How I Overcome My Running Excuses
I always feel better starting my day with a good long run. Because of that, I don’t want to let excuses get in the way. A lot of times, that takes some effort and determination. I mean, let’s face it — if I only ran on days when I had plenty of spare time, the weather was perfect, I felt my best, and I was totally motivated, I don’t think I would run anywhere near as often as I do.
In some cases, this means overcoming a mental block, while in other cases, it means a little bit of planning ahead. But if you, like me, are trying to stay consistent in your training routine, you have to overcome the many excuses you’ll make to yourself (and you’ll be surprised by how many there are).
Here are the four most common excuses I think all runners face, and this is what I have found works for me when I’m trying to overcome them:
Excuse #1: I don’t have time.
Life can get busy. You’re working 9 to 5 (sometimes longer!), you have commitments in the evening, you want to socialize when you can. But we all have the same 24 hours in a day, and we have time for what we make a priority.
Because I’m a morning runner, the solution for me was fairly easy — I just had to get up earlier. I always set my alarm with the intention of giving myself at least two hours to run before I have any other commitment. Some of you who are reading this might not be morning people, and that’s OK. The point is that I made an appointment with myself and I honored it. Whether you make that appointment in the middle of the afternoon or sometime later in the evening, what’s important is that you say, “This is something I am clearing my schedule for,” the same way you would a club meeting, a doctor’s visit, or a weekly errand.
Excuse #2: The weather is terrible.
There’s nothing worse than having to go out running in foul weather. It might be really cold, really hot, pouring rain, or pounding snow. While you can’t control the weather, you can control the way you’re dressed when you go out in it.
Invest in the right gear so that you’re able to withstand anything Mother Nature sends your way. Waterproof jackets and brimmed caps will make a huge difference in the rain. Thermal material will keep you warm even when it’s freezing outside. And moisture-wicking T-shirts or just going shirtless will help you stay cool when the weather is unbearably hot.
Now, keep in mind, there are some days when the weather really is too bad for running — you could be putting yourself in danger if you go out running in a thunderstorm or triple-digit heat. Use your better judgment.
But one point I will make is how great I feel when I come home from running in terrible weather. I feel way more accomplished and unconquerable than I would if I were running when it was 70 degrees and sunny. I also know plenty of people who find that they really enjoy running in “bad” conditions, such as a light rain. For me, I love running in the snow. Who knows…you might find yourself surprised!
Excuse #3: Running is boring.
Even the most dedicated runners feel a little uninspired on some days. That’s all right. That probably means you need to switch up your routine a little bit. Find something entertaining to occupy you while you’re running. Listen to an audiobook, podcast, or music. You could also bring a friend along as a running buddy/accountability partner, or you could give a friend a call to talk to you over your Bluetooth while you’re running.
Another way to keep running exciting is to constantly scout out new routes and locations. I’m pretty content tackling the same route every day as long as I have a good playlist, but some people don’t want to see the same sights every single day. When your neighborhood gets too boring, it’s time to find a picturesque park or a trail.
Excuse #4: I’m injured.
If you’re really injured, I won’t argue with this one. Don’t ever run with an injury. If you hurt yourself in some kind of way, you should consult a doctor about the best way you can heal yourself. Otherwise, you could end up exacerbating the injury and doing some long-term damage.
But it’s important to ask yourself: Is it really an injury, or are you just a little sore? There are plenty of times when I feel a little bit of tightness, soreness, or just general discomfort, but I’m not actually injured. With a little bit of stretching and slowly easing myself into a run, I start to feel a lot better. By the time I’ve been running for a little while, the discomfort completely goes away. I don’t advocate trying to push yourself through pain — pain is a sign something is wrong. But if it’s just a minor discomfort, I’ve always found that I feel way better when I push through it.
When you do have an actual injury, there are still ways you can get your workout in. Find ways to cross-train with low-impact activities like bicycling or swimming. You’ll likely find that physical activity will help your body recover faster.
There are countless other examples beyond these four common ones, and that’s all right. There will be times when it doesn’t make sense to go running. But when you change your mindset from “Maybe I’ll run if every condition is in my favor” to “I want to run and I will run no matter what,” you’ll find that those times are far fewer than you expect them to be.