Defeating Your Running Excuses

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I have a little over a month to train for a relay, and I’ve been coming up with all kinds of excuses not to run. I have been de-railing myself for the past few months. Some of my excuses were completely legitimate: the flu, a stress fracture. But some have just been ridiculous.

Now is the time for me to face these excuses and deny them the power to keep me from training.

If I let my excuses keep me from training now, I’m going to have a really hard time running Wild Rogue Relay.

The following is a list of the excuses I’ve used to avoid running. While we can make excuse after excuse when we are lacking motivation, the main thing to remember is to just get out there and run. The only way to beat the excuses is to not give them any headspace.

1.     I will run tomorrow – This is one of my best excuses. As it gets later and later in the day and I’ve successfully procrastinated, this is my go-to. I will just run tomorrow. Then as tomorrow comes and goes, I still haven’t run. You get the picture. Don’t run tomorrow; run today.

2.     I’m too tired – I lead a busy life like many others. I get tired with all of the stressors throughout the day. I know that running will energize me, but I tend to ignore that and just wallow in my exhaustion. If you are too tired to run, get your shoes on anyway and get in a mile or two. Some running is so much better than none at all.

3.     I’m sick – There are times when you can run when you’re sick. If you don’t have a fever, you aren’t coughing with every small movement, or puking, get out there for a short run. It will probably make you feel better.

4.     I haven’t fueled properly – Another one of my favorites. I hate bonking. And if I feel like I haven’t eaten right during the day, or eaten at all, I will be afraid to run. There are plenty of people who wake up in the morning and run 13 miles without eating first. It’s good training to be able to run through a fast. So, I feel like this is a lame excuse for me.

5.     I just ate – There is nothing worse than running right after you eat. Either you experience acid reflux/indigestion, you get a tummy cramp, or you are just really sluggish and heavy. I like to wait at least half an hour after eating before I start running. Or eat a minimal amount of bland food to avoid intestinal issues.

6.     My (insert body part here) hurts – We all know that if we have pain while running, we should monitor and assess it. Does it hurt while not running? Take a few rest days. Does it go away after running a little while? Keep running. If you are in a good deal of pain, stop and rest. Try to run again in a few days. If you still aren’t good, go see a doctor.

7.     It’s too cold – I don’t like being cold. I actually hate being cold. If it’s cold outside, I will usually run on my treadmill. I know – I’m a serious wimp. If I am forced to run outside in the cold, I will wear layers and a good hat that covers my ears. And my running gloves are a must. Having a good running jacket will also make a big difference in your comfort during a cold weather run.

8.     It’s raining – I live on the Oregon Coast, so rain is something I have to deal with. And to be honest, I don’t mind it at all. If you use rain as an excuse, dressing appropriately for the wet weather will help keep you more comfortable. Read my article on How to Embrace the Rainy Run for some extra tips on enjoying a wet run.

9.     It’s too hot – I don’t like running in hot weather either. Since I live on the Oregon Coast, we don’t get many hot days. In fact, I enter an intense weather-checking obsession before every Hood to Coast. I pray and fret that the weather won’t get over 80 degrees. There are a few ways to beat this excuse, though: Make sure you are properly hydrated, bring water with you, drench your hat in water, wear a cooling towel around your neck, wear light-colored clothing that won’t absorb the sun’s heat. If you have control of the time of day you will be running, plan it for morning or evening when the weather is a little cooler.

10.  I’m too busy – This may not be an excuse; you may really be too busy. You may not have an hour or two to go for a long run. With warm up, cool down, showering, etc. a one-hour run can turn into an hour and a half to two hours of your day. If I am lacking in time, I like to break my long run into two segments. An early-morning run and a run late in the evening.

It may also be that you need to re-prioritize your day. Do you really need to play that game on your cell phone for an hour (guilty!)? Do you need to scroll through social media for that long? Can you run on your lunch break? Can you meal prep on the weekends so you aren’t spending so much time cooking on weeknights? There are at least 150 ways to get creative with your time if you are serious about running.

There is one thing we should ALWAYS say to ourselves when excuses start creeping in. Repeat it loud and often to yourself: “I always feel better after a run. I’ve never regretted running.”

Analyze your excuse to see if you are legitimately too (insert reason here), or if you are just trying to talk yourself out of running.

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About Author

Liz Ward

Liz Ward is a running fanatic, avid reader, and amateur farmer. She lives on the Oregon Coast with her husband, three kids, and a small herd of animals.

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