Feeling Self Conscious

Hi everyone.  I only started running back in February of this year and that was on a treadmill.  I didn't venture outside until a couple of months later and then it wasn't very often.

Now I do all my runs outside and love it but I have to go to places where it's very quiet or else I get up at 5.30 and run then when there are no people around because I just feel really self conscious about the way I look.  I am female, 5'11 and am basically all legs.  I look like a struggling giraffe when I run.

I have only just purchased myself a pair of 3/4 running tights and have worn them twice because I just feel that I look so lanky and skinny in them and that people are laughing at me.

I tend to just wear tracksuit bottoms all the time and still wont run around the streets in daylight hours because of how I feel.  I would love to just not care what people think and I haven't been heckled...yet, but I know that if I went to more public places I would be.

Any advice on how to get over this?  Apologies if this has been asked before but I just wanted to to put my feelings out there too.


  • Hi.you haven't been heckled yet...you are lucky..virtually all runners are heckled at sometime or another.doesn't matter what size or speed you are..someone somewhere will heckle you.........I'm sure all the pros get it as well......

    think what you would do if heckled.....like most of us you would just ignore them......and carry o with your run.......

    when you walk down the street normally do you get a lot of heckling because of your long slim legs.....I expect that you would not get anything more whilst running.the odd stupid comment we all get....

    why not start off finding where your local park run is.these are free to all every saturday morning around the country..........run these and you will see there are all shapes.....

    and then just go out and run and enjoy yourself......

  • why not try running with someone else you know that runs or a club? No-one else that runs is going to comment on what you look like, and a whole club running round the streets is very unilkely to get heckled.

    I agree with kk though - it is more of a self-confidence problem than a running problem. I never get heckled when I run in public.

  • I have just started to go to my local Parkrun and I do really enjoy that and you are right I don't feel self conscious when running in a group of people. 

    You are all right, it is a self confidence/psychological thing about the way I look, but it's more the running kit that makes me feel a little more so than just my every day wear. 

    I would love to join a club, but there again I have a confidence problem about doing that too because I feel that I am not fast enough yet!

    I really need to learn to just not care what people think when I am out running.

  • Turn up at a park run and you will see people of all shapes and sizes. You will also see that it doesn't matter what shape and size you are. People seriously don't care.... image

    Be bold.
  • I was worried about not being fast enough for a club, so I carefuly chose a club that said they welcome beginners. I am one of the slowest there, but no-one minds and it is helping me to speed up

  • talk to teh people at the park run..........you should be able to find a local club with people of your standard.take the plunge.nothing to lose


    good luck

  • Thanks for the advice everyone. Will definitely ask at the parkrun.
  • StiltsStilts ✭✭✭
    Embrace your height and slim figure - most people probably look at you in envy - that's if they look at you at all. Save your energy for running and enjoy it, don't waste time worrying about what other people think, you don't know them and you don't know what they're thinking anyway. If you want to run get out and run, life's too short to be worrying about what you look like, after all you don't have to look at yourself!!

    I am also tall and lanky, deathly pale (Irish), pushing 50, two kids and a job, recent life threatening illness, and I seriously don't give a f*ck what I look like, I mean one red faced sweaty runner looks much the same as another image

    Never been heckled in 8 years of running.
  • Thanks Katrina. I really admire you for being like that. It's the best way to be. And to come through a life threatening illness just really puts things into perspective.

    True that one runner just looks like every other really too. You have really made me feel a lot better.
  • I can't see that you would get heckled, it's not that common but when I first started running I got a few... "fatty" and shit like that. I'm not fat anymore. Anyway, if someone did heckle you then I seriously wouldn't let it bother you. Why would a moron's opinion have an impact? If they don't matter then why worry? to be honest most people who are runners that I know generally want others to do well so park run is ideal. Only worry about the opinions of those that matter, friends and supportive influences. Any negative people can jog on.
  • Good advice given so far..  I expect that someone will should a heckling remark to you at some stage... and when they do, you've got to remember the comments here - that everyone gets a heckle from time to time.

    Of course, other people will not be viewing you as critcally as you're viewing yourself, but if you're worried about your legs, one thing I don't understand.  You say you've just bought 3/4 tights.  What did you wear before that?

    If it's a big issue, then why don't you wear baggier light training leggings/joggers?  Not a bad thing for these winter months - and by the spring, hopefully you'll have picked up increased confidence by then.


  • I've just started and felt similar to you, but I got used to it. I run alone a lot of the time and pass people on the pavement, I've had nothing untoward happen but I'm sure from having read around the forums on here, someone will shout something.

    But whatever they shout, remember you're running and they aren't - that's my thought process that gets me through anyway!

  • I know how you feel i have lost 11 stone in weight and still feel like i dont feel part of a runner i have competed in my first ever half marathon after 13 weeks of training and come in under 2 hrs i have flabby bits round my midrift most runners look fab and lean and this make me nervous to join a running club in which my one of my friends is part of its a confidence thing and its holding me back from coming a semi good runner

  • I find you just get used to it over time. Men can get heckled just as much as women, sometimes more! I used to live near a girls school and had to endure all kinds of stuff from 'hairy legs' to 'hey I can see you underwear' etc. image

  • I'm 5ft 10, 16.5 stone and had same problem. I didn't run for years and started running with a friend who already runs 30+ miles a week. I was paranoid about how I looked too start with so we stayed in parks and canals. Now I run 16.5 miles at weekend through streets. Most times we having a chat as running anyway so find not take notice of anyone else around. When I go on own then i put music on! Take no notice of what anyone shouts or says. I not had anyone shout anything yet and tbh most people really don't care.
  • I remember once going for a run and I forgot my headphones, along the way a couple of kids thought it would be hilarious to run along side me. They had a shock when I told them there was only another 5 miles to go as I sped up and left them behind. Of course I did have to stop round the corner and catch my breath as I ran off too quick thinking I was Mr Bolt for a second or two.

  • I was quite self conscious when I started (although unfortunately not because I'm tall and lanky), but you just have to ignore people. I've had a few beeps from drivers (I curse my Sunday runs if I time it with the end of the football!) but nothing worse. I've never really had any comments from children, except for once when they shouted at me if I was cold (it was sub zero), and I just shouted back that it made me run faster to keep warm! But in the end I don't really care if some anonymous lorry driver wants to beep- he probably does that to every female runner he sees. I've had more grief off my neighbours!

  • when I started running I was self conscious, not about my body but about my ability.

    I thought people would think what a crap runner I was and take the p1ss

    I would run in jeans and a t-shirt, so when I when I had to walk it didn't look like I was a failed runner walking, just a sweaty person in jeansimage

    By the time I got up to a continuous mile (1 lap of the block)  I lost interest in what people thought,

    I've been heckled loads of time, nothing personal just the usual run forrest run, get those knees up, etc etc.

    I see all sizes, shapes and abilities running and only admire them for having a go.

  • Thanks everyone.    I feel a bit better now reading all your posts.  I enjoy running so much and it makes me feel really good so I am going to force myself to just not care what I look like and get out there and do it.

    Am really enjoying the Parkruns so that's a start for me with regard to running in front of others.

  • I'm new ish to running and started off not far short of 19st. I'm now under 17 and dropping, and have done two half marathons.

    I started running after a disparaging comment about my weight from someone I didn't know from Adam. I used him as the motivation to train harder. I wanted to see his face at the end of the race so I could stick two fingers up at him.

    Worked for me. I used to care what people thought about me running but not now. They can all sod off. I acknowledge everyone I meet, walkers, runners, dog walkers, the lot. Nearly always get a nod or hello. It's an ego boost I like
  • Good for you Steve.  Well done on losing weight too and to everyone else here who has lost weight as well, you are all doing great.

    I love your way of thinking!  One day I hope I will be able to think like that.

  • You must have started running about the same time i did iluv. I felt really self conscious as I had to stop every minute or so, I pretended I was either fastening my laces or answering an emergency text MSG. People who shout out negative things are only showing their own lack of intelligence and humanity.


  • It took a while because I'm not the most confident of people. Gym helped but I felt I had to bite the bullet as my first half was multi terrain, and you can't train for that properly on a treadmill!!

    There were people a lot bigger and less fit than me running it too!
  • When I started running, I only ran at night because I was self-conscious as I'm not the most elegant runner. Then I joined a club and realised that everyone runs differently anyway.

    The way I see it is - how many runners do you see and take the mick out of? For me, that figure is a big zero and if I don't, then probably nobody else does.

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