Crappy excuses I tell myself when I don’t want to run

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. I’m still feeling plowed by events in America, and though I know a run usually helps my state of mind, it took every bit of will power to get my butt out the door.

It got me thinking about all of the crappy excuses I tell myself when I don’t want to run – and all of the things the devil’s advocate in me says back. (Do the rest of you have ongoing inner dialogues when it comes to exercise and responsibilities and to-do lists?)

Here’s a rundown (har har) of my most common running excuses …

Excuse: I’d rather stay snuggled up in bed with a book.
Counterargument: Vitamin D and fresh air will be invigorating!

I try to remind myself that this is the first winter in five years that I’ve been exposed to so many days of sunshine! Since I’m skipping Portland’s winter (and subsequent gray skies), I should take advantage of beautiful (mostly rain-free) winter runs in Barcelona.

run view

It was 59 degrees and sunny when I ran stairs today. This was my view.

Excuse: I feel too fat to run.
Counterargument: You’re not fat; you’re lazy. Also, discomfort is good for you.

I don’t own a scale so I don’t know what I’ve gained in Barcelona, but my body has changed a bit. I’ve indulged in more bread and wine than normal, and I’ve gotten a little soft. I don’t really mind all that much (we’ll see how I feel when summer rolls around), except I do mind when I’m running because I feel slower and out of shape. Of course, I’ll only improve the situation by getting in shape so I’m better off shutting up and getting moving.

runninginPDX

Look! Last summer, I actually had, like, sculpted arms. No such reality now.

Excuse: I’d rather go to a café and eat pan con tomate.
Counterargument: You can eat bread after you run.

It’s probably not the best idea to bribe myself with bread (see aforementioned bread-indulgence-softness issue), but I totally do it. And it totally works.

where the bread goes

At the risk of embarrassing myself … There is actually a perk to over-indulging in bread: more junk in the trunk! I may be getting softer all over, but at least I’m also getting something of a butt.* (I give you license to make fun of me for saying that.)

Excuse: I don’t have enough time.
Counterargument: Are you fucking kidding me?

This is a really rich excuse because I only work 16 hours per week here, though that doesn’t factor in travel time to work and private classes (and lesson planning). In any case, I certainly have time to fit in a 40-minute run. It simply involves spending a little less time on Twitter, lingering over coffee for a bit less time, and, you know, setting an alarm so I actually wake up at a reasonable hour in the morning.

Excuse: My IT band feels tight.
Counterargument: Well, that’s unfortunate. But that’s not a reason not to run; that’s a reason to stretch more.

I’ve gotten really good at putting off runs when my legs feel wonky. But my legs feel wonky because I’m not doing any strength training or stretching. It might also be time to replace my New Balance Minimus shoes; though they don’t have a ton of mileage on them, they break down more quickly than cushioned shoes. But, really, I don’t think this is a shoe issue. I think my IT band is tight because I’m not taking time to stretch or protect my quads and glutes. New Year’s resolution #1: make time for lunges, squats and planks.

Excuse: Running is boring.
Counterargument: So, turn around and come back when you get bored.

I actually don’t think running is boring (unless we’re talking about really long runs); it’s just getting out the door that’s the most difficult for me. Once I’m moving and listening to music, I get in a groove. So when this excuse crops up, I promise myself that I can turn around and come back whenever I’d like, and this effectively gets me to run for at least 30 minutes, if not more.

Spill: What excuses do you tell yourself? And how do you convince yourself to get out the door (or to the gym)?

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* I mean, I’ve still got a ways to go until I’ve got this kind of junk in the trunk, but I’m workin’ on it. (Don’t mistake my meaning here! I’m saying junk in the trunk is a *good* thing. Most of us ladies want some shape!)

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speaking of foam rolling …

You know how I said I’d gone a week without foam rolling? Well, I got down with my foam roller last night for about 45 minutes, and I have proof:

foam rolling

I’m no-headed. But at least my IT band is getting worked.

And, speaking of foam rolling, one of my favorite fitness bloggers, Gina of Fitnessista fame, just published a post with some good foam rolling pics & tips. Check it out, and get yourself a foam roller stat. Your legs will be soo much happier once you do.

preventing injuries & drinking wine

Monday’s workout: Hip hop boot camp class at the gym … which basically involves looking moronic while feeling like a Fly Girl:

Tuesday’s workout: stretching and drinking wine (yep, it’s a workout)

I really, really want to run today. I’m running in a 10K on Saturday, and I planned to do a six-mile tempo run today. But Sunday’s track workout did weird things to my leg muscles. Namely, I feel pain in these spots:

leg

Okay, just kidding. I don’t feel pain in all those spots. But I do have a lot of soreness on the anterior parts of my shins and the front of my ankles. (Guess what?! I must’ve actually been successfully toe striking on Sunday!)

And while I know I could probably run today without aggravating them much, I’d really rather not get shin splits this early on in my “serious” running training.

In the last few weeks, I’ve gone from working out 3-4 times per week (more like 3) and only one of those days being a run to working out 5-6 times per week with 3 (or more) runs. I’m not pounding out high mileages, but it is a considerable upgrade from before. So I’m going to be smart and take it slow.

There’s a lot of this going on around here:

icing

Ahhh, that's better.

And this is happening while I’m sitting at my desk at work:

icing

Sweet, sweet relief

Why am I so paranoid about getting injured? Well, I have a History (with a capital H, naturally) with knee, hip and IT band pain.

(Please stop reading here unless you’re interested in an overwrought, dramatic account of my running-related pain. You’ve been warned.)

Back in 2007, when I was young and dumb (har har), my friend Amy suggested that we run a half-marathon in San Francisco. (I honestly can’t remember which one we did, but if you’re looking for one in SF, this looks cool.)

Amy and I ran cross country together in high school. But, let me clarify: Amy ran cross country (#2 girl on Varsity, I think). And I jogged cross country. By my senior year, I’d edged my way to #7 (the last spot) on Varsity. Even then, I think it was more of a consolation type of thing that coach gave to me because I was a good sport. I did cross country because I liked to stay fit and hang out with my friends — and I wasn’t good enough for any other Varsity sports.

Throughout college and afterward, I kept jogging, but I mixed it with a lot of other things: dance, kickboxing, the elliptical, keg stands. (Actually I’m sort of lying about the keg stands. I like to conflate the one keg stand I’ve ever done and pretend I’ve had a raucous, storied past.)

Also, when I say that I kept jogging, what I really mean is that I ran once every couple weeks for no more than 30 minutes at a time.

Fast forward to the half marathon. I said I’d do it, and then I promptly forgot to train for it. I think I upped my runs to twice per week or something, but I don’t know if I ever ran any long runs, definitely not anything over 7-8 miles. But, I figured, I’m in good shape. I’ll be fine.

And I was fine, mostly, except for that nagging knee pain that started to plague me around mile 9 or 10. (That’s also, I believe, the mile Amy decided she’d had enough of my slowness and left me to finish her last 3 miles strong.)

Here we are in happier times (around the first mile):

half marathon

Happy. Slow. Before my knees crapped out.

I mean, how badly can you injure yourself if you’re only running 13 miles? Apparently, quite a bit. By the time I finished, I was doing the runner’s hobble, and the following week was, well, stupid. I stretched, iced, OD’d on Advil and couldn’t shake the knee pain.

So there began a solid two years of knee pain, hip pain and IT band uber-tightness. During that time, I didn’t actually make the connection to my IT band — I thought it was all in my knee — and so I didn’t really know how to properly treat it.

I’d try to go out jogging, and I’d feel the pain around 2-3 miles and call it a day. I did lot of other activities in the meantime and sort of gave up on running.

Eventually, I really missed running. And I got a bit smarter. And figured out I was dealing with bursitis and IT band syndrome, which are awfully common among runners, and also really treatable.

Since I caught the running bug again — it was only in January that I started getting excited about running again, and only in the last month that I’ve really cared about pushing myself — I’ve been doing things correctly.

And, now, apparently, I take rest days even when I don’t want to.

Cheers!

Cheers!

Well, yes, my wine glass looks roughly the same size as my head.