Should We Really Follow Mind Over Matter When Running?

Sometimes it is not unreasonable to skip a run if life gets in the way.

mind over matter

We’re told so many times not to make excuses. It’s just mind over matter. The only runs you regret at the ones you don’t do. All of that is great, but what happens when you lose the ability to differentiate between when you’re making an excuse and when your strict adherence to your schedule is, well, insane?

Adhering to a training plan or fitness regimen can be rough on your body and your mind. It can be downright exhausting! At some point in every training cycle (or if you’re like me, more like once a week), something comes up that interferes with your run or workout. It makes you really fight to accommodate a workout or skip it.

For example: this week, I need to have a small outpatient surgery done—no, I do not have Ebola. Between the surgery, a business trip, grad school and an otherwise crazy schedule, it was going to take nothing short of heroics to fit some of my workouts in. Typically, I go to three barre classes a week, but this week, the only way that was possible was to go to two in one day and then one as early as possible the next morning. And then I would need to squeeze my weekly runs into two days. And a big part of me—the vast majority—thought this was totally reasonable.

It was not reasonable.

There is a point of diminishing returns for quality workouts, and that point hits long before three barre classes in 24 hours. If you find yourself agonizing over fitting in a specific workout occasionally because you’re sick, overcommitted, or simply exhausted, recognize that those things are not excuses. They are reality. And if you are like me, then you know that you aren’t always the best at seeing things from a realistic point of view. Ask one of your more moderate friends to help keep you accountable. Running yourself into the ground—literally and figuratively—helps no one.