This post was recently published on SheKnows.com. You can find the original article here.
We’ve all been there: We know we should get out and go for a run, but we make up an excuse not to. When it comes to excuses, I’ve heard them all. But 99% of the time there is a solution to your excuse. The truth is that if you want something bad enough, you will find a way to get it, and running is no exception. If you want to run bad enough, if you want to train for a marathon or half marathon bad enough, you will find a way and you will make time. You may have to sacrifice a half hour or hour of television time each day, but leading a healthy life and running – whether recreationally for health or to train for a race – is all about balance. Here are the top seven excuses we all make for not running and solutions for each.
1. I don’t have time.
This is the number one excuse people make for not running or working out. In today’s world, people have a million priorities between work, kids, family, social activities, etc. and finding time to do one more activity can seem impossible.
First, take a look at what your daily schedule looks like and see if there is somewhere you can squeeze in a half hour to run. Do you spend 30 or more minutes watching the news in the morning? Do you watch a sitcom or the news before you go to bed each night? Instead of watching those television shows, record them or watch them online during the weekend when you have more time and use that time to go for a run.
Do you take a lunch break at work every day? Instead of going out to eat, use that time to go for a run, then eat your packed lunch at your desk afterwards. Keep a spare pair of running shoes and some clothes in a drawer at work or in the trunk of your car. The cool thing about running is that you can do it almost anywhere, anytime. No shower at work? No problem. There are several companies, like ShowerPill or Nathan, that make athletic body wipes for this purpose. A quick wipe-down and you will be sweat and odor-free and feeling fresh.
Plan your workouts for the week in advance and put them on your calendar, just like an appointment. Then treat them like you would any other meeting: mandatory. Schedule your workouts around your other activities. For instance, don’t schedule a long run the morning after a late night party. Be flexible, but it’s always good to set an initial time frame for the week.
If you can, run in the morning. Getting your run over with first thing in the morning leaves the rest of the day open and if something unexpected comes up later in the day, you won’t have to choose between that and running. If you’re not a morning person, you can become one. Just a few weeks of regularly waking up early and working out will change your body into believing it is a morning person and it will soon become habit.
2. It takes away time from my family.
When you are at work all day, it can be hard to take any more time away from your family to go for a run. But remember why you run. It’s not selfish. It is good for you. When you are happy, the people around you are happy too. You will be a better mother/spouse/friend/employee.
You could also find a way to incorporate your family into your run. For instance, they could ride their bikes alongside you, or you could go to a local track or park and the kids can play in the field while you run around the track, or run circles around the park. If your family is involved in your fitness routine, they are more likely to follow your example and have healthy exercise habits throughout their lives as well.
3. I’m too stressed and hungry after a long day at work.
If you’re feeling stressed, depressed, overwhelmed, or run down, running can help. Ten or twenty minutes of exercise can help get your endorphins moving, lower your stress hormones, and help lift your mood. After a particularly stressful day at work, running is the perfect solution to help unwind and de-stress. Plus it’s much healthier than reaching for that glass of wine.
Keep a pair of running shoes and clothes in your car and stop at a park or track on your way home from work. If you go all the way home before running, you are much more likely to get caught up in chores like checking the mail, making dinner, etc. and making more excuses not to run. If you stop somewhere to run before you get home, you have no excuse. Pack a small snack to eat before you run, like an energy bar or banana, to curb your hunger until dinner.
4. It’s dark outside the only times I am able to run.
If you let daylight hours dictate when you run, the only time of year you would be able to run is during the summer. Running in the dark does not have to be scary or intimidating. In fact, I think running in the dark can be very calming and serene, especially early in the morning. There are a few things that can make running in the dark both safer and easier.
First, wear a headlamp. You can buy a running headlamp at any running store or online and it will illuminate your route so that you can see ahead of you. It will also help other people see you.
Second, wear light colors and reflective clothing. Good colors to wear in the dark are white, orange or yellow. It’s also a good idea to invest in reflective gear, such as a vest. Some items such as running shoes and jackets come with reflective pieces on them, but you can never wear too much.
You should also run without music, or at least turn the volume down low so that you can hear cars, cyclists, dogs or people around you. Carry your ID and a cell phone with you, let someone know the route you are taking before you head out, and run with a friend or running group if you can. Finally, run someplace well-populated and well-lit, but try to avoid busy roads with no shoulders or sidewalks. If you are running on a road, make sure you stay on the sidewalk.
5. I don’t have anyone to run with and don’t want to run alone.
If you don’t want to run alone for either safety issues or because you think it’s boring, find a friend to run with you. If you don’t have any close-by running friends, find one!
The best way to find a running buddy or running group is to ask around. A lot of groups, particularly the more casual ones, are made up of friends, friends of friends and acquaintances. Ask your runner friends, neighbors or co-workers if they know of any running groups that would be a good fit for you or if they have any friends that would want to be your running buddy. If this doesn’t yield any results, do an internet search for running groups in your area. There are online forums dedicated to bringing runners together and forming running groups or just finding running buddies. Most local running stores have running groups as well. Visit your local store and find out when the store’s group meets and how far they typically run.
If you run with your local running store’s running group and find someone that you enjoy and runs at the same pace as you, don’t be afraid to ask them if they will run with you at other times during the week.
6. It takes away from my social time.
If running interferes with your social life, why not combine the two? Run with friends and then go out for brunch or happy hour afterwards. Running is the perfect way to catch up with friends, and time goes by much quicker when you are chatting the whole time.
Don’t have any friends that run? You don’t have to sacrifice your social life at the expense of running. It’s okay to show up to happy hour a half hour late in order to squeeze in a quick run. Or if you know you are going out with friends after work, make sure you get your run in earlier that morning. If you have a late night out planned on the weekend, make sure you plan your long run and rest day around it (late night Saturday = long run Saturday morning and rest day Sunday).
7. I’m just not motivated.
Use a training log to keep track of your runs. After you’ve completed each workout, check it off on your training log and write down any useful information about that day’s run – how did it feel, what were the conditions outside, how long did you go and what was your time, etc. This instant feedback helps you feel accomplished and can help keep you accountable. This also allows you to look back over time and see the progress you have made. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, pull out old training logs and remind yourself of how far you have come since you began. This can help motivate you to keep going and not quit.
Set small goals and reward yourself for meeting those goals. For example, if you complete all of the week’s scheduled workouts, treat yourself to a pedicure or that new color of nail polish that you always wanted. Or for each workout you complete, give yourself $1. Once you have enough saved up, treat yourself to that new outfit or Garmin you’ve been wanting. Stay away from using food as a reward, however. Rewards should be services like a manicure or massage; goods like workout clothes or running gear; or free things like a bubble bath.
Stop focusing on the ‘can’ts’, ‘should nots’, and ‘better nots’, like “I should not eat those fries” and “I better not drink that soda.” Start from the inside by saying affirmations when you start each day like, “I am someone who takes care of my body,” “I am someone who will accomplish my goals.” The difference is that the second set of statements focuses on who you are and what you expect in your life, not just the change you want to make. The affirmations call for action and foster your success. Your attitude will likely decide your success at staying committed.
Do you have another excuse that you use that I didn’t cover? Let me know and I will help you find a solution!