Is there a way to tell the difference between a self-imposed excuse and a legitimate reason to rest? Tom Kloos, coach of the Bay Area Track Club and Saint Mary’s College of California, provides this rule of thumb: “If you don’t work with a coach, imagine if you did and have an imaginary conversation with that person. If you’re embarrassed by your reasoning, you know you should do the workout.”
We’ve narrowed down a few times where you may be inclined to rest—but really should get yourself out the door. Your training (and body) will thank you.
Coach Hillary Kigar says that she’s strict about eating with her athletes: “You’re not coming to practice if you didn’t eat lunch.” But in the real world (Kigar works with high schoolers), life gets in the way and you’re ravenous by your workout. If that’s the case, you can likely still fit a run in. Fuel your body by having a snack that your stomach can tolerate (like a gel, a bar or a sports drink) and enjoy a meal when you’re done.
Obstacle: No Time
Avoid the all-or-nothing approach! “Something is always better,” says Kloos. Modify your run to the time you have—even if it’s just 15 minutes—and you’ll feel better for it. If your workout is critical to your training plan, move it to another day when your schedule is slightly more relaxed.
We’re not sure if this is coach tested, but Kloos says, “Running is one of the best hangover cures out there.” Release those toxins and do something healthy for yourself—just remember to bring along your water bottle.
Obstacle: Lack of Motivation
This is the most likely culprit for the cozy-comforter excuse. Kigar advises amping up to get out the door by “pulling out your tool kit of all the things that make running easier and more fun.” That might mean making a new playlist, calling a running buddy to meet up, watching your favorite show on the treadmill at the gym or exploring a new trail. If you can’t imagine finishing your run, use the “just 1 mile” approach and see how you feel after you’re in motion.