self concious about speed

Hi, I'm a 15 year old girl and I've been running since last easter and love it. I've trained myself up from a healthy-low weight and almost zero fitness to running two 6 mile runs and a 13 miler weekly. I am planning on running a marathon when I'm 18 (I'll start training for it when I'm 17) and a half marathon when I'm 17. I am very proud of my progress so far and know I must be relatively fit now because I'm quite toned, have very good lungs when I go diving and can outlast the rest of my class in aerobics. I'm feel so much better about myself now as I've never been even remotely fit before.

However, recently a couple of my mates have seen me out running and have said that I run 'like a granny' and am 'awful at it'. I am very self conciousness and my confidence has take a huge blow, I am dreading the run tomorrow as I don't want to have to go through the town and be seen. I run 6m/10k in about 1 hour 5 minutes, and half marathon distance in 2 and a half hours and seriously want to improve to a better time, as I can't afford a fitness coach so any advice would be great. I'm wondering if strength and flexibility would help? I've always been last in sprint races but my endurance is quite good. I don't know any other runners and my family hates exercise of any sort so I've had my training has probably been quite unbalanced and illadvised.

Thanks for reading!


  • By the way, my guardian won't let me run more that three times a week.

  • Congrats Abigail. Sounds like you are doing really well.

    And ignore your friends if possible, they aren't running, unfit. And not you image

    Some strength & conditioning would help in future but maybe better moving your runs around a little. 6/6/13 is a little unbalanced?

    You could do say 3 miles fast on one day, or split into intervals to improve your speed, with rests/ recovery around so still work out 4-5 miles in total maybe.

    Can't really go wrong with 3 runs, one fast, one medium, one longer.

    Stick at it though.
  • I'd ignore your mates. They're just jealous.  They can only judge properly if they are out running with you.

    You're doing really well to do those distances - I run about 6 mph in training too. 

    The 13 miles is probably too much though - its a big jump.  I'd bring that down to maybe 9 or 10 miles. Clearly your stamina is there already so you dont need to do that long a run. 

    If its 3 runs a week I'd do a shorter faster run - maybe 4 miles or so. Throw some intervals in.  Do your 6 miles in an hour, and then the 9 miler at a slightly easier pace. 

    The key to good running is consistency and not getting injured. 

    You're doing really well and ignore any muppets who say you aren't. You'll just get faster and faster with time whilst they get fatter and fatter. image

  • Your are doing great and keep it up your 10k time is good I was 23stone when I started now 13 so I got things thrown out car windows at me spitting at me when I started first it great you started so young keep it up
  • Just ignore your 'mates' its more than likely them just taking a pop for a bit of a'll meet this in life...just let it wash over you...

    You sound like your pretty fit and I know what you mean about diving...I gave up smoking a noticed my tanks lasted much longer than previously...

    Cannot give you any fitness advice as I only manage to muddle through it all myselfimage

    Good luck and ignore the 'haters'






  • In their defence, (sad silly muppets that they are!) if you're not a runner yourself, you tend to think anyone going slower than a flat out sprint looks slow and shambling. Until you try to do it yourself! Try inviting them to come out running with you on one of your 13 milers. If they realised how much harder it is than it looks they might give you a bit more respect. I doubt they'd try it but you never know...

    And yes, it's hard, but just do your best to ignore any negative comments. Think of how good it makes you feel while you're doing it and hold on to that feeling. You SHOULD be very proud of yourself - you're doing great. Why don't you look around for a local running club and see if you could join it and go out running as part of a group? Training with other people would be great motivation and a confidence booster as well as probably helping you togradually improve your speed too.

    Or is there a sports centre with a running track anywhere near you? That would be an ideal place to train away from public view and you'd be able to get chatting with other runners...

  • As above say ignore your mates, they are just jealous of your achievements.  I’m just as slow as you and completed my first marathon in Berlin two weeks ago in 4:41, don’t care about the time... I finished! Keep on training and you will naturally become faster with time, when you are able join a running club as my improvements came on after joining a club. Good luck

  • Thanks for the advice and support (John Casy- that sounds awful, but well done! You showed them!), I'm feeling a lot better now. They're probably all used to watching Usain Bolt on TV so I look pathetic in comparison. Anyway, I'm going out for a speed training run tomorrow morning along the cliffs to try and up my time. I'll look into joining a local running club. I've still got time as I can't enter any longer races for at least another year because of my age, maybe that will put it in perspective.
  • Aww Abigail it sounds like you are doing so well so try not to be disheartened! You run faster than me for one haha image I agree, jealous friends! Ignore as there will be many as Dave says! The others have given great advice about how to get your time up which you can follow if that is what you really want to do (for you though.... not to please anyone elses perceptions of speed). Maybe a running or athletics club would be good for you, as there will be like minded people there, if your friends and family don't share your mindset. Or maybe there is a club at school?

    I felt stupid when I first started running because sometimes I had to do it so slowly in order to pace myself and train correctly! I remember someone on here said the same and then one day posted that as he ran past a group of teens (who he expected would give him grief for running slowly), one of them said "ohh cool, look that guy must be training for a marathon" image Ahhh

    For some people like me, atm, speed doesn't really matter, for some it is what it is all about, for some running is a way of life, for some just a bit of fun - YOU find what YOU want in what YOU are doing and follow it with your heart (or legs!) - don't let anyone else tell you otherwise or change what running means to you or how fast you want to or can do it.

    At your age, I wish I had have found something I felt so passionate about and was good at. At your age I was smoking and drinking in the park with my mates, wasting away with no hobbies or interests or ambitions. If you are enjoying it, relish in it, keep going and believe in yourself.

    And yes, cougie is right, you will be fitter and your friends will be fatter. And then we will see who feels self conciousimage

  • Oh and Tarquin...congrats on first Marathon!!image

  • There are plenty of videos that you can watch that will help with running form. Once you know that you look good when running you won't feel quite so quashed when silly people make silly comments.

    You are already running quite long distances for a 15 year old.

    The US RW site has a wealth of knowledge, just dip into and out of it. Don't read it all at once.,,s6-238-0-0-0,00.html

    i saw this and it made me laugh.,7120,s6-238-267--14549-0,00.html


    This should take you to the section on running form

  • JeremyGJeremyG ✭✭✭
    Well done on the running Abigail you are doing great. Unfortunately you will find that whenever you try and do anything positive with your life there will always be people trying to knock you back. Sounds very like you have the strength of character to keep on going though. Looking for a local club is a good idea as most clubs should support your aims/ambitions. Also having structured supervised training may allay some of your guardians concerns and allow you to run more than three times a week.
  • T Mouse - LOL at snotrocket image

  • I would also ignore ypur mates.......

    I was watching a cross country event.and the guys at the front looked like they were running ever so slow............and they were running twice as fast as i ever can.......


    we also noticed that hey all had different form and different ways of running...One of the best american runners ever had people for ever telling him to change his running style to a normal one yet he broke many world records.......

    let your self run naturally  and be careful you don''t run too much as it can make cause injury and also make you lose too much weight.if you get skinny this can make you look like the granny effect that they talked about


    good luck

  • In my experience, anyone who actually can run knows what sort of effort you are putting into it and would never take the mickey. The ones who make fun / abuse you are the ones who can't manage it themselves. I'd feel pity for them.

  • Unfortunately the criticism from your so called mates is pretty typical, some people will always find something to criticize ie too fat, too thin, too tall, too short etc. you just have to agree with them and make it clear that what they are saying does not bother you at all (even if it does). They will probably try to find something else that you are sensitive about to criticize, again you have to make it clear that it does not bother you. Eventually they will give up and pick on someone else. Do not allow them to stop you doing something you obviously enjoy. Why people feel the need to run people down for no good reason I do not know, maybe it is jealousy maybe they are just having a bit of fun (at your expense) who knows? Otherwise runs-with-dogs has said what I was going to say, joining a good club is an excellent next step. It is great to hear from an enthusiastic new runner! A future Olympian?

  • I'm the same, my friends don't run. 100m is my event, they've watched me train and do that in 12 seconds, but when I do a longer run they think I'm slow. I'd just ignore them, although if you want to get faster you should try do 800m, it's quite a long event, but it's training should help you.

    Good luck image
  • Haha, thanks for all the responses and advice, that snot-rocket video was hilarious T Mouse. I had a good fartlek training session this morning so I should start seeing improvements if I keep it up. I'll try to ignore my friends, I guess I'm a bit over sensitive image I've started looking into running clubs.

  • Finding a running club is great advice, there will most likely be a selection of groups at the club with generally like minded people as well. It will help your running, you will have the ability to talk to people to help point you in the right direction with your training and if your guardian is concerned about your running it may provide them with some peace of mind too if they know for at least one of your 3 sessions you are supervised. Win win.

    Ignore your mates... keep it up and have fun. Running is awesome image

  • Abigail255 wrote (see)

     I'll try to ignore my friends, I guess I'm a bit over sensitive image I've started looking into running clubs.

    I don't think you're over sensitive at all - at least no more than the average. Surveys regularly show that something like 85-90% of all women avoid exercising outdoors because they're worried about how they look and what other people will think of them. And that's without their 'friends' taking the mickey!

    You just have to work towards becoming one of the 10-15% of us who don't give a stuff what the general public think cause we're having too much fun running to care about whether we look a bit sweaty or not.

    Great to hear you're looking for a club to join. image

  • Just to back up RWD's original point. I watched Mo's 5000m in a TV room on a campsite. When they started off at their slow(!) pace cue lots of joking and comments about how people in the room could run faster than that. I was there thinking that I'd just done a track time trial of 5000m in 20:12, which was nearly 50% slower again than the pace they were "jogging", and I was pretty sure I could take down everyone in the room! People who don't run have no idea of pace. Actually, even most people who do run are pretty poor at it when they are just watching others.

  • I second everything about joining a club, you are more than ready running those distances and times!

    I'm a teacher so I get no end of verbal when I'm running - most good-natured, some not. Just let it wash over you, after all, you are doing something positive for yourself, not for their entertainment.

  • How do they know you're a teacher?

  • Probably because it's his pupils that are shouting abuse image

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