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Lazy or Exhausted? When You Should & Shouldn’t Skip Your Run

Dec 9, 2018 | Lifestyle, Running, Running Advice, Wellness | 6 comments

lazy or exhausted?

This morning, my alarm went off at 6am.

I was feeling tired, it was raining outside, and bed was so appealing. So i convinced myself that I could sleep more now, get up, do some work then run later.

And you know what…the run didn’t happen.

I know myself and running *later* is not a good idea, unless I’m meeting someone or running home from work. I find it really hard to motivate myself to run in the evening, and to be honest, this week, I’m finding it hard to motivate myself at all and I’ve swapped & skipped more runs than I am proud to admit.

lazy or exhausted?

I listened to a great blog post by Rogue Runner’s that said you shouldn’t make up for runs you’ve missed, you’ve either got a really good reason to miss it, or you’re not the athlete you thought you were.

Tough to hear, but kind of true.

When is it laziness to skip a run or when is it listening to your body and resting? 

For me, I ask myself if I’ll feel guilty for NOT running. Will I regret NOT training? If the answer is yes, then I know it’s me being lazy, giving excuses not to workout.

Reasons that it’s NOT ok to skip the run/workout… (each to their own, of course!) 

-The weather. Icy – get on a treadmill. Wet – wear an anorak. Cold – put on more layers. Hot – slow down.

A hangover. Drink less next time, hydrate more. Feel sorry for yourself. Swap your workouts around to do an easy run, but if you’ve got yourself into the mess, you can get yourself out of it.

Poor planning. Misread your workout (how do I do this so often?), get to the track late, not get up early enough.

– It feels hard. This means not missing reps, or bailing early on a workout due to timing or it just feeling ‘too hard’. I’ve thrown up during Yasso 800s, got so sweaty that I’ve had to sit on a towel in my car, and wanted to give up many many times. But I know the harder I work in training, the easier race day will feel. That’s not to say I haven’t thrown the towel in early on a workout before, or got into my head before I even start – but I’m trying really hard not to.

lazy or exhausted?

However, there are also a lot of times that not running is the right thing;

Exhaustion. The more I read and listen to podcasts talking about sleep, the more I realise that it is our most useful training tool but biggest hindrance. If your truly exhausted, then extra sleep trumps extra miles. And I’m not just talking – went to bed because I was watching Grey’s Anatomy tired.

When you’re ill. I can do an easy run with a headache, but a migraine floors me, and no way can I do anything. If you’ve got V&D, the flu, a cough or – as a general rule – anything below the head, you shouldn’t run.

Injury – please do NOT run if you’re injured. Or if something feels tweaky, go and get a second opinion. Rest, ice, foam roll, see a physio or doctor.

When you’re overwhelmed. Life is busy. It’s hard. Sometimes running slips down the list of priorities when other things have to take precedent. Running is your hobby, no matter how seriously you want to take it and how important your goals. Give yourself a break if you need it…really need it.

Family first… have a family day, birthday, Christmas, or event that just isn’t feasible (or right) to head out for a run. Especially a long run or workout. Swap things around and enjoy the family event.

when to skip your run  

Ultimately, the best piece of advice I was given. One that I come back to is ‘No one can do it for you’ – if you want something, it’s on you. Skip a run – that’s your choice (or your life!). Make the decision, one way or another.

Personally, looking back at the skipped runs over the past month, most of them have been legitimate. A couple haven’t. I’m totally OK with the legit missed runs when I’m doing the best I can, but the other missed runs – well those I’m not OK with. I want to stand on the starting line knowing that I’ve done everything I could to be in the best shape to run a PR in Phoenix…

Would love to know your thoughts on this! Do you skip runs when training? How do you know when it’s right to swap/skip a run or power through?


  1. W.Purves.

    Maybe your body is telling you to slow down a bit and cut out the booze? G.

  2. Rachel

    I’m totally feeling this post right now, it’s come at the perfect time.

    I recovered from a cold last week, and even though I completed a race last Sunday, the cough is still lingering, so I’ve given myself the week off in order to look after myself and recharge. Not only that, but my grandparent has been in hospital this week and it’s reaching crunch time on a lot of work deadlines as well. When I look at this in retrospect, I totally get why I needed to put running on the back burner, however at the same time, I can’t help but feel the guilt on missing out on runs and also the anxiety of getting back out there again.

    This post has massively helped me justify the need to have this week off though, and the feeling that you’re not alone on when or when not to miss runs!

  3. K

    Thank you for being open about skipping runs during your training cycles.

    I try and use a similar thought process – how will
    I feel afterward. If I think it’s going to make me feel worse then it’s ok to miss it. If il feel better for it or annoyed iv not been then it gets me out the door. Thanks

  4. Amy

    When I don’t want to get out of bed I have the ‘just do a mile and see how you feel’ rule… I tell myself that if by a mile I want to stop then I can, and 98% of the time I feel absolutely fine once I’m out and carry on. Hardest part is getting your trainers on! Great post Charlie!

  5. Susan

    Thanks for the honest post. This has resonated so much. I am both exhausted and overwhelmed this week. I missed runs and was feeling all the guilt. Yesterday I decided that I was going to scrap all my training this week and focus on other priorities. It felt like a weight lifting. I try not to miss sessions for non valid reasons (though it does happen!) but sometimes it is just the right thing to take a break.

  6. Billy

    Thank you for sharing! This definitely hits home. Do you ever bring a backpack out when you run? I’ve been looking for a good running / biking commuter backpack that can fit all my stuff. Thanks for sharing!


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