When You Don’t Feel Like Running

The key to becoming a better, stronger, faster runner is CONSISTENCY. So, I’m sharing my thought process when I didn’t feel like running today. It’s important to remember – this is just one day in my training. Sometimes I need tough love, sometimes I need an extra day of rest. After training for +30 marathons I know myself pretty well and aim to balance those in a smart way with my long term goals in mind.

I hope this helps you navigate what you need to hit your running goals. It’s a helpful tool to push through when your motivation wavers. Learn how to conquer those challenging moments and unleash YOUR hidden potential as a runner as I walk you through my thought process before today’s run.  Let’s go!

I had a run with speed intervals on my plan this morning, but I was NOT feeling it. I woke up before 3am and couldn’t go back to sleep. So, I decided to get up and just start my day. By the time the sun was up and I could go run I felt sluggish and dehydrated. I wanted to get out and get in a few easy miles, but I didn’t feel up to a hard speed run.

I thought through a few options…

A.) Cancel the speed run and do a short, easy run instead.

–> The problem with this is, I can’t just do the speed run another day this week. Moving a speed run or long run to another day of the week means you also need to allow for adequate recovery time. It ends up having a domino effect and often negatively impacts other runs too.

If I went this route I’d be skipping one of the key workouts for the week. Sometimes this is necessary and in your best interest. Things like health issues, niggles, injuries, stress, extreme weather, fatigue, etc… all can be reasons to skip a run.

Although I only got a few hours of sleep last night, that’s not the reason I wanted to skip. I just felt like a lump – which isn’t an automatic get out of speedwork free card.

B.) Do the speed workout and crush it!!

–> The problem with this is… I couldn’t bring myself to even pretend like I was going to crush anything today. I wasn’t sick or injured (as mentioned in the previous option), but I also didn’t feel 100%.

Doing a super hard run sounded unrealistic and made me want to do nothing. So, this wasn’t a realistic option with how I felt today.

C.) Go out for the speed run, but you don’t have to hit any specific pace times – just do what you can.

–> This meant I’d get in a better workout than a straight easy run, but it was a lot less pressure. I loved this idea because it felt like a fair balance. I didn’t skip a hard run, but I also had the freedom to make it easier based on how I felt today.

I went with option C = doing the speed run based on effort, no pressure (but try).

Now, it would be a great Hollywood ending if I said after my running warm-up I felt so much better and crushed my entire run. I didn’t.

But – I did feel a lot better than before I started running and eventually got into a nice rhythm!! I did end up feeling more in the zone about halfway through the run and decided to swap my podcast for music to help me feel like I was doing a speed run and push myself a bit. That helped a lot!

I ended up mostly running based on Effort Level, which works really well in a situation like this. I ended up pushing myself a lot more than I would’ve during an easy run, but I didn’t feel defeated by a hard speed run that crushed my heart.

I felt like I only had 3 options when I was figuring out what to do for my run, but that’s only because I eliminated a few immediately. So, I made a chart to help you figure out what to do when you don’t want to do a run on your training plan.  I think knowing your body and what you need is very important when you’re training for a half marathon or full marathon. You’ll inevitably have days where you’re tired or just unmotivated. You need to balance pushing yourself when you’re healthy and able along with giving yourself time to rest/recover when you’re feeling depleted.

Consider all your options the next time you’re not motivated to run and make the best choice for your current health/fitness while taking into consideration your long term goals. YOU GOT THIS.

How to run when you don't want to

Embrace the mental and physical triumph that comes from running when it’s toughest. Fuel your determination and find the motivation to keep going, one step at a time. Don’t let temporary feelings hinder your progress. Unleash your true running prowess and achieve greatness, even on the days you’re tempted to stay in bed. It’s time to rise above the excuses and redefine your limits.

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