How to get the confidence to run in public

Want to start running but feel nervous? Here’s how to get the confidence to start running in public.

Since the first national lockdown earlier this year, many have taken to the pavement and started running. Maybe as a way to help their mental health or perhaps deal with the over-indulgence of being in lockdown and coping with a pandemic!

However, avoiding running in public due to lack of confidence is something we hear all the time. It’s a big reason for so many putting off tying up those laces and just going for it.

Feeling self-conscious about running is a big deal. Starting something new is daunting enough, but when you’re out there doing it in front of people passing you on the streets, it’s hard not to worry about what people think.

There are some ways that you can help reduce this anxiety and get your running journey moving.

Look like a runner

When you are in decent running gear, there is no doubt that you will feel more ‘the part’. Hitting the road or the treadmill in sports-specific clothing will give you confidence and will portray the image that you know what you are doing (even if you don’t). 

Clothes made for running will also help to lighten the load as most contain high-tech fibres that wick away sweat from the body when running in the heat.  They will also help to keep you dry and warm during cold weather running.

Wearing 100% cotton clothing is not advisable, for running as once it gets wet, it stays wet. So stay away from ‘old school’ t-shirts and jogging bottoms.

Get the right support

We’re not talking about support from your family (though that also helps) but support for your body! Women need to invest in a decent sports bra. Running is a high-impact sport, and you are putting your body through a lot when you’re running, so it’s a good idea to feel comfortable and secure. 

There are many different makes of bras – but the one that does the best job for support in our opinion is Shock Absorber. It really does what it says on the box!

Specialist running stores will be able to offer you guidance on what to wear, both for clothing and footwear.

Looking good from head to toe

Having a decent pair of running trainers will go a long way in not only giving you confidence but also avoiding injury. It is tempting to grab a cheap pair of running shoes or ones because you like the style or colour – but it’s not a great idea. 

You don’t need to break the bank, but running in inadequate shoes can soon cause injury, stopping you in your tracks.

Visiting a running speciality store where experts can evaluate your running style and analyse your gait is an excellent investment to your running journey, and we can’t recommend this enough. 

Investing in your footwear demonstrates your commitment to your new journey and will fire you up to get started. The staff will look at how you hit the ground when you run (usually on a treadmill) and make suggestions on which shoe you should go for to support your running style fully.

When buying shoes, think about where and when you are going to run. Will it be outside on pavements, track or trails or the treadmill? There are shoes to suit each of these disciplines.

Get your running shoes wrong, and you could end up with injuries in your shins, calves and back, so it’s well worth getting an expert on this one!  Knowing that you are kitted out in something that will support your running from the ground up will boost your confidence no end!

But do you need to go all high tech and spend a fortune when you start out running?  Absolutely not! The critical thing is to feel comfortable in what you’re running in. There are plenty of places online and on the high street that will be great for getting you started. Online stores such as:


Face your fear and do it anyway!

There will always be things in life that we don’t want to do for fear of what others think. What if we just didn’t care what others think? If anyone says anything, it says a lot more about their insecurities than yours. Stick two fingers up to the rest of the world and do what you want to do!

Get a buddy!

If you’re having trouble finding the confidence to get out, enlist a running buddy for encouragement and support.  If you’ve committed to meet someone, then you’re less likely to talk yourself out of it. What is it they say, there’s strength in numbers?

Join a community 

There are many ways to join a running community – both in person or virtually. You can look up local running groups via Facebook or good old Google!  Many clubs work with beginners as well as more established runners.

If ‘in person’ isn’t your bag, there are many online communities you can join. From ladies only groups like This Girl Runs, Running Woman Chat and Run Mummy Run, to mixed communities for beginners such as Runners Helping Runners and Start Running – Stay Running, there really is something for everyone out there.

Linda Meek is the co-founder of Start Running – Stay Running, a Facebook Group and VIP Membership for people who are taking up running but don’t have the information to hand to help them do it safely.

Photo by Alex McCarthy