Running – a common man’s fear


In 1995, the IHRSA surveyed people asking why they avoided gym and treadmills. The most common response was a fear about the physique – the fear of looking ineffectual or clumsy.

According to a report by the government of UK in 2015, people do not want others to see them working on the treadmill, in a fear of how they might look. As per public opinion, only slim people work on gyms or are seen running in public parks; while there was a common belief that an overweight person, if incase rarely seen, would only look awful.

A general public opinion also showed that the mental demand for running was too much for a normal person – one easily gets de-motivated even before he is laced up. People who do start running keep very high goals compared to their capabilities and eventually end up falling prey to self-doubts.

These self-doubts create more fear. In the book, Elite Minds: Creating the Competitive Advantage, author Stan Beecham writes,

“There are two kinds of fear; one is the natural fear that enables a person to struggle more – like a dog chases you, your fear would release energizing adrenaline – that is how our body is designed to work. But the other fear is based on our thoughts and not on threatening or external experiences… this fear is self-generated, like fear of looking stupid or fear of failing.”

According to author Stan Beecham, a person should keep few points in mind when he starts running.


A person must first realize that his fears are internal. A person can recognize his fear by asking himself if it’s boosting his abilities or motivation – such as an ability or motivation to run. If not, this is not a natural fear but a self-generated or mental fear triggered by anxiety. One must recognize that it’s not what others would believe about you that’s creating the hurdle but your own inner thoughts. Beecham explains,

“Once you realize you’re creating the fear, you have the capacity to control it.”


Now it’s time you focus on your concern and ignore others. When a person is self-conscious, one’s mind starts to play games – the mind exaggerates thoughts and the person finds more people staring at him than he usually does, but in actuality most of those people are not even concerned about others. Beecham says,

“You are not the center of attention – other 50 or 100 people at the gym are not there to see you run on the treadmill.”


Televisions and paintings are placed in the gym for a specific purpose – to distract, to avoid discomfort and at the very same time keep you motivated. If there is no artwork or TV in the gym, one could start listening to music. Beecham discusses,

“In case, you are focused on a playlist, you would most probably not be looking at your thighs in the mirror – and in case you are more advanced, you can distract yourself with number games, tracking heart rate or calorie burn, to name some examples.”


New runners usually seem to get anxious by the physiological response of running, like racing heart or fatigued muscles. One must remember that these are actually the key strides of meeting the goal. Beecham explains,

“What is difficult is exactly what will make you get into shape and lose weight – you are actually getting positive results.”


A person’s apparel can ruin his run. It is not necessary that what one see’s in sports magazines is the right running outfit for oneself. Your outfit should suit your physique – if one is not comfortable with his clothing, he would surely end up with the thought that the sports does not suit him. Beecham says,

“Buy a running outfit which feels comfortable and confident, before you start with the gym. This way, you would be focused more on your run, than your body.”


If one makes goals for each day but quits before completing them, he would surely feel discouraged — and that might stop a person from trying again. Beecham states,

“Try not to set goals, as they create anxiety. Just run until you feel like stopping, then walk for a period of time, and then try again to run once you feel that you have recovered.”

Running – a common man’s fear – is actually one of the most effective exercises to stay fit. Don’t ignore it just because of what other people might say.