5 excuses I’ve used for not running recently – and why they’re rubbish!

My parents really know how to pose for a photo… 😀

Dude, where has this year gone!? How is it December? How is it CHRISTMAS next week?!

The past few months have flown by. I’ve been to Devon for some family time; to Nottingham to see some Uni friends; James and I went into London to see the Christmas lights and markets; I’ve been out and about to meetings and work events…

It’s been manic, and I’ve reached the point where running has slowly but steadily been nudged out of my schedule. Fail.

Next weekend, my marathon training plan will officially start (you didn’t think I’d defer Dublin and not have another one in the pipeline, did you!?) and I’m determined to finally get that sub-5. I’m also working towards a very (!) optimistic sub-2 half, which my little brother is helping me to prepare for. He’s even going to pace me on the day, so I really have no option but to make it happen! Gulp! (I mean, I can’t let him get a better time than me all the glory, right!?) 😀

I’ve decided that it’s time to ‘fess up to my rubbish excuses, and get myself back into a proper routine. Here are the five I use most, along with some counter-arguments that I need to use more! Who’s with me??

1. I don’t have time.

Uuugh, this old chestnut. Back in October, my daily commute went from 20 minutes each way to 1h20 each way. This means I now get up at 6h45 and get home between 6 and 7, and my days suddenly feel extreeemely short. But if there’s anything I’ve learnt over the years, it’s that there’s always a way to fit exercise into a work day – I just need to commit myself! Whether that’s getting up 30 minutes earlier (doable!), making the most of my lunch break or skipping an episode on Netflix in the evening, I definitely have time.

2. I’m tired.

With a longer commute, lots going on at work, busy weekends and preparing for Christmas, my energy levels are pretty low. But ironically, whilst running is the last thing I feel like doing, I’m guaranteed to feel better for it – more energised, more positive, and more productive. The tricky bit is just getting myself out the door!

3. I don’t have my kit.

Back when I was training for Barcelona, on busy days I would make sure that I had my running/gym gear with me from the minute I left the house in the morning. This meant that no matter how hectic the day got (having to be in the office early, last-minute meetings scheduled over lunch, finishing late), I knew that I could fit in some sort of workout at some point around my other commitments. Since the office move, I haven’t packed my gym kit into the car ONCE, always telling myself I’d just ‘run when I get home’. Famous last words…

4. There’s no shower/lockers/changing facilities.

The office move didn’t just mean a longer commute – it meant switching from a tiny office with a dozen people to a huge open-plan office with over a hundred (most of whom I don’t know, and wandering past them in sweaty lycra isn’t the best first impression!). Stupidly, I immediately used it as a reason to not work out at lunch – something that I used to LOVE doing. But I’ve hunted around and found a gym half a mile from the office, which means that showers and changing facilities are sorted! 😉

5. I’ve lost my fitness and it’s hard.

This is a vicious circle, and I’m sure we’ve all been there. You skip a couple of runs, and suddenly it’s been 2 weeks and you’ve not laced up your trainers once. Then you go out and try and run your usual pace, but it feels way harder than you remember. You don’t enjoy the run, and put it off for another 2 weeks – at which point it’s going to be EVEN HARDER. You’d think I’d have learnt my lesson by now – consistency (regardless of the distance or pace) is key!

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Are you finding it hard to keep yourself motivated? What are your excuses, and how do you get yourself out there?

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Why running is about the journey, not the end goal

It’s really easy to lose motivation sometimes. Things get busy at work, you end up going to bed later than you planned, you hit the snooze button once and suddenly you’re 2 weeks down the line and have barely worked out at all. (Or is that just me?…)

When you get yourself into a bit of a rut, it’s easy to lose perspective on things. You find yourself stressing over pace (note to self: positive splits are NOT THE END OF THE WORLD!), and wondering why the heck you’re struggling at 10:30/mile when you were feeling comfy at sub-10 just a few weeks ago!?

At this point, everyone around you seems fitter, and faster, and you’re convinced that everyone’s finding this running thing easy peasy and you’ve become some lethargic, heavy, uncoordinated ex-running slob who will never EVER get back to their old pace and oh, forget about running a marathon ever again… (Or fitting into those marathon tights, for that matter!)

Today, I headed out for a lunchtime run with a couple of friends. We did our usual 5k loop (well, their usual – I haven’t done it in weeks!). We hit the first mile at 9:27, and then it all went wrong. I slowed right down, my breathing wouldn’t settle, and at points my friends were literally running circles around me.

Predictably, I began to freak out a little. But then something in my brain switched. Like, dude – CHILLAX. The old you would have killed to be able to run that far, regardless of the pace! You’re actually pretty damn awesome! Remember when you couldn’t manage a mile without a walking break, and 5k seemed like the moon?

At that point, I definitely couldn’t, so I dug through my old Tweets and I stumbled across this little gem:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsBack in 2011, I was super excited to have run/walked over 2.5 miles. So excited, in fact, that I shared it on social media and then for good measure, I messaged my parents to let them know. (I was on my placement year in Spain at the time). And damn straight, the old me was proud! That 2.6 miles was AWESOME! Back then I didn’t care about pace, or weekly mileage, or whatever the heck everyone else was doing. I just ran for myself; because I enjoyed it, I loved the challenge and I loved pushing myself that little bit further each time. Case in point:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsRunning isn’t about the races you enter and the medals you hang on the wall (though I love both of those things, and they do have their place!), or your finishing times. Sometimes you get so caught up in the details, that you don’t realise quite how much pressure you’ve put yourself under. Remember – running should be FUN. You’re choosing to do it, after all!

Leave the pressure at work. Let running be your ‘you’ time. Let it be a stress reliever, an excuse to explore new paths, a way to make new friends, and an excuse to buy more pretty things (you’re welcome 😉 ).

After all, bad runs are bound to happen every now and then. Just means you’re due a good one next time!

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Why do you run? Are you training for anything, or are you just doing it for fun? Ever find yourself lacking motivation?