One of the main reasons people have a hard time getting into any exercise routine is that it feels awkward at first. Starting something new can get you out of your comfort zone, which can be frightening for many people. But why does running feel awkward?
Running may feel awkward because you think people are looking at you when they aren’t, or you aren’t sure if you are running ‘correctly.’ Take time to learn proper running form and practice running more frequently to feel less awkward during your runs.
Continue reading to learn more about why running feels awkward and how you can overcome this problem. We will give you several tips to improve your running confidence so you feel encouraged to keep working out.
Why does running feel awkward?
When you’re running, do you have difficulty figuring out how you want to move your arms and legs? Well, you’re not alone. Whenever you start a new workout that you’re not used to, one of the main things people feel self-conscious about is how they look doing the workout. The following are examples of reasons you may feel awkward while running.
- You’re not sure if you are doing it right
- You think everyone around you is paying attention to what you’re doing
- Starting a new workout like running breaks your day-to-day routine
You’re not sure if you’re doing it right
When you’re not used to running, it’s easy to overthink every movement you make and wonder if you’re moving correctly. You may often hear athletes talk about running form and things to do or not do during a workout. However, when you’re new to exercise, it can be difficult to tell how you look during a run without a mirror.
One way to remedy this is to have a trusted person video you while you run. Then you can compare your form on video to that of other runners, such as professional marathoners, that’s available online. In this way, you can try to correct your form immediately and bypass the long process of trial and error.
You think everyone around you is paying attention to what you’re doing
One of the biggest reasons people feel awkward running is that they feel like others are watching them do it. Feeling like you’re under the scrutiny of a stranger’s eyes can be a stressful experience. No one likes being judged while working out; you may experience this feeling even if no one’s watching you.
If you do experience this phenomenon, remember that most people overestimate how much others are thinking about or watching them. It’s just a fact of life that most humans spend the majority of their time thinking about themselves. While you may notice a goofy-looking runner for a few seconds as you drive by, the memory of that incident doesn’t exactly stick with you throughout the day.
Try to remember this when you start to feel self-conscious on your runs. If you can put the anxiety you’re feeling into perspective, you’ll likely gain enough confidence to finish the run without having to battle this mentality.
Starting a new workout like running breaks your day-to-day routine
You must adjust your daily schedule to accommodate the task whenever you try something new. So, if you’re brand-new to running, you might not be accustomed to the time commitment you need to make for this exercise. You will initially feel uncomfortable whenever you do something out of your routine. However, this discomfort will pass the more you participate in this activity.
Many people will suffer from imposter syndrome when starting a new hobby or habit. If you’re used to sitting at a desk all day, then transferring to the couch at home for the rest of the night, it may feel extremely awkward to start to consider yourself a “runner” and to carve out space each day to hit the pavement. This feeling of imposter syndrome may last until that habit becomes so engrained that it becomes a normal part of your day.
One great way to combat this feeling early on is to start treating yourself like an actual runner. For example, going out and purchasing a pair of quality running shoes and running socks can make anyone feel like a legitimate runner. If you try to go out there in loafers and dress socks, the likelihood that you begin to feel like an imposter will increase dramatically!
Is it okay to feel awkward running?
Most people feel awkward running when they’re new to it, and that’s completely okay! You may be comparing yourself to professional runners who don’t seem to have any problem completing this task. However, you need to remind yourself that you are not a professional yet, and many others have been in your shoes.
Whenever you try anything new, you’ll feel awkward right off the bat. However, you should never let this feeling prevent you from engaging and healthy activities that can improve your life, like running. Remember, we are our own biggest critics, and the outside world doesn’t scrutinize you as much as you do.
The best thing you can do is get to the root of your awkward feeling to minimize it and increase your confidence. For instance, if you’re worried about your form, then you could practice your form in the mirror before you run outside.
How do I change the way I run?
If running makes you uncomfortable or awkward, you might need to change a few things. You can do this in several ways, from observing other runners’ breathing styles and forms to bringing a partner with you for emotional support.
Having anxiety about running in public is a common experience, and in many cases, it’s simply a case of the person overthinking things. But there are some tips and best practices that you can implement when it comes to running form that can help you feel more confident.
Of course, changing the way you run requires patience and practice. If it feels overwhelming, you can try incorporating these changes one by one until the new running form feels natural.
How do you run normally?
Learning to run can be stressful at first, but it will be easy once you practice. If you’ve been running wrong for a while, you can adjust this behavior by practicing the steps below.
- When you run, keep your back straight and avoid slouching as much as possible. Some people are predisposed to slouching; you should correct this when exercising.
- Pace yourself when you run, and try not to focus on your speed. The most important thing you need to do as a beginning runner is to build your endurance.
- Aim the strike on the middle of your foot.
- Keep your strides close together to avoid pulling a muscle.
How do you breathe when running?
You will need to use both your nose and mouth during your run. At first, this will feel uncomfortable because most people are not used to breathing through their mouths.
You need to breathe this way because you need to take more air than usual when running. So, if you catch yourself with your mouth open while running, don’t feel inclined to close it. Your body opens your mouth to bring in more air to your lungs.
Why do my legs look weird when I run?
If you feel like your legs look weird while you run, you may be overthinking things. Of course, there are proper running forms and improper forms, and it could be that you simply aren’t using running form best practices, but it’s very likely that you’re the only one thinking about the way your legs look while running.
Whether or not that’s the case, here are some tips for maintaining proper running form.
- Lift your knees to at least a 45° angle with each stride.
- Don’t allow your feet to flail out to the sides; keep your lower half in line with your torso.
- Make sure your foot strikes are soft and that you land in the middle of your foot, not on the heels or toes.
- Keep your chest up and your shoulders back.
- Lock your elbows in at 90° angles or less, and don’t pump from the elbow, but rotate your arms from the shoulder.
- Make sure you get a full stride in with each step; think about reaching out with each stride and pushing forward with each step.
- Keep your head up and look forward, not down at your feet, when running.
How to not feel awkward when running and build your confidence
Building your confidence is key to removing all feelings of awkwardness when running. However, this won’t happen overnight. You can follow several tips to improve your confidence during your run.
- Practice your run at home.
- Observe other people running
- Recognize that you’re not alone
- Run often
- Have a buddy tag along
Practice your run at home
The best way to get comfortable running is to practice running at home first. If you’re concerned about your form, then trying to practice in public may only increase your nerves. Even if you don’t have a lot of room at your house, you can practice your form in the mirror before you run outside to build your confidence.
Just remember, if you’re wondering how to not look weird when running, the issue is more likely one of confidence than it is an issue of running technique.
Observe other people running
If you’re unsure about how you look when you run, you may want to look at other runners and how they look. When you run, you’re going to get sweaty and gross because you are exercising, but other people aren’t paying any mind to it because this is normal. You’ll realize how normal it is to watch other runners do their thing.
Recognize you’re not alone
You aren’t the first person new to running and feeling awkward about it, and you won’t be the last. Whenever anyone tries something new, there’s a certain degree of awkwardness that you can expect until you get the hang of it. Reminding yourself that you’re not the only person experiencing these awkward feelings can help you push through this feeling until you’re comfortable.
The more you run, the more comfortable you’ll feel doing it. Your first running sessions will feel uncomfortable and awkward because you’re not used to it. However, as you get used to it, it will feel like second nature. Push past the initial awkward stage by encouraging yourself to keep going.
Have a buddy tag along
Bringing someone you know to your next run is a great way to create a familiar and fun environment. Not only was your bond with the person you run with, but you’ll also feel less alone and more comfortable learning how to run with someone new to it. Laughing off the awkwardness together is a great way to minimize the feeling for both of you.
Why do I feel weird or awkward while running?
While you might have some issues with your running form or technique, the most likely reason is due to a lack of self-confidence. If you find yourself thinking a lot about the way you look to other people while running, you should consider the possibility that nobody cares what your running form looks like, and your anxiety is completely self-imposed!
How can I get more confident when running in public?
To gain confidence in anything, you should do that thing a lot. When you’re so used to getting up in the morning and performing the task of running in public that it becomes automatic, you’ll start to think of yourself as the person who gets up and runs in public. However, your first couple of times might be more challenging as you’ll likely deal with imposters syndrome.
Why do I have awkward running form?
If you’re just a beginner, you’ll probably develop some awkward running habits. This is completely normal. However, the more you practice and the more you watch other runners, the more natural your technique will become.
- About the Author
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Joshua Bartlett is a professional amateur when it comes to running – basically, he takes his mediocre running ability very seriously.
As the Editor-in-Chief at Saltmarsh Running, it is his job to make sure that readers get only highly-researched and comprehensive questions to all of their running questions.