Sunday, August 10, 2014

Reasons Not To Run

I haven't been running as much as I would like lately. I've been struggling with some personal things related to my health as well as my professional life. Last night, even though I didn't feel like running, I went for a short run and felt soooooo much better afterwards.

Although I've grown to really enjoy running, there are plenty of days when it is a real struggle to lace up my shoes and head outside for a run. Morning runs mean getting up early, and I'm not a morning person. Evening runs mean going for a run after dark when I'm already tired after having spent the whole day at work.

Way too often I find myself making excuses for why I shouldn't run on any given day - I'm tired, I'm hungry, I have a headache, I don't feel good, etc. Most of the time, these are just excuses and nothing more. Most of the time I'm able to force myself to get dressed, lace up my shoes, and head outside. And guess what? I'm usually glad that I sucked it up and went for a run.
Ready to run!

There are days, however, when I force myself to run and do regret it. These days are very rare. There are also days when I just can't force myself to run. These are also very rare. Both of these types of days are usually days when I not only don't want to run, but days when I really shouldn't run. And yes, there are good reasons not to run. I hear all the time that a bad run is better than no run, but there are those rare times when running is just not a good choice.

Here are my top three reasons not to run:

1. I'm sick. And this doesn't mean I have the sniffles. This means that I'm really sick. I'm talking fever. I'm talking vomiting. I'm talking diarrhea. I'm talking all of those nasty, terrible things that mean I really shouldn't go anywhere other than going to bed. Do I have a cold? Too bad. Go for a run. It can be a short and easy run, but go for a run. Do I have the flu? Maybe it is a good day to take the day off and let my body recover.

2. I'm injured. Much like being sick, I'm talking about the real deal here and not just normal aches and pains. Not running due to injury means that something is really wrong. It means that my doctor has said I shouldn't be running. Am I kind of stiff and sore from strength training at the gym yesterday? That's not the same as being injured. Go for a run. Can I not move without screaming in pain after throwing my back out? Yeah...running doesn't seem advisable.

3. I'm exhausted. Now this is important - there is a difference between being tired and being exhausted. If I'm just tired then I'm still going for a run. If I'm exhausted, then it is time to take a day off and hang out on the couch with my cat. When I'm tired, I feel like I need a nap. When I'm exhausted, I feel completely done with everything. I've depleted all of my energy, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

My cat thinks I should never run and always tries to untie my shoes when I'm getting ready.
Really, the most important thing I do is to check in with myself and see how my body is feeling. 99% of the time, I should go for a run. That other 1% can be tricky though. I'm slowly learning to listen to what my body is telling me and am getting better at distinguishing the difference between my body telling me "I don't want to run today" and "I really can't run today".

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