Excuses, we all have them! Sometimes they’re unavoidable like staying up all night with a sick kid or working to meet a deadline at work. And other times, well…they feel legitimate.
Look, this is a no judgment zone and I’m going to go on the record and say that I know for a fact that I am not the only woman who skipped a run to get an extra day out of a blowout.
But there’s a difference between feeling run down and benefiting from an extra rest day and feeling 50 shades of unmotivated. Motivation is one tough nut to crack and even with Pinterest, where you can find a motivational meme or for every occasion, you’re still doomed to fight the urge to hit that snooze button or lay on the couch after a long day at work.
So how do you know when to give into the urge to lay in a horizontal position and when you need to woman up and bang out a run? Let’s start with this handy flowchart --
OK, so that flowchart isn’t very helpful. Here’s what it boils down to, if you’re feeling run down, tired, and fatigued, take an extra recovery day to catch up on some dynamic stretches and some sleep. Maybe go spend a romantic night with your foam roller. Maybe toss in a plank if you’re feeling really guilty. Keep it an active recovery but sleep should be at the top of your list.
And if you’re struggling to get motivated and get out the door, know that you’re not alone. If I had a dollar for every time I cried on a street corner or threw a tantrum like a two year old because I couldn’t get myself to go run, I’d be able to buy myself something real nice.
I’m the Queen of a good excuse, from “I think my hip is acting up again! I probably shouldn’t run...” to “I’m going to call my most talkative friend so that it’ll be bed time by the time I hang up”, I don’t think there’s an excuse I haven’t tried. HELL, I thought long and hard about tripping over a curb during the London Marathon so that I could have a good reason to quit!
Here are the five tips I have to make you excuse proof.
1. CHECK IN ON YOUR GOAL.
Don’t have one? Go set a new one! From running your strongest 5K to running your first marathon, if you’re struggling to get out the door, the best thing you can do is find a finish line to work towards. Once you have your finish line and your training plan, try to focus on what you can control and that’s the effort you put in today. Every single day is another opportunity to kickass and take names. Celebrate everything from the wins, the stalls, and the setbacks because the fact that you have the courage to go for it is all that matters. Throw your expectations out the window and see what you’re capable of when you just do your best.
2. FIND THE FUN!
From running with a badass lady gang, running unplugged, to running with a podcasts or playlist that makes you want to dance, you have to be persistent about cultivating fun on the run. Fun is a lot like strength, it won’t happen unless you work for it. So, step outside of your comfort zone and show up to a local flight club or enlist a neighbor, friend, coworker, or family member to train for a race together. Stick a speaker in your sports bra and try to sing Let It Go at the top of your lungs. Do whatever it takes to laugh through the pain.
3. ADJUST YOUR ATTITUDE.
As frustrating as it is to have someone tell you that your attitude matters when you’re struggling, it’s true so don’t shoot the messenger! I just spent four months fighting my way back to fun running so I hear you when you say that running is absolute worst. Here’s the thing, you don’t have to run. If you’re truly miserable, take a break and do something else. Try cycling, swimming, interpretive dancing, diving, golfing, tennis, or yoga. Then, should you come to the conclusion that you’re more level headed, confident, and happier when you’re running (regardless of how much of a struggle running is), you can pick up where you left off. The sooner you can figure out how to feel grateful before you take off for a run, the less suffering you’ll do.
4. BE PATIENT.
Your relationship to running is going to ebb and flow. Sometimes, everything clicks and even your hardest runs are fun and rewarding. Other times, you feel like you’re moving through mud for weeks on end. There will always be days when you just have to lace up and get through it. Not every run is going to be a great one but it’s during those mundane and truly soul crushing runs that make you appreciate the amazing ones. Mental and physical strength doesn’t manifest itself overnight. It requires persistence and perseverance while you fight through the rough patches. They really do make you stronger. (Pro-Tip: Pinatas and F words are great ways to expel unwanted run rage.)
5. BE PURPOSEFUL WITH YOUR CHOICES.
The next time you’re struggling to get out the door, remind yourself what you’re running for. From feeling strong or seeing strength when you look in the mirror, to running down self doubt, take a second to remind yourself why you run. Then, the next time you’re struggling to get out the door, you can close your eyes and smile because you know that you’re running for something that means a hell of a lot to you.
Running is anything but easy and there will always be what feels like one hundred million good excuses not to run when you’re struggling to get motivated. So if you’re a brand new runner or a seasoned marathoner, remember this; there’s no quick fix to getting motivated. Life happens! Sometimes you have to listen to your body and take that extra rest day. But if you feel like you’re drowning in a sea of excuses, know that you aren’t alone. Reach out to your badass lady gang and remind yourself that finding your groove takes time. The sooner you can find a way to shake off those excuses, the sooner you’ll be out there kicking ass and taking names.