Running Even When You Don’t Want To

As you may recall from one of my earliest posts, will power is not my thing.  Follow-through is also not my strong suit.  I’m really good at making excuses for why I don’t need to run, why I shouldn’t run.  And then I’m really good at justifying those decisions with perfectly reasonable, logical arguments, so that in the moment, I feel good about choosing not to exercise.  And then later is the regret, the guilt, the questioning-of-life-choices and why am I such an idiot?  A huge part of my running journey has been learning to overcome the voices that make excuses and just GO.  I’m getting better, but most days, it’s still a struggle.  As I said to one of my blogger friends recently, “Inertia’s a b****.”

Last night was a scheduled run, and I just wasn’t feeling it.  I was exhausted from the 5k and birthday festivities this weekend, and my legs were really sore from Monday night’s cross-training.  On the one hand was the “listen to your body” excuse–You’re tired, you’re sore, you should probably just go home and stretch.  Come on, you worked really hard yesterday, you deserve a break.  Conserve your energy for Thursday’s 5k.  And then there was the other voice–No, don’t make excuses.  You’re not TOO tired, you’re not TOO sore.  Just start.  Just go and see how it feels.  I had a huge argument with myself and as I got in the car after work, I nearly drove straight back to Ben’s parents’ house and skipped my run.

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But instead, I pulled myself together, drove to our apartment, changed into my running clothes, and out the door I went.  It was a gorgeous evening–a bit overcast and a bit breezy, so it wasn’t too warm.  People and other runners were out all over the place.  I felt good.  I focused on just taking it slow and easy.  My legs didn’t hurt, my breathing was great, and I managed 2.6 miles.  I could have gone further, but honestly it was such a miracle I even went at all that I won’t complain or be upset.

Nicole at The Girl Who Ran Everywhere posted recently about marking runs as “wins” or “losses,” depending on various factors, and it was really thought-provoking for me.  I often think that if I don’t hit my scheduled mileage or go “too slow” that a run isn’t successful.  But when I think about it, last night’s run was definitely a “win.”  No, I didn’t complete my scheduled 3 miles, and I ran slower than I have in weeks.  BUT–I went, even though I didn’t want to.  AND–it was a good run.  No pain, no shortness of breath, good weather, and (once I got going) a good state-of-mind.  All of the doubts and the excuses just stopped the second I started running.

I am SO PROUD of myself for overcoming my excuses and just doing it.  It’s not really my natural state to exercise, and even less so to exercise when I don’t  want to.  Choosing fitness and a healthy lifestyle will probably always be a challenge for me, but hopefully it will continue to get easier, and hopefully I will make the good choices more often than not.

Do you ever had days where you just don’t feel like running?

How do you convince yourself to get out there and do it anyway?

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16 thoughts on “Running Even When You Don’t Want To

  1. dgobs says:

    Ugh, I’m so bad at motivating myself to get out the door to run. I fall so often for the voice that tells me “You just ran a race over the weekend… your legs are sore, you should rest” but then instead of stretching or foam-rolling like I should, I just sit on the couch. I’m awful.

    What really helped for me was joining my running club. I didn’t want to be the flaky new girl, so I made sure I went to scheduled runs every week, and I also didn’t want to forever be the slow girl, so that got me out on my own to try to get better. I think I was finally doing well with motivation until my injury struck 😦 I’m hoping I can jump back into the groove when I’m fit enough!

    • DarlinRae says:

      I waffle all the time on joining a running club or finding a buddy. I’m just better solo most of the time–I can go my own pace and do my own thing. But having a buddy or club would definitely keep me more accountable…

      • dgobs says:

        Having a buddy works if you can find someone who will keep you accountable… I love having Colin as a running buddy but (and we’ve talked about this!) we’re bad for each other most of the time, since we both secretly hope the other will bail so we don’t have to go out. As soon as one person starts to waffle, the other will be all “Eh, I’m not really feeling it either. Let’s skip today.” It’s bad! If going solo works best for you then you should go with it! I like Jennifer’s reminder below… I try to tell myself that too. 🙂

  2. Jennifer says:

    Congrats on getting out the door! When I don’t feel like running, I remind myself that I almost never regret going for a run, and almost always feel better afterward. Works like a charm.

  3. Rebecca Jo (@RebeccaJoKnits) says:

    I have to make deals with myself sometimes. I tell myself to run for 10 minutes, if I don’t feel like going any future, then come home – but every time, once I’m out & moving, I don’t want to turn back home. Even if I just walk, I don’t want to start to get sweaty to just stop 🙂

  4. txa1265 says:

    You know that saying ‘run early in the morning before your body realizes what you’re doing’? hehe something like that! Actually I rarely have that issue – except for this winter when it was yet another sub-zero morning! But if I were to assign it, I would say ‘fear of being fat … again’. Pretty strong motivator.

  5. SuzLyfe says:

    I think it is so necessary to have days where you don’t want to do something, and end up doing it anyway–it shows that it won’t kill you. That said, sometimes you do need the time off! But Inertia is indeed a bitch. And a liar.
    I’m not so much in to labeling runs as wins or losses, unless you are just being flat out stupid about it. If you aren’t feeling it, but are still putting in work, you are still doing better than if you hadn’t. And if you blow it out of the water, then you still win! We do this (presumably) for the love of it–exercise should always be, in our minds, a reward, a privilege. Otherwise, it would necessarily be a punishment, and then why are we punishing ourselves? Life does that for us. We don’t need to be our own flogger. Just my thoughts.

    • DarlinRae says:

      I agree, and if I had been hating it the whole time, it definitely would have felt like punishment–thankfully I just needed a little push and ended up thoroughly enjoying myself. I’d never want running to feel like punishment because I really do enjoy it, and it generally does wonderful things for my well-being. Even if it takes some cajoling to get me out the door!

  6. Nora says:

    I remind myself that in the time I’m spending internally debating if I should run I would have already been warmed up if I’d just step out the door. So I try to just go once I catch myself thinking too much.

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