Four strategies to combat excuses to not run

by Adam Stuhlfaut, Director of Running

One lesson that we teach in our Be You Training Program beginner 5K courses here at SHOES-n-FEET is strategies to remove barriers and excuses from exercise.  Sometimes those barriers are psychological i.e. I’m tired, I don’t have time, I don’t like where I run etc.  Sometimes those barriers are logistical i.e. I don’t have my shoes with me, I forgot my raincoat etc.  In thirty years of running, I have personally made every excuse in the book to skip a run. To combat my excuse making, I have come up with my personal workarounds that help me with my particular barriers. Below are four excuses and how I workaround the excuses to not miss a run: 

  1. Excuse: “I can’t find my running clothes”

    Workaround: Lay out your clothes the night before – I do this for both running and non-running clothes. It removes the barrier of not being able to find my favorite running shorts or socks as I fumble around in the dark before an early morning run.  Plus, it saves time and allows me to feel like I don’t have to rush around in the morning. I even feel okay to hit the snooze button one more time. BUT....I also choose an annoying and loud song as my wake-up ring tone.  It keeps me from hitting snooze too many times. 
     
  2. Excuse: “I don’t have time in my work day”

    Workaround: Schedule your runs as appointments in your calendar – I treat my runs like an unbreakable appointment.  I schedule them in my work calendar, and I don’t allow myself to schedule another meeting at the same time.  In addition, numerous scientific studies have shown the connection between exercise and brain health.  Making exercise a part of your day will likely make you a better thinker and more effective in your work. 
     
  3. Excuse: “I don’t have my running shoes with me right now”

    Workaround: Always keep an extra set of everything at work – Our days are unpredictable.  I never know when I’ll have to squeeze in a run at a time that I didn’t expect.  So, I try to be ready to get out the door at any moment. My strategy is that I typically keep a full set of running clothes, shoes, rain gear etc. with me at all times. I always have two sets of everything so I also can’t make the excuse that I left my shoes, rain jacket or headlamp at home or at the office.
     
  4. Excuse: “I don’t have time to fit in my planned workout”

    Workaround: Run for time, not mileage – I previously wrote the philosophical argument for running for time, not mileage, in a previous blog.  The practical argument here is simple.  If I have four miles scheduled for my run, 4 miles might take me anywhere from 25-40 minutes on a given day.  If all I have is thirty minutes, I might be tempted to say “I don’t know if I can run four miles in thirty minutes today, I guess I’ll just bag it.”  Instead, if thirty minutes is on my schedule, than I know that I can definitely get thirty minutes out of thirty minutes. 
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