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by Meghann on October 19, 2011



Why is it when we don’t reach our goals on a run, we automatically turn to excuses?

As soon as I realized I wasn’t going to meet any of my pace goals on my run this morning, my mind was full of them.

  • I’m still fighting my sore throat from the cruise
  • My legs are still recovering from yesterday’s NROLFW and speedwork
  • The blanket of humidity makes it feel like I’m running through a thick, hot cloud
  • I’m tired
  • I’m thirsty
  • and so on and so on

It’s not that all of the excuses weren’t valid (because, you know, they generally are – right?) it’s that my mind automatically flipped a switch and instead of telling me I could do this, it reverted straight to reasons why I’m not going to do this. When my legs started to waiver, my mind started to give up to and after that – no matter how much I tried – I couldn’t get to my goal. All I could think about was why my legs were tired, why my throat hurt, and why I felt like I was back in Cozumel all over again. Ugh.

I guess that’s why running is 90% mental.

My goal was to hit 9:00min/mi for the 6 miles, but I obviously realized that wasn’t happening as soon as I took off. My legs were shot, my mind was shot, and I was lucky I got through all 6 miles at all. Oh well.

Post-run breakfast


Cereal mix:

  • 1/2 cup Cinnamon Cheerios
  • 1/2 cup Quaker Oatmeal Squares
  • 1/4 cup Back to Nature Chocolate Granola
  • 1/2 Apple
  • Plain Yogurt
  • Pumpkin
  • Cinnamon


I can’t get enough cinnamon. πŸ™‚

What are your tips for overcoming the mental running game?

1 Ali @ Ali Runs October 19, 2011 at 9:37 am

Bad runs make you appreciate the good ones so much more! At least you got the mileage in! πŸ™‚
Ali @ Ali Runs recently posted..Last Long Run

2 Khushboo October 19, 2011 at 9:37 am

Wow you almost completely described my run on Monday! I ran 6 miles and came in a minute slower than the last time I ran that distance…and averaged at a pace slower than I ran 8 miles in last week! Like you, a million and one excuses ran through my head but I finally shut them down: the main thing is completing the difference which I did…and you did too so congrats on not throwing in the towel earlier!
Khushboo recently posted..How to get rich QUICK

3 Candice October 19, 2011 at 9:38 am

We all have days like that! Point of the matter is you didn’t quit and trucked through it!! Your a true athlete! YUMMY breakfast!!

4 Megan @ Life as Megan Knows it October 19, 2011 at 9:44 am

Sometimes we all have a bad run but next time you have a great run you will appreciate it more πŸ˜‰
Megan @ Life as Megan Knows it recently posted..Terrific tuesday

5 Army Amy* October 19, 2011 at 9:49 am

At this point, I feel like running is 100% mental! I know that I can complete the distance because I’ve done it before. It’s a matter of getting in the right frame of mind.*
Army Amy* recently posted..Holding Hands

6 Cait's Plate October 19, 2011 at 9:50 am

That cereal mix looks incredible. And girl! You still had a great run – don’t get down on yourself!

I think it’s natural to think of the reasons, not excuses necessarily, that things can be affecting us. I think it’s just an evaluation more than anything else πŸ™‚
Cait’s Plate recently posted..Peach Me.

7 Brittany October 19, 2011 at 9:51 am

That happens to me too when I run but they are legit reasons! You can always reach your goal another day. You have plenty of other chances to run and when you do, you’ll feel awesome!
Brittany recently posted..What I Ate Wednesday

8 Amanda @ JustAmandaJ October 19, 2011 at 9:59 am

I haven’t run in a very very long time, but when I did I always just zoned out to the music, the more negative I got about not being able to do anything I just forced myself to sing in my head and push through it rather than spiral into the negative. It was pretty much the only way I was able to actually start running in the first place. I always felt better knowing I finished and didn’t quit even if it did suck in the end πŸ™‚
Amanda @ JustAmandaJ recently posted..Sans Coffee

9 Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun October 19, 2011 at 10:01 am

I have runs like that too. Nothing seems to work. I think sometimes all we can do is learn from it and move on. I think it’s still pretty banging you did 6 miles after tough workouts from the day before!
Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun recently posted..Spicing It Up + Over Bodypump

10 Tracey Leffler October 19, 2011 at 10:01 am

At least you pushed through to hit your mileage!

As running is so mental I think you need the more challenging (bad) runs to make the good runs that much better.
Tracey Leffler recently posted..It twas a-MAZE-ing

11 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More October 19, 2011 at 10:02 am

So much about exercise is mental and we all need a reminder sometimes. I always feel like when we recognize that we’re letting our thoughts run ramped instead of focusing and telling ourselves that we are strong and can push through, we’re reminding ourselves that we’re human and need a rest. And the next day (or two), you get back out there and show it who’s boss. I generally find that’s when I have some of my best runs. πŸ™‚
Katie @ Talk Less, Say More recently posted..The Boiling Pot

12 Bri October 19, 2011 at 10:03 am

When my mind starts to work against me on my run, I break my goal down into smaller goals. Instead of 10 miles at 8:00 pace, I just aim to run one at goal pace, then another, then maybe another. As a last resort, I take to the treadmill when I’m in a funk. Keeps me on pace whether I like it or not.

13 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen October 19, 2011 at 10:04 am

Same thing happens to me and I literally have to tell myself to turn my thoughts in the positive direction rather than the excuse/negative direction. It’s amazing how much more you can accomplish when you tell yourself you can instead of “I can’t.”
Although, sometimes bad runs/workouts happen. THey just make the good ones all the much better πŸ˜‰
Gina @ Running to the Kitchen recently posted..What I ate Wednesday: 6 days on the road

14 Casey @ Pocket Full of Sunshine October 19, 2011 at 10:12 am

I think they can’t all be good runs; sometimes you really are just burnt out! I think in this case, your reasons were very legit and even a peppier, better attitude wouldn’t have helped. Maybe after a day or two off from running you’ll have a fabulous run! Good for you for finishing anyway. πŸ™‚
Casey @ Pocket Full of Sunshine recently posted..The Covered Bridge Festival

15 Sara October 19, 2011 at 10:13 am

I have those days where I plan to get up and run 6 miles, then end up walking half of it because I’m just not into it. Then other days I’ll plan on going for a short run, then end up running 10 miles and feeling great… running is weird πŸ™‚

I ran the Philly 1/2 a month ago and I’ve kept the timer tag on my shoe to remind me that if I can run 13.1 miles, I can run the 4, 6, 8 miles … I’m doing that day. I know it’s silly, but it helps!

16 Michelle October 19, 2011 at 10:17 am

I cut my run short by 3mi today because I was full of excuses too. Sometimes running just sucks
Michelle recently posted..Metz, France and Luxembourg City

17 Alicia B. October 19, 2011 at 10:19 am

It’s all about listening to your body’s truth, not its excuses. And you did just that. The fact that you laced up your sneakers and you hit the pavement is worthy of celebration!

– Alicia
Alicia B. recently posted..Anti-Change, Anti-Life

18 Meghann October 19, 2011 at 10:33 am

Thanks Alicia, I like that approach to it πŸ™‚

19 Cat @Breakfast to Bed October 19, 2011 at 10:33 am

Someone would have to chase me this morning to make me run in the sludge outside. After reading this post, my guess is it won’t be you this morning.
Cat @Breakfast to Bed recently posted..Don’t Shoot Off Your Own Ween.

20 Britt @ runwithbritt October 19, 2011 at 10:36 am

I’ve been on a cinnamon craze too this fall. I agree with the excuses. Running is so mental! I always try to tell myself that I’ll regret it if I give up now or you’ve already gone this far why stop now talk. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s the beauty of running πŸ™‚
Britt @ runwithbritt recently posted..My Running Journey Part 1

21 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries October 19, 2011 at 11:30 am

This post was just what I needed to read this morning. Yesterday I was feeling a cold coming on, and while I was running, I came up with every excuse possible to justify why my workout wasn’t going to be all that great. Today I’m going to try to tell myself I can DO IT during my workout, whether I feel kinda crappy or not. You’re right – it’s all about the attitude! πŸ˜‰

22 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries October 19, 2011 at 11:33 am

This is just what I needed to hear today – thank you! I’ve been fighting a cold the past couple days, and during my workout yesterday, I kept coming up with the many excuses. Today I’m going to try to be positive during my workout. Attitude is everything! πŸ˜‰
Ashley @ My Food ‘N’ Fitness Diaries recently posted..WIAW {What I Ate Wednesday} #6: Recipe Favorites

23 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife October 19, 2011 at 12:01 pm

I love cinnamon as well!!!

Running and exercising—AND getting past blocks, reaching dreams, working hard, is MOSTLY mental. We tell ourselves to go for it, and we do the best we can….but sometimes we have a not so great run, dance, or project. Luckily life is forgiving and we mostly get 2nd chances to try it again πŸ™‚

24 Amanda October 19, 2011 at 12:02 pm

We all have days where our energy either is or isn’t there. Good for you for pushing through and getting that mileage in, even if it wasn’t as fast as you had hoped.

I’m also on a cinnamon/pumpkin pie spice kick right now. I actually just ran out of cinnamon and I’m thinking about making a trip to TJs just to get more. Although, I’m sure I’ll come out of there with 5 other random things too. Is it even possible to go into TJs and only buy the things on your list? πŸ™‚

25 Hillary October 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm

This was absolutely me on Monday. The entire run felt like I was wearing a 25 pound bag on my shoulders. I got through it, but I got through it REALLY, REALLY slowly. Some days just aren’t as good as others!

26 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats October 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I completely agree! I always make excuses about a bad pace, and even though they are valid, I always know that honestly, I could have pushed harder. But I guess sometimes we also just need to give ourselves a break!

27 Jen October 19, 2011 at 3:20 pm

It’s so hard! I had the same sort of experience yesterday on my run. I don’t know if you’ve ever been injured, but I get through by reminding myself that a year ago, I couldn’t even walk without a major limp, so running at any pace is better than nothing.

28 kathleen @ the daily crumb October 19, 2011 at 4:29 pm

it’s SO hard to keep excuses out of our mind. just focus on the fact that you completed a kick-ass run… and enjoy the rest of your day!
kathleen @ the daily crumb recently {day two: snoozed}

29 Claire October 19, 2011 at 7:31 pm

I’ve always thought it would be handy to have an ‘excuses’ t-shirt where there is a velcro panel and you can attach whatever excuse you have for that run. As I was getting back into running after having my third child I wanted a panel that said ‘I gave brith to my third child four/five/six weeks ago’. It would also be good to have ones saying ‘I did my long run yesterday’, ‘I’m recovering from a knee injury’, and ‘Just not feeling it today’. Ha. What do you reckon?

30 Lauren October 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I wish I could ‘like’ this comment. Very funny idea! πŸ™‚
Lauren recently posted..Run in the New Year

31 Corey @ Learning Patience October 20, 2011 at 7:40 am

I find that when I mentally am excited and looking forward to a run – thats when I run the fastest. I never run for time, so I don’t feel bad if I have a slower running day. At least you got your 6 miles in!
xoxo from Trinidad
Corey @ Learning Patience recently posted..Peach Crisp = VERY Happy Husband

32 Lauren October 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Not every run is going to be a great one :(. I wish I had some tips to dispense, but I’m really not the most upbeat runner in the world. I become easily discouraged and critical of myself when my run isn’t going my way. I don’t necessarily revert to excuses, but I do have a (very unfortunate) habit of thinking “Well, clearly I’m a fraud – I’m not meant to be a runner.” I know that this is an extremely uncool attitude to take (and it can, to some extent, become a self-fulfilling prophecy). I’m working to improve my running outlook – not every run *has* to be an astonishingly great one! The not-so-great ones make you appreciate the exceptional ones even more, right? (I hope!)
Lauren recently posted..Run in the New Year

33 Sophie October 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm

A bad run is better than no run!
Sophie recently posted..Half Term!

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