running plan is a great place to start.

Invest in technical kit

While all you really need to get started is a good pair of running shoes and – if you’re a woman – a decent sports bra, it can be hard to feel body confident if you’re out running in a pair of decades-old jogging bottoms and that paint-spattered T-shirt you usually reserve for decorating. Investing in some running-specific technical gear will not only help you look good, but with its sweat-wicking and breathable properties, you’ll feel much better, too.

Find a running buddy

You know that old saying, a problem shared is a problem halved? It goes for running, too! If you’re nervous about heading out alone, why not enlist a friend? Running with someone else can give you a huge confidence boost, as well as your own personal motivator, as you can spur each other on to keep going!

We all start somewhere

You know those other runners out there? The ones who can run for miles? Remember – they were once total beginners, too. Rarely is someone simply ‘good’ at running long distances; it takes practice, effort and perseverance. So stick with it – you’re doing great.

Everyone’s different

If you have an image in your head that only the super svelte can run, wipe it immediately from your mind. You don’t need to fit a particular stereotype to call yourself a runner; whatever your body shape or size, you can run.

Time it right

If you’re feeling body conscious but still want to run outside, choose a time and a place that will be quiet, so you can gain confidence in relative privacy. But remember, safety is paramount: always tell someone where you’re going and how long you expect to be out; bring a phone with you but keep it out of sight; and if it’s after dark, wear high-viz clothing and stick to well-lit areas.

Don't forget to smile!

You've made the positive decision to embrace a dramatic lifestyle change and benefit your health and fitness, which is definitely worth smiling about! So turn that frown upside down and get ready to face the world. You're a runner now, welcome to the club.