To Run Or Not To Run

Deciding Whether to Run When You’re Not Quite Feeling It

With Coach Kelvin, Online Running Coach for We Run and the We Run Virtual Running Club, and 1:1 Running Coach for Leeds and surrounding areas

Hi folks, it’s Coach Kelvin here. Today, I want to share some thoughts and ideas on how to decide whether to run when you’re just not feeling up for it.

The Hardwired Habit of Inactivity

What’s quite interesting is that we are actually hardwired not to run. We are naturally inclined to sit around, eat, and put on weight. If we have a comfortable week without much discomfort, we are programmed to repeat that week. This is a protection mechanism that was vital for survival thousands of years ago but can be a hindrance in modern times where we need to push ourselves to exercise.

Making the Decision to Run

When deciding whether to run or not, there are several factors to consider. First, ask yourself if you are injured or ill, as these are clear indicators to rest. Next, consider your goals: are they health-focused or performance-focused? Assess what phase of training you are in, whether it’s a recovery phase or a peak training phase. Also, consider the load you’ve applied in the past seven days and what’s coming up in the next seven days.

Hydration, Fuelling, and Sleep Status

Another key aspect to consider is your hydration and fuelling status. Poor hydration or nutrition in the days leading up to a run can significantly affect your performance. Additionally, check in on how well-rested you are from a sleep perspective. Your sleep status can greatly influence how you feel during your run.

Deciding Based on Run Frequency

The frequency of your runs also plays a role. For example, if you run three times a week and skip two runs in a four-week block, it’s a significant portion of your training missed. However, if you run six times a week, skipping two runs has a lesser impact.

Options When You’re Unsure About Running

Do the Run: Sometimes, it’s just about getting out and doing it. For non-elite athletes, the risk of overtraining is low.

Do a Test Run: Start the run with the option to walk back if you’re not feeling it.

Over Fuel the Run: Consider fuelling more than usual, even for a short run.

Postpone the Run: If you’re not feeling up to it, see if you can fit the run in on another day.

Add Volume to Other Runs: If you skip a run, you can distribute its mileage across other runs in the week.

Just Skip the Run: Sometimes, it’s okay to not run and instead consider a deload week if necessary.

Listening to Your Body and Making Informed Decisions

It’s essential to listen to your body, but also to ask specific questions to make an informed decision about running. As Courtney Dauwalter says, “No one can run these miles for you.” I hope this information helps you in making your running decisions. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to add them below. Happy running!

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