Having ‘No Excuses’ Is No Way To Train

In the fitness world, the 'no excuses' mantra has taken over—but is it healthy?

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.


Rewind several years ago and I was all about the ‘No Excuses’ mantra. I had a 2-year-old and young baby and was proud that I had the no excuses mentality when it came to training. I very rarely deviated from my training plan, regardless of how hectic things were for me. It sounded great and I felt like I was kicking butt. But I was running myself into the ground.

Since then I’ve realized that having no excuses is no way to train. Not only does it make training unenjoyable and feel like work—but it is not sustainable in the long run.

The reality is that there are excuses. We are all juggling priorities—whether it’s children, family, work, a social life, a home and so on—or a combination of all of these. 99.9% of us do not run professionally. Running is not our job or how we make our living. So sometimes priorities get in the way of training.

That is okay. And not only is it okay—it’s normal.

These days, my goal is to train with no regrets. Yes, there are missed workouts. There are days where I really want to sleep in or where I’m just not up for a run or days where something else has priority. Those days, I skip a run with no regrets.

I’m a few days removed from my 14th marathon and my third Boston. This hasn’t been the most consistent training cycle, nor have I run the most miles. There’s been some missed runs and pushed workouts. But I’ve never felt more in balance with life and running. I take running very seriously—but it’s no longer the center of my life.

Constantly putting running first may make you physically strong, but you could be worn out or overtrained (mentally) or you may begin to view running as something you have to do. These can impact race performance, even more so than a few missed workouts.

At the end of a training cycle I want to walk up to the start line and feel like I did what I could. I want to know that I juggled my commitments and priorities and came out smiling, happy and ready to run a good race.

Read More:
The Lamest Excuses We Make For Skipping Runs
Sometimes It’s Okay To Be Lazy