One lesson that we teach in our Be You Training Program beginner 5K courses here at SHOES-n-FEET is strategies to remove barriers and excuses from exercise. Sometimes those barriers are psychological i.e. I’m tired, I don’t have time, I don’t like where I run etc. Sometimes those barriers are logistical i.e. I don’t have my shoes with me, I forgot my raincoat etc. In thirty years of running, I have personally made every excuse in the book to skip a run. To combat my excuse making, I have come up with my personal workarounds that help me with my particular barriers. Below are four excuses and how I workaround the excuses to not miss a run:
Excuse: “I can’t find my running clothes”
Workaround: Lay out your clothes the night before – I do this for both running and non-running clothes. It removes the barrier of not being able to find my favorite running shorts or socks as I fumble around in the dark before an early morning run. Plus, it saves time and allows me to feel like I don’t have to rush around in the morning. I even feel okay to hit the snooze button one more time. BUT....I also choose an annoying and loud song as my wake-up ring tone. It keeps me from hitting snooze too many times.
Excuse: “I don’t have time in my work day”
Workaround: Schedule your runs as appointments in your calendar – I treat my runs like an unbreakable appointment. I schedule them in my work calendar, and I don’t allow myself to schedule another meeting at the same time. In addition, numerous scientific studies have shown the connection between exercise and brain health. Making exercise a part of your day will likely make you a better thinker and more effective in your work.
Excuse: “I don’t have my running shoes with me right now”
Workaround: Always keep an extra set of everything at work – Our days are unpredictable. I never know when I’ll have to squeeze in a run at a time that I didn’t expect. So, I try to be ready to get out the door at any moment. My strategy is that I typically keep a full set of running clothes, shoes, rain gear etc. with me at all times. I always have two sets of everything so I also can’t make the excuse that I left my shoes, rain jacket or headlamp at home or at the office.
Excuse: “I don’t have time to fit in my planned workout”
Workaround: Run for time, not mileage – I previously wrote the philosophical argument for running for time, not mileage, in a previous blog. The practical argument here is simple. If I have four miles scheduled for my run, 4 miles might take me anywhere from 25-40 minutes on a given day. If all I have is thirty minutes, I might be tempted to say “I don’t know if I can run four miles in thirty minutes today, I guess I’ll just bag it.” Instead, if thirty minutes is on my schedule, than I know that I can definitely get thirty minutes out of thirty minutes.