Have you ever had a day when you just didn’t feel like exercising? Maybe it was too cold or you were too tired, or you had a lot on your list and didn’t want to stop and switch gears to work out…
That’s how I felt yesterday morning. I stepped out of bed and was ready to get right back in. It was chilly and gloomy, and I was tired from the day before. It would have been a perfect day to watch movies or read a book. But I’ve been running long on Sundays and it was Sunday…
I looked at the weather report and, with rain in the forecast, I realized that I would rather run earlier than wait and get drenched. Also, as much as I wasn’t feeling enthusiastic, I knew I’d feel better if I did something.
So, I put on my running clothes, tied up my hair, and put on a cap. And then K and I went for a run.
It took about two miles to warm up and then I was okay. We ran more than nine miles, missed the expected rain, and had a nice breakfast before moving on with the rest of our day.
Could it have gone differently? Yes — absolutely.
The possibilities each day are numerous, and we could have skipped our workout, run a shorter distance, or selected an alternate exercise instead of running. We also could have run the nine miles later in the day and gotten caught in the downpour. I could go on, but what I’m getting at is that sometimes you aren’t going to feel like exercising or the conditions aren’t going to be ideal for what you had planned.
What you do in those moments will define you, and just because you typically react one way doesn’t mean that you can’t change your behavior or optimize things for the given conditions at a particular moment. You can.
What do you do when you don’t feel like exercising?
How often do you make the choice to skip your workout, proceed as planned, or make adjustments?
Any of the above options could be the right answer for you, depending on circumstances. Which option is your default response?
Understanding your default response is critical to deciding if you want to change your behavior or not.
There are other variables to evaluate as well.
If you’ve been exercising outside for any period of time, you know that the weather doesn’t always cooperate. Do you have the right tools, equipment, or gear to complete your planned workout when the conditions aren’t ideal?
Is there another workout you could do that would be a better option for you, given the conditions? Sometimes this might mean changing the location (e.g., indoors or outside) or the activity (e.g., substituting spinning for swimming). You might also choose to adjust the time of your workout by moving it up, pushing it back, or rescheduling your workout for another day.
Additionally, you may find it helpful to give yourself permission to cut your workout short. Knowing that you can stop early can help you to get over the initial resistance to exercising, and, many times, once you are moving, you may choose to keep going.
Making plans to exercise with others can also help you to get in front of any potential resistance by creating external accountability. Knowing that your exercise partner is counting on you to show up may help you to stick with your exercise plans.
It’s normal to have days when you just aren’t feeling it, and it’s okay to skip, adapt, or proceed with your workout as planned, depending on what makes sense for you. Being prepared for this to happen and putting the tools in place to help you move forward with intention in less-than-ideal conditions can help keep you on track to reach your fitness goals.