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YOU’RE A BETTER YOU THINK

LACK CONFIDENCE IN YOUR RUNNING, EVEN THOUGH YOU’VE BEEN DOING IT FOR A LONG TIME? WOMEN MAY LACK SELF-BELIEF WHEN IT COMES TO RUNNING, BUT WE’RE ACTUALLY FAR BETTER AT IT THAN WE THINK, SAYS CHRISTINA MACDONALD

BUILDING CONFIDENCE

How much respect do you have for your running ability? Through years of interviewing female runners, I’ve noticed many of us don’t consider ourselves ‘real runners’. It doesn’t matter how far we can run, we are still reluctant to call ourselves runners. I’ve completed two marathons, 10 half-marathons and numerous 10Ks, yet I don’t consider myself a real runner. I’ll often compare myself to slim, fast runners and minimise my achievements. “I don’t have too much confidence in my ability of running. I still compare myself to others”, says Brenda Doig, who has been running for 10 years.

“I have no confidence in my running”, says Crystal Parker. “I don’t feel like a real runner at all. I feel like a fake as I’m slow and it hurts. I have completed three triathlons and I still feel like a fraud at race start lines.” “I definitely lack confidence in my running”, says Katie Bates. “No matter the distance, there’s always a nagging doubt in my mind as to whether I’m able to complete it. This is after four years of running.”

Men on the other hand, can overestimate what they can achieve and push themselves too hard sometimes. I used to run at lunchtime with my female colleagues, and we would be happy with a gentle plod along the river. Our male colleagues preferred an entirely different experience. It would turn into an all-out sprint to see who was the fastest. One guy pushed himself so hard he came back to work with chest pain. A study dating back to 1977 suggests females are less confident than men in competitive situations. Cathy D Lirgg, Associate Professor at the University of Arkansas, wrote in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology about the ‘gender differences in self-confidence in physical activity’. “Females demonstrate less confidence than men in all achievement situations”, she noted.

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About Women’s Running

Discover the healing power of running with the March issue of Women’s Running, on sale 25 January. Find out how running can help treat depressive disorders, clear the mind and manage stressful life situations. And hear from women who have experienced these benefits for themselves, such as cover star Charlie Watson, who shares how running – and blogging – has helped her to manage stress and anxiety. Keen to start running but daunted by the prospect of having to run for miles without a break? Discover Jeff Galloway’s hugely successful Run Walk Run training method, which has helped thousands to start running, stay injury free and even qualify for the Boston Marathon. We’ve got all things marathon training covered in this issue, too. You’ll find three 12-week training plans for beginner, intermediate and experienced marathoners, as well as expert advice on getting marathon fit on reduced mileage. Plus, don’t miss our recipes for delicious, homemade fuelling snacks or our leg-focused strength-training workout, both supporting your stamina and strength, whatever your training goals.