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Running for Beginners

Running for Beginners

In 2003, I said that the only time you’d ever find me running was if Godzilla were chasing me. Then, a year later, I ran a trail marathon in November 2004. Marathons are officially 26.2 miles. Since that point, I’ve falling quite off that wagon, due to work pressures, and some lifestyle changes, and I couldn’t run a single mile in a row. However, that’s about to change.

How does a fat guy get fit enough to run? Are you thinking of taking up running? Here’s some advice:

Trails versus Street

First, a word about trail running. Trails are softer which gives two immediate results. One, your knees thank you for less painful impact. Two, because trails are less solid than streets, you end up running slower than your maximum potential. This is great from my perspective, because I have a habit of overdoing it. I want the slowdown.

The Right Shoes

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It’s really important to us proper footwear. I learned firsthand all the crazy things that can go wrong. I will throw out there, however, that barefoot running is a really small niche interest right now, and I’ve tried it on beaches and on safe trails, and I loved it.

Every one is different and there are all kinds of articles out there for selecting shoes. Just know that you need new shoes, you need them to be really well fit for your needs (for instance, you take a larger shoe size for running than you do for casual wear), and that you need the right kind of support for the way your feet land. Google around for this, or email me. I’ll help you further, if you’d like.

Run / Walk Programs

When I had my first running breakthrough, it was this: you are still a runner if you have to slow down and walk for a bit. John Bingham’s great book, NO NEED FOR SPEED, was an excellent resource for me in learning how to run. All of John’s products are great that way, and “The Penguin,” as he likes to call himself, is a wealth of knowledge unto himself.

Standard Disclaimer: see your physician before trying this or any other program. This is just for informational use and doesn’t constitute something worth doing. Worked for me.

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Here’s a sample of a run/walk program that I mentioned to a friend the other day. The “R” stands for running, and the “W” stands for walking. The number is for how many minutes of each one might do. I do this in multiples of 30 minutes for the first few weeks. As time progresses, I consider adding more minutes (maybe another cycle of the run/walk program) into the mix. The basic premise is to slowly build yourself up to running more and walking less. Each line represents a week of training:

Warm up by walking briskly for 2 minutes, maybe 3. Then, start this:

  • 1R , 4W x 6 times. Week 1
  • 1R , 3W x 7 times. Week 2
  • 2R, 3W x 6 times. Week 3
  • 2R, 2W x 7 times. Week 4
  • 3R, 3W x 5 times. Week 5
  • 3R, 2W x 6 times. Week 6
  • 3R, 1W x 7 times. Week 7
  • 4R, 2W x 5 times. Week 8
  • 4R, 1W x 6 times. Week 9
  • FULL Running for 30 minutes.

If you have to skip a running minute or two early on, do so. Just walk briskly and catch your breath. Don’t be religious about this. Make it work for you.

How FAST?

When I’m saying running, this is basically a step above brisk walking. Think of it as a controlled shuffle. Focus on turning your feet over quickly, and not running fast. Just keep thinking about turning your feet over, which should be slightly longer strides than if your shoes were tied together, but not big huge gaping stretches. With a run/walk program, the trick is to keep the “difference” between the running and the walking down to a minimum, so when you’re walking and catching your breath a bit, make sure that’s still a brisk walk.

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Don’t worry about speed. Get your distance and your duration up. Then, speed will come out of your endurance and your toning.

Mileage versus Minutes

I’m a bigger fan of minutes versus miles, but as you get faster and better, and more confident in your running, you might switch. The best thing to realize is: unless you’re trying out for a world-class team, there is no official right or wrong way to do it, only strong suggestions and passionate people on either side of every possible schism one could experience. This is how *I* did it the first time, and how I plan to do it next.

Hydration, Eating

First, get a lexan water bottle. The famous brand name is Nalgene. They are recycling number 7, in case you’re being offered a ripoff. In the US, they cost around $7 on the low end. But why? Because those bottles handle bacteria way better than when you re-use your disposable water bottles, and they’re nicer on the environment. Having them around makes you want to drink more. And other hacks I haven’t considered.

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A note about eating: do so a half hour or so before you run. An hour’s best, but fit it into your schedule. What’s good to eat (and NOT good to eat) before a run? High carbs and low glycemic index food, like energy bars (CLIF Bar is my personal favorite), Oatmeal is easy, even the instant kind. What NOT to have are things high in fats, like sausage. Peanut butter is usually a great energy food, but keep it to maybe 1 table spoon along with a slice of multigrain bread.

The point is, it’s important to have energy in the tank. The more you have ready for your run, the better you’ll feel while trying to run.

Your Advice

I’m open to your advice. One thing that’s certain about things like running: you’ll get about 50/50 responses to the above where some will say, “This is full of crap” or “that’s not running, that’s jogging” or whatever. You know what? YOU are the person qualified to tell whether advice works for you. If it’s running to you, it’s running to me. But what else will you add? I’m looking for tips before I get out all the lead and start running this week.

–Chris Brogan produces a weekly audio podcast called Fat Guy Gets Fit. He’s looking for more subscribers. Don’t make him beg.

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Last Updated on November 5, 2020

Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Overcome It)

Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Overcome It)

Nobody enjoys failing. Fear of failure can be so strong that avoiding failure eclipses the motivation to succeed. Insecurity about doing things incorrectly causes many people to unconsciously sabotage their chances for success.

Fear is part of human nature. As an entrepreneur, I faced this same fear. My ego and identity became intertwined with my work, and when things didn’t go as planned, I completely shut down. I overcame this unhealthy relationship with fear, and I believe that you can, too.

Together we’ll examine how you can use failure to your advantage instead of letting it run your life. We’ll also look at how to overcome fear of failure so that you can enjoy success in your work and life.

What Is Fear of Failure?

If you are afraid of failure, it will cause you to avoid potentially harmful situations.

Fear of failure keeps you from trying, creates self-doubt, stalls progress, and may lead you to go against your morals.

What causes a fear of failure? Here are the main reasons why fear of failing exists:

Patterns From Childhood

Hyper-critical adults cause children to internalize damaging mindsets.[1] They establish ultimatums and fear-based rules. This causes children to feel the constant need to ask for permission and reassurance. They carry this need for validation into adulthood.

Perfectionism

Perfectionism is often at the root of a fear of failure.[2] For perfectionists, failure is so terrible and humiliating that they don’t try. Stepping outside your comfort zone becomes terrifying.

Over-Personalization

The ego may lead us to over-identify with failures. It’s hard to look beyond failure at things like the quality of the effort, extenuating circumstances, or growth opportunities.[3]

False Self-Confidence

People with true confidence know they won’t always succeed. A person with fragile self-confidence avoids risks. They’d rather play it safe than try something new.[4]

How the Fear of Failure Holds You Back

Unhealthy Organization Culture

Too many organizations today have cultures of perfection: a set of organizational beliefs that any failure is unacceptable. Only pure, untainted success will do.

Imagine the stress and terror in an organization like that. The constant covering up of the smallest blemishes. The wild finger-pointing as everyone tries to shift the blame for the inevitable messes onto someone else. The lying, cheating, falsification of data, and hiding of problems—until they become crises that defy being hidden any longer.

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Miss out on Valuable Opportunities

If some people fail to reach a complete answer because of the lure of some early success, many more fail because of their ego-driven commitment to what worked in the past. You often see this with senior people, especially those who made their names by introducing some critical change years ago.

They shy away from further innovation, afraid that this time they might fail, diminishing the luster they try to keep around their names from past triumph.

Besides, they reason, the success of something new might even prove that those achievements they made in the past weren’t so great after all. Why take the risk when you can hang on to your reputation by doing nothing?

Such people are so deeply invested in their egos and the glories of their past that they prefer to set aside opportunities for future glory rather than risk even the possibility of failure.

High Achievers Become Losers

Every talent contains an opposite that sometimes turns it into a problem. Successful people like to win and achieve high standards. This can make them so terrified of failure that it ruins their lives. When a positive trait, like achievement, becomes too strong in someone’s life, it’s on the way to becoming a major obstacle.

Achievement is a powerful value for many successful people. They’ve built their lives on it. They achieve at everything they do: school, college, sports, the arts, hobbies, work. Each fresh achievement adds to the power of the value in their lives.

Gradually, failure becomes unthinkable. Maybe they’ve never failed yet in anything that they’ve done, so they have no experience of rising above it. Failure becomes the supreme nightmare: a frightful horror they must avoid at any cost.

The simplest way to do this is never to take a risk, stick rigidly to what you know you can do, protect yourself, work the longest hours, double and triple check everything, and be the most conscientious and conservative person in the universe.

If constant hard work, diligence, brutal working schedules and harrying subordinates won’t ward off the possibility of failing, use every other possible means to to keep it away. Falsify numbers, hide anything negative, conceal errors, avoid customer feedback, constantly shift the blame for errors onto anyone too weak to fight back.

Loss of Creativity

Over-achievers destroy their own peace of mind and the lives of those who work for them. People too attached to “goodness” and morality become self-righteous bigots. Those whose values for building close relationships become unbalanced slide into smothering their friends and family with constant expressions of affection and demands for love in return.

Everyone likes to succeed. The problem comes when fear of failure is dominant, when you can no longer accept the inevitability of making mistakes, nor recognize the importance of trial and error in finding the most creative solution.

The more creative you are, the more errors you are going to make. Deciding to avoid the errors will destroy your creativity, too.

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Balance counts more than you think. Some tartness must season the sweetest dish. A little selfishness is valuable even in the most caring person. And a little failure is essential to preserve everyone’s perspective on success.

We hear a lot about being positive. Maybe we also need to recognize that the negative parts of our lives and experience have just as important a role to play in finding success, in work, and in life.

How to Overcome Fear of Failure (Step-by-Step)

1. Figure out Where the Fear Comes From

Ask yourself what the root cause of your negative belief could be.[5] When you look at the four main causes for a fear of failure, which ones resonate with you?

Write down where you think the fear comes from, and try to understand it as an outsider.

If it helps, imagine you’re trying to help one of your best friends. Perhaps your fear stems from something that happened in your childhood, or a deep-seated insecurity.

Naming the source of the fear takes away some of its power.

2. Reframe Beliefs About Your Goal

Having an all or nothing mentality leaves you with nothing sometimes. Have a clear vision for what you’d like to accomplish but include learning something new in your goal.

If you always aim for improvement and learning, you are much less likely to fail.[6]

At Pixar, people are actually encouraged to “fail early and fail fast.”[7] They encourage experimentation and innovation so that they can stay on the cutting edge. That mindset involves failure, but as long as they achieve their vision of telling great stories, all the stumbling blocks are just opportunities to grow.

3. Learn to Think Positive

In many cases, you believe what you tell yourself. Your internal dialogue affects how you react and behave.

Our society is obsessed with success, but it’s important to recognize that even the most successful people encounter failure.

Walt Disney was once fired from a newspaper because they thought he lacked creativity. He went on to found an animation studio that failed. He never gave up, and now Disney is a household name.

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Steve Jobs was also once fired from Apple before returning as the face of the company for many years. [8]

If Disney and Jobs had believed the negative feedback, they wouldn’t have made it.

It’s up to you to notice your negative self talk and identify triggers[9]. Replace negative thoughts with positive facts about yourself and the situation. You’ll be able to create a new mental scripts that you can reach for when you feel negativity creeping in. The voice inside your head has a great effect on what you do.

How To Be A Positive Thinker: Positivity Exercises, Affirmations, & Quotes

    4. Visualize all Potential Outcomes

    Uncertainty about what will happen next is terrifying. Take time to visualize the possible outcomes of your decision. Think about the best and worst-case scenarios. You’ll feel better if you’ve already had a chance to mentally prepare for what could happen.

    Fear of the unknown might keep you from taking a new job. Weigh the pros and cons, and imagine potential successes and failures in making such a life-altering decision. Knowing how things could turn out might help you get unstuck.

    5. Look at the Worst-Case Scenario

    There are times when the worst case could be absolutely devastating. In many cases, if something bad happens, it won’t be the end of the world.

    It’s important to define how bad the worst case scenario is in the grand scheme of your life. Sometimes, we give situations more power than they deserve. In most cases, a failure is not permanent.

    For example, when you start a new business, it’s bound to be a learning experience. You’ll make decisions that don’t pan out, but often that discomfort is temporary. You can change your strategy and rebound. Even in the worst case scenario, if the perceived failure led to the end of that business, it might be the launching point for something new.

    6. Have a Backup Plan

    It never hurts to have a backup plan. The last thing you want to do is scramble for a solution when the worst has happened. The old adage is solid wisdom:

    “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”

    Having a backup plan gives you more confidence to move forward and take calculated risks.

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    Perhaps you’ve applied for a grant to fund an initiative at work. In the worst-case scenario, if you don’t get the grant, are there other ways you could get the funds?

    There are usually multiple ways to tackle a problem, so having a backup is a great way to reduce anxiety about possible failure.

    7. Learn From Whatever Happens

    Things may not go the way you planned, but that doesn’t automatically mean you’ve failed. Learn from whatever arises.[10] Even a less than ideal situation can be a great opportunity to make changes and grow.

    “Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.”

    Dig deep enough, and you’re bound to find the silver lining. When you’ve learned that “failure” is an opportunity for growth instead of a death sentence, you conquer the fear of failure.

    For more tips on how to overcome fear of failure, check out the video below:

    Final Thoughts

    To overcome fear of failure, we can start by figuring out where it comes from and reframing the way we feel about failure. When failure is a chance for growth, and you’ve looked at all possible outcomes, it’s easier to overcome fear.

    Stay positive, have a backup plan, and learn from whatever happens. Your failures will be sources of education and inspiration rather than humiliation.

    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas A. Edison

    Failures can be blessings in disguise. Go boldly in the direction of your dreams and long-term goals.

    More Tips for Conquering Fear

    Featured photo credit: Patrick Hendry via unsplash.com

    Reference

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