Six of the Best Excuses for Not Running - And One Big Reason Why You Should

18/02/2016 21:18 GMT | Updated 18/02/2017 10:12 GMT

Six weeks in to marathon training and I am lying in bed writing this, hoping that the pain in my left knee is just an annoying niggle not an injury that will take me out of the marathon race.

I am listening to my body. I thought my hip full of metal would be the first to protest. I think it's a case of too much exercise. But, the more I listen, the more fearful I become.

It's at times like this - when all I want is to pull on my trainers and for it not to hurt - that I realise just how lucky everyone who has the strength and the health to run really is.

So why is it we're so full of excuses all the time? It seems that thousands of us think nothing of signing up for the biggest race of our entire lives only to be put off by the thought of a slippery street or a run route with too many potential trip hazards.

We spend our lives convincing ourselves we can, only for the voices in our head to scream 'maybe we'll try again tomorrow.'

I confess, up to now, I've been pretty good at following the plan - or, more specifically, running regularly enough to strengthen my hip and build up the distance. But, lying here, I regret every negative thought, every extra ten minutes in bed, every moment I've haven't been grateful for those pain-free steps.

So, rather than sit here squeezing my knee every five minutes (which I am sure is not helping) I thought I'd share my very best excuses for not exercising (along with the responses I think right now) in the hope that it might encourage you to clock up a few excuse-free miles for yourself.


1) It's too cold/wet/windy (insert appropriate weather-related adjective here)

What you might be thinking: It's a sign. Tomorrow will be better. Could ruin your trainers, your new haircut or your dodgy knees. Best not push yourself.

What you should be thinking: It's not a sign. It's the UK (or any other place with an unpredictable climate). Would be more surprised if it was actually good running weather. You'll be warm in no time and there's always that warm post-run bath. Let's get running...

2) It's way too early

What you might be thinking: Just one quick snooze won't hurt. Who made duvets so soft?

What you should be thinking: Am half-dressed anyway (if you, like me, sleep in a bit of kit) and it really is the best way to start the day. You'll already be ahead by the time people have had their first coffee. Let's get running...

3) I haven't eaten enough/I'm not ready

What you might be thinking: Can't risk a run without a bit of carboloading the night before, an energy drink, a gel and a Pret love bar (OK, maybe this last one says more about my personal fuelling techniques).

What you should be thinking: It's amazing how far you can go on one banana. Let's get running...


4) I just don't have the time

What you might be thinking: Too much work. Too much on the to-do list. No more laundry. Not enough hours in the day.

What you should be thinking: Of course you don't. You're a normal human being who finds three- to four- hour long runs hard to fit in. After all, you did fill your life before. But, you signed up, you made the commitment and if you want it bad enough, you will find the time.

There are 168 hours in every week and it's amazing how much more you can fit in if you spend less time worrying about running and more time actually running. Let's get running...

5) My kit isn't clean

What you might be thinking: Nothing to wear so going nowhere.

What you should be thinking: It will be dirty again in minutes, so what does it matter? No one will get close enough to get a whiff and the laundry bin will love you. Let's get running...

6) One day off won't hurt

What you might be thinking: Even the best-laid training plans are designed to be broken, right? I will run extra hard in my next session.

What you should be thinking: It certainly won't hurt if it's a rest day or if your body really needs an injury break. But, if it's not, just remember, there are only a finite number of tomorrows between now and race day. And, tomorrow, is not always a better day, just a different one. Let's get running...

So, whether you're fighting the cold or the clock, remember the hardest part is getting started. Once you do, you'll wonder why you ever thought you couldn't.

Right now, I would do anything to get out there and get running, but my body doesn't agree.

So make today the day you hit the road, if not for your neglected trainers or the promise of a warm bath then for the woman sat in bed wishing she had been a little bit more grateful for the steps that didn't hurt.

No excuses...

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