How to Beat Your Excuses for Not Running

Sometimes we have the best intentions to run, but something gets in the way. Often it's our busy schedules or the weather that's the culprit; while other times it's just that we can't muster the motivation to get out there. Here are some of the most popular excuses for not running but make sure you also don't fall victim to all of them.

"I Don't Have Time to Run."

Woman at work
Brand New Images

Lack of time is one of the most popular excuses for skipping runs. But squeezing in your workouts may not be as impossible as you think. Instead of watching TV for 30 minutes, put on your running shoes and get moving. Or, multi-task by catching up on your favorite shows while running on the treadmill. Watching your show can be your reward for running, so you'll be even more motivated to get it down.

I find that when I block out time on my calendar for a run, it almost always happens. Just like you schedule a meeting for work or a doctor's appointment, schedule your runs. Prepare for them by changing into your running clothes beforehand and making sure you have everything you need.

Analyze your schedule and figure out what you're doing that's not contributing to a good quality of life. Look for things that you can cut out without regret. For example, are you spending time at night surfing the Web, social media, or TV? Use that time to run, or go to bed earlier and run in the morning. You may be surprised at how gaps in time for running appear once you start weeding out the time-wasters or undesirable to-dos in your life.

"I'm Too Tired to Run"

Man and Woman walking


When you're feeling sluggish, it's hard to get motivated to get up off the couch and out the door. But going for a run will energize you and make you feel better. You may be tired because you have low blood sugar, so eat a snack or light meal at least an hour before running. If you find yourself feeling really tired as you start your run, start off by walking and then pick it up slowly. Extreme tiredness with a normal sleep schedule may be a sign of a nutritional deficiency, such as low iron, so talk to your doctor if you find yourself frequently feeling tired.

"I Get Bored Easily."

Friends running trails together on winter morning
Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

It's easy to get stuck in a running rut. We get comfortable running the same routes or it's easier to just jump on the treadmill. Shake up your running routine by mapping out some new routes using tools such as MapMyRun. Give trail running a try. Run with a local running group or convince a friend to join you on a run. Or, sign up for some local races — it will force you to run someplace different and it'll help get you motivated.

"It's Too Cold (or Hot) Outside."

Woman running on snow
Photo by Jordan Siemens

I always tell runners, "There's no such thing as bad weather — just bad clothes." In other words, if you're dressed properly and prepared to deal with less-than-ideal running weather, you can still go for a run — and actually enjoy it. Get tips and precautions to take for running in the coldheat, and rain.

"I'm Just Not Motivated to Run."

Group running
Christopher Futcher

All runners go through some periods when they're lacking motivation. One smart way to get inspired to keep running is to find a running group. When you know other people are counting on you to be at a workout, you're more likely to show up. And the social interaction and competition that comes with group training also help boost your motivation.

You may also want to consider signing up for a local road race.  Having a race on your calendar is great motivation to stick to your running schedule.

Try planning rewards for your running progress. It helps to have small rewards, such as an iced coffee after a long run, and big ones, like a new running outfit after a race, to keep you going.

"I'm Busy With My Kids."

moms with strollers stretching


As a mother, I know how tough it can be to fit in a run when you're busy caring for your family. But it's important for you — and your kids — that you get a chance to do something you enjoy that makes you feel good. Part of my motivation for running is that I would be a healthy role model for my kids.

Try to make running more a priority in your life and remember that importance of self-care and staying healthy. Schedule your runs and get your spouse on board so you get help with some of the child-care responsibilities. And get creative and take advantage of opportunities to run. For example, if you're watching your kid's soccer game, run some laps around the field before or even during the game. Seek out fitness classes or running groups that are stroller-friendly so you can bring your little one along during your workout.

"I'm Too Self-Conscious to Run in Public"

Older Couple Running

Feeling embarrassed about running in public is a common reason why people don't get started or continue running. Try not to worry about what others think! You should be proud of yourself for getting out there and doing something so healthy.  Runners actually love seeing others out on the roads or trails. Also, remember that everyone started as a new runner at some point, so they can relate to the struggles that beginners face. And any non-runner who criticizes someone for a healthy habit like running is probably just jealous or feels bad that they aren't running.

Wearing the right clothes for running may make you feel more confident and comfortable when running in public. You can also try running with a buddy or running group — that may help you feel less self-conscious.

"I'm Worried About Getting Injured"

doctor and injured runner
Henglein and Steets/Getty

Yes, running injuries do happen, so getting injured is definitely a valid concern. However, there are many preventive steps that runners can take to reduce their risk of injury. Getting the right running shoes for your feet and gait is an important step for injury prevention. Regular strength-training is another excellent way to protect yourself against common running injuries.

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