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Trail Tips

7 Bad Reasons to Skip Your Run Today

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Nike Athlete, mom of two and overall busybody Sally McRae does not much care for your excuses

Sally McRae knows running makes her happy, so she makes it a priority. Photo courtesy of Sally McRae/Nike.

We’ve all been there.

An endless stream of untied ends at work leaves you deflated, out of energy and chained to your desk longer than you’d planned. Kids, seemingly intent on disrupting even the best-laid plans, dominate your time at home.Family, career and other stressors become too much, and the trailhead is too far away to drive today.

In short, no Kilian YouTube video in the world can inspire you to hit the trails today. Your tasks are many, your time and energy running low.

No excuse, says Sally McRae.

McRae has a bit of credibility on the subject of finding time for fitness, no matter the outside constraints. The mother of two (ages 8 and 6) runs a successful coaching business and also finds time to run professionally with Nike Trail Elite. She finished second at February’s Sean O’Brien 50 Miler and 10th at the Western States 100 in June.

“You’ll quickly notice I’m not the softest when it comes to excuses,” says McRae. “But I am very passionate about encouraging people to be their best.”

We asked McRae about some of the excuses she regularly hears for skipping a run – on the trails or otherwise – and what she thinks of each one. (Spoiler alert: it turns out none of them are legitimate.) Here is what she said:

1. The excuse: “I’m too tired after working all day.”

Invalid because: This is a legit statement but a poor excuse. We’re tired after doing many things: road trips, yard work, caring for children. Even reading wears us out! But what kind of tired are you feeling? Mentally tired? Sluggish because you have low blood sugar? Or are you just losing steam at the very thought of “exercising”? One of the biggest factors that keeps us from working out is a lack of motivation, not energy.

Think of all the times you put forth effort for the things you love or were obligated to do, all while being tired. What fueled you? Was it worth it? Did you survive?

Now consider yourself, and how you approach your workouts. Try to imagine that every time you do something active, you are making yourself better, regardless of how you think the workout is going to turn out, Keep your goal simple and just get out there. Don’t let “tiredness” steal your goals. Sure, working out while consistently tired isn’t ideal and sometimes you do need rest, but I’ll go as far as to say that most people will do no harm working out while tired. In fact, you’ll not only feel better when you finish, you will sleep better too! So get out there. Do you think you’re worth it? I do!

2. The excuse: “There aren’t enough hours in the day.”

Invalid because: Sorry, but this is one of the worst excuses out there. Last time I checked, every person gets the same number of hours each day. This isn’t an issue of time, this is an issue of time management and discipline. So step up your organizational skills and get your butt in gear!

Personally, my schedule is never the same from week to week, so planning out each hour of each day is necessary. And as a mother, I know that no matter how well I plan, “life” happens, so I plan for that too. The goal is to run early in the morning before the kids wake up; however I always choose a second time during the day when I can workout, even if it’s at 10 p.m.! Then I make it happen!

Is it foolproof? No, but because I view training and fitness as a crucial component to my total well-being, I usually hit my weekly training goals. And keep in mind that your workouts don’t have to be two hours long every day. 20 minutes is better than nothing and the goal should be to do something every single day. If you care about something, there is always time, so make time.

3. The excuse: “I don’t live close enough to a trail.”

Invalid because: In short, you don’t need to train on trails every day to be a trail runner. In fact, mixing roads into your training schedule can be key to maintaining speed and balance as a runner.

If you’re planning for a trail race and can’t get on the trails as often as you’d like, don’t fear but rather look at the months leading up to the race and choose key days (try four times a month) when you can get to a trail. Do research on your race and attempt to find trails that most closely resemble the course profile and consider those runs as invaluable learning opportunities. Hop on a treadmill and vary the incline while you run and be sure to stay on top of your runner-specific strength exercises. Get to the start line strong and fit, and you’ll do better than you think, even without a backyard trail.

4. The excuse: “I have kids. Seriously, you try raising children and finding time for yourself.”

Invalid because: This is my favorite excuse, if I had to choose a favorite. Buy or borrow a jogging stroller. Run at the park while your kids play on the playground. Join a gym with a kids’ club and run on a treadmill. And if they’re older, introduce them to the trails. It’s a win-win, memory-making adventure when you include your children.

No excuses here, parents. Teach your kids that fitness, goals and discipline are important and that excuses are unacceptable. After all, they learn everything by watching you. Teach them well!


5. The excuse: “I’m out of shape.”

Invalid because: The longer you make this an excuse, the worse your condition will become. You have to start somewhere, so you either start by going out solo or find a friend also looking to get in shape. If you’re out of shape, now is the time to get into shape. There is no better day than today. You can do it!

6. The excuse: “I don’t have any races coming up, so I don’t really need to get out there.”

Invalid because: Now, more than ever in the history of trail running, it is easy to find an upcoming race; they are scheduled all over the world and in every distance.

However, if this is the only way you stay motivated, then modify your goals a bit: train to be fitter, faster and stronger and when it comes time for you to sign up for a race, who knows – you just might land yourself a shiny new PR!

7. The excuse: “It’s too hard.”

Invalid because: I wouldn’t even categorize this as an excuse. It’s more of a mindset.

This approach to life as a whole will get you nowhere. Most things in life are hard, which is the very reason why you should do them! It’s the hard things that make you stronger and once you’ve successfully tackled the hard things, you’ll gain an incredible amount of confidence as well as the courage needed to do more hard things.

When things seem too hard, proceed with grace. You don’t need to put time frames and restrictions on your goals. The key is to simply do them. Every day try a little more, and if you fall off the wagon and fail here and there, that’s okay. You’re human. But don’t give up. Never quit. All that is hard is worth fighting for and as I’ve reiterated again and again, you are worth it.

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