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5 excuses for when it’s OK to skip your run

Is bad weather on your list of excuses?

You know the feeling–your run has turned into a slog. You’re underslept, underfuelled, and something hurts (more likely, multiple things hurt). Do you call it a day and go home?

If it’s an easy run, long run or a workout, in most cases you’re better off just gutting it out and finishing. Even if you don’t accomplish what you set out for, the effort you put in is still valuable and will contribute to your mental strength and fitness down the road. But sometimes, bailing on a run can be for the better. Here are a few examples of times when it’s more than OK to cut your run short. 

If you have an injury

This is a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many athletes push themselves through an injury when they shouldn’t be exercising at all. If you’re injured, try to resist the urge to run until the issue is under control (no pain). If the injury gets worse while you’re running, you need to stop immediately, as pushing yourself through the last few intervals or kilometres could potentially set you back more weeks or even months.

Try to distinguish between the pain associated with an injury and common aches and soreness from running. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you are sick

If you have the flu, infection or a virus, take a break from hard training and let your body recover. Hard or long efforts can damage an already weak immune system and open the door for further sickness or delayed recovery. If you insist on running, keep it short and easy. The rule of thumb is that if what ails you is above the neck (such as a sore throat or headache), you can still run, but be cautious. If it’s below the neck (such as in the chest/lungs), you should completely avoid hard training until things clear up.

Mental and physical exhaustion

Running through a bit of physical fatigue is common, especially when you are training for longer distances. The first couple of kilometres are tough on tired legs, but you can shake off a bit of exertion after a few clicks. If you’re drained and lack energy or enthusiasm, it may be necessary to cut the workout short or reschedule the run to another day. Mental stress can carry over, leaving you unmotivated or unable to complete a workout.

Be honest with yourself and evaluate how you feel mentally and physically. If you are struggling and/or are completely exhausted, you might want to push your run to another day.

Emergencies

This is obnious. Some things in life are bigger than you training to lower your marathon PB. In the case of an emergency, you shouldn’t even think about getting mileage in. Whether it’s a family or personal emergency, making sure you are following your training plan should be low on your priority list.

Cold Weather Running

A severe weather warning or natural disaster

Although the weather is usually beyond our control, runners are the first to blame the external conditions. Many old-school coaches will say there’s no such thing as bad weather, just a bad attitude (or bad clothing), but that’s not necessarily true. If there are high wind warnings or a tornado brewing, you may be able to finally use the weather as an excuse. Treadmills were invented for a reason.