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Why you shouldn’t feel guilty for missing a workout

Exercise guilt is a real thing, but you shouldn't be too hard on yourself if you miss a workout

We’re all busy people, and every once in a while we get bogged down with work, school or family commitments and we miss a workout. When this happens, many runners may experience exercise guilt, but they shouldn’t. It’s OK to miss a run every now and then. Forget about it, don’t stress and shift your focus to your next training session.

Letting go of missed workouts

Stuff will come up in life that you can’t avoid, and your training schedule may be knocked out of line as a result. If for some reason you can’t make it in time for a regularly scheduled workout, just let it go. Many runners won’t even consider that as an option. Instead of moving on from the missed run, they find a way to make it fit, even if that means moving other plans to work it in.

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This is by no means a bad trait to have. If you’re committed enough to always try and make time for your workouts, that’s great, but the ability to let go of the occasional missed workout is another good trait that can help runners.

Don’t lose sleep

Trading sleep for training is a bad habit. When you get home late, don’t forego your regular bedtime to go for a run. If you do this too often, you’ll become overtired and you could get sick, which will derail your training and cause you to miss many more workouts than the few you miss every now and then when your life gets busy.

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If you’re sick, take a break

Speaking of getting sick, that is another reason to pass on a workout. Sometimes it’s OK to run while sick, but if you feel awful, taking a day off and letting your body recover is probably a good call. This may even be a sign from your body telling you that you need to take it easy and cut back on your training for a bit. Listen to what your body’s telling you and don’t fret too much about the training you’re missing. You’ll be back at it soon enough.

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Don’t run injured

Running through pain is also a bad habit. Yes, pain comes with the territory as a runner, but there’s a difference between the discomfort you feel when you’re running at a good pace and real pain that indicates you’re overdoing it. Learn the difference between these two feelings, and if you sense that the pain is more serious than a little fatigue, you shouldn’t feel guilty about cutting a workout short or missing a few workouts until you feel better.

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Take a mental break 

Fatigue, illness and injury are all good reasons to skip a workout, but another is simply that you might not be in the right headspace for a run. If you’re overtraining, your body won’t be the only thing getting bogged down, and you might be exhausted mentally. If you’re lacking motivation and really not feeling a run, it’s OK to do something else instead. As long as you don’t make a habit of skipping your workouts, you’re fine.