Should You Run or Not? 8 Major Excuses, Debunked

by Molly Hurford
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Should You Run or Not? 8 Major Excuses, Debunked

Let’s face it: sometimes you just don’t feel like going for a run. And that’s OK. But 9 times out of 10, once you start (and finish), you’re so glad you did. Take a read through this list of common excuses to see whether you should run or take it easy. Ultimately, only you know.


Recommendation: Run
Make your running time non-negotiable by scheduling it into your calendar. Emergencies can crop up, but finding time to run a mile or two boosts your mood considerably and reminds you why you make time for it in the first place. Keep a packed run bag at the ready so you’re always set to sneak out for a quick run.



Recommendation: Run
The best way to avoid missing your training when bad weather hits is by being prepared with appropriate gear or a backup plan. For rain (without lightning), a waterproof jacket and some high-vis gear should suffice. For snow, a heavy coat and fleece-lined leggings are enough to keep you going. Finally, access to a gym or treadmill is a good backup plan.


Recommendation: Run
Wanting new gear is no excuse to skip a workout. Many long-time runners happily admit they own 5–10 pairs of running shoes in various states of wear. Instead of waiting until gear is completely used up to buy new, switch to new gear while your old stuff still has a bit of life left in it. If the new shoes fail, you have an old pair to fall back on.


Recommendation: Run, but be prepared to shut it down
Claire Bowe, physical therapist and founder of Rose Physical Therapy Group, says her rule of thumb when confronted with aches and pains is that you “are allowed to find the pain, but not go through the pain.” So start your run, but once you start feeling that pain — not just minor discomfort — you’re risking injury.

“You have to embrace discomfort as an athlete, but the hard part is deciding when it’s something you need to pay attention to and have it checked out,” says Bernard Condevaux, a physical therapist in Colorado who’s worked with Olympians and pro cyclists for years. He adds that if the pain/discomfort is recurring, jolting or makes you change the way you run, seek help before it becomes a bigger problem that requires a lot of time off the trails, rather than a day or two. “Take a day or two, and if it’s not better, have someone look at it,” he concludes.


Recommendation: Run, but skip the workout
Save the hard workout for a day when you’re feeling more balance. Exercise is a proven stress reliever, and it’s a great way to tame stress and even ease depression, but as coach Kyle Boorsma says, “you need to consider total life stress. Not just what’s done in training.” Rather than trying to crush your intervals on a day when you’ve been overloaded at work or at home, use this day to take a relaxed run and allow yourself to just cruise, not crush. For new runners, this might even mean taking a hike or a walk: Pick an activity that will make you feel calmer for having done it.


Recommendation: Run, but skip the workout.
One night of poor sleep shouldn’t hurt your running — so if that’s the case, reduce your intensity and distance. Likely, you had some kind of external factor — work or family stress — to blame for your poor sleep, and luckily, a run can perk you up and decrease stress. If you find yourself consistently sleeping poorly, though, that’s going to put a damper on your ability to recover and make it harder to achieve results with your workouts. If that’s the case, check in with your doctor, who might send you to a sleep specialist to investigate your problem..



Recommendation: Run, but reduce your intensity.
There’s no shame in taking a day off. If you’re a little sniffly but otherwise fine, most coaches will tell you to run, just skip the hard efforts. Coaches often tell runners to push through head colds, but the key is to dial down intensity to avoid making the cold worse. “The added stress of sickness must be considered,” says Boorsma. “If you decide to train when sick and overdo it, you might get sick for longer and require even more time to rest — that’s a bad trade off compared to resting for a day, healing faster and getting back to properly stressing your body with training.”


Recommendation: Jog, hike, or skip it.
Traditionally, coaches have suggested skipping or cutting down a workout if your cold is in your chest, versus just in your head. “Occasionally, I might suggest a very light workout if it is a light chest cold,” says endurance coach Tracey Drews. “However, if the athlete starts the workout and is not feeling good I tell them to shut it down. Just cool down and rest.” As Boorsma points out: A day off is better than a week off.



    9/10? more like 1/10… the only good thing I get from running is a mild to low sense of achievement, but not worth for a 10 hour headache. I won’t deny running is a great exercise, just not for me.

  • Bryan Pospisil

    My excuse was previously a crying baby with no one to watch him and has now moved on to I just scarfed down a cheeseburger and don’t want to vomit. Looking forward to going on a nice jog once I get off of work.

  • Todd Hilehoffer

    Nice article. I disagree about running in the snow. Unless someone can recommend something or some kind of sock shoe combination that will actually keep my toes warm, I’m not going for a run in the snow.

  • percysowner

    My “excuse” is I don’t run. I don’t like running, my knees are old and it’s too high impact. Now I walk every day, but running, no way.

    • David Mckee

      Why did you read and comment on an article promoting “running”? 🤔

  • srriley84

    What about “it’s 95 degrees outside”?

    • Robert Jelf

      Wear sunscreen, drink liquids, watch yourself for heat-related illnesses and don’t press too hard.

  • Joe Hill

    I understand that the gist of the article is to avoid making excuses for working out, and that’s great. But I was pretty shocked that the writer actually recommended running if your foot or ankle is sore. If your foot or ankle is sore DO NOT RUN! You’re just going to make it worse. If you still want to get a workout in use the bike or the elliptical, as these will not put stress on the affected area. I think common sense would tell most people this. Advising readers to put themselves in a position where they can easily get an injury is grossly irresponsible.

  • Paula

    I like running, but my asthma doesn’t. I also smoked for the past 10 years (I’m 23 days into my quit.) Yes, I have an inhaler. No, it’s not effective enough. I also won’t run in hot weather; I overheat too easily. But I plan to hit the pavement and loosely follow a C25K plan as far as possible. I don’t see myself ever running a 5K again, but who knows?

  • Min Chongbang Shereng

    From my past experiences, I don’t recommend anyone to run when suffering form cold because at this stage the immune system of the individual would be low in “recovery mode”. Thus, if severe running activity is carried out, the body will suffer more and takes longer to recovery.