Why Does Running Feel Awkward? (Tips on Improving Running Confidence)

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.

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 do I feel awkward running?

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. 

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. 

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. 

Is it okay to feel awkward running?

woman overcoming awkwardness in 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.

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.

How to run without feeling awkward 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.

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. 

Run often

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.