3 (Lame) Excuses About Why We Can’t Run

Ashley Lauretta
by Ashley Lauretta
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3 (Lame) Excuses About Why We Can’t Run

We all have commitments we want to skip out on now and then, even if it is an activity we love. When we are avoiding something, it can be easier to tell a lie about the situation than just admit we are procrastinating. Have you ever said you are too busy to run? Well, I hate to break it to you, but it was probably a lie. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but more often than not, you’ve told one of the following to yourself — and others — about why you couldn’t get out the door.

Here’s how to embrace the truth, instead, and jump over that mental hurdle in your way.

The caveat to this excuse is that yes, things pop up unexpectedly and there are times where a run gets pushed in favor of something else. However, if you find yourself pulling the “too busy” card multiple times per week, then it’s probably becoming a justification to skip your workout. So, what’s the trick to avoid this happening to you?

“When someone says they’re too busy, I recommend they schedule their workouts in their calendar like any other appointment and to pick the time of day that they’ll least likely be pulled away for important tasks,” reveals Joan Scrivanich, an exercise physiologist and coach at Rise Endurance. “It’s easy to think of exercise as a luxury, but in reality it’s very important for our physical and emotional health.”

If you keep all of your appointments on your Google Calendar, you can use its ‘Goals’ feature to find available slots in your day to go on a run. Another option is to sign up with a training group or run crew, many meet twice per week (at least) for group workouts. This way, you’ll at least get two quality runs in per week that become a normal and expected part of your routine.

The good news about running is you don’t need to be an expert to do it. Sure, it’s hard to be a beginner. It can feel uncomfortable to start something you don’t know very much about or don’t feel completely prepared for. But once you accept you are going to feel some discomfort, you can learn to find comfort in the unknown.

“Running is one of those sports that we are born to do, as the famous book from my friend Chris McDougall is titled,” shares Lisa Tamati, an endurance athlete at Running Hot Coaching. “That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it is natural for us to move our bodies in nature. It’s also a sport that just requires a good pair of running shoes to get started … You don’t need fancy watches; you don’t need to start with fancy hydration systems. You just need to start and start conservatively building your mileage with a well-structured plan.”

Tamati says you will learn all you need by just going out and running. If you feel like you need extra guidance, a coach and running group can fill in all of the blanks for you.

We have some good news for you: Physical activity is proven to help you sleep better. If you feel too tired to workout, a workout may be exactly what you need. Not only will running help improve your overall sleep quality; but the benefits also trickle down into other parts of your life.

“Running can help you think deeply and creatively, so you might find yourself solving problems that have been bugging you at work or in your personal life,” shares Amy Bucher, PhD, the Behavior Change Design Director at Mad*Pow. “Getting into a running routine will help you feel more alert and energetic so you’re more efficient and productive. It can help you sleep better. It can improve your mood so your relationships are better. And running lends itself to being a part of your social life, since it’s easily done with friends.”

Some of the most sleep-deprived people out there are new parents, so saying you are too tired after a night up with a newborn is not a lie. Your running may have to take a back seat in those first few months, but even fitting in 15 minutes of movement here and there does wonders for your overall well-being. Be kind to yourself as you get back to a routine. Some days you may need to choose a nap over a run and that is OK. If you are really struggling to fit in a run, a jogging stroller can make it a bonding activity for you and baby.


If you’re still struggling to start running after tackling these excuses, it’s time to assess what is holding you back. Why do you want to run? Bucher confirms that once you can nail down whether or not it’s for general fitness (in which case you may need to try a new activity) or you can pinpoint a specific aspect of running that appeals to you, it can help with motivation.

“There are lots of reasons why people delay; they’re afraid (of physical or emotional discomfort, of failure, of it being really inconvenient), they’re not confident about what to do or they’re having trouble prioritizing their activities,” Bucher notes. “If you find yourself in a situation where you think you want to be a runner but you keep putting off the start, it’s worth asking yourself why you’re interested in this.” Tap into that sense of purpose and the excuses fall away.

About the Author

Ashley Lauretta
Ashley Lauretta

Ashley is a journalist based in Austin, Texas. She is the assistant editor at LAVA and her work appears in The Atlantic, ELLE, GOOD Sports, espnW, VICE Sports, Health, Men’s Journal, Women’s Running and more. Find her on Twitter at @ashley_lauretta.


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