13 Best Ultra Running Excuses

This is a light-hearted post inspired by a few lists we’ve seen of late – plus it’s a nice way to end the week we think with a bit of laugh-at-yourself banter. Having seen a few lists doing the rounds, I thought we’d pull together our own version of ‘excuses’ here at Ultra168 and put a little twist on them with some translations as to what runners really mean when they blurt out their excuses on the trail.

Heck we’ve all used them at some point in our running careers I’m sure, I know I have :). I think numbers six, seven and eight are my favourites and have come out of the excuses bag before!

But at the end of the day we’re no fan of excuses. You either did or you didn’t – that doesn’t stop some of the beauties we’ve heard over the years, which we’ve included below and sourced from other people too through conversations on the trail.

Here’s a recollection of some of the best:

#1 “It’s just so hot out here!”

Translation = I did not look at the weather forecast before I headed out for the race today. Additionally I didn’t think that I might need some extra water and sunscreen either, or that I should adjust my pace accordingly.

#2 “I’m having massive stomach issues”

Translation = I ran way beyond my own ability for the first 20kms and as a result, this is my body’s way of telling me just that. Now, the food I’ve tried to ingest has no way of settling in my stomach that I’ve jiggled around violently in the first 1.5hrs of my run.

Stomach hurty hurty
Stomach hurty hurty… go out too quicky quicky!

#3 “I only entered this race last week”

Translation = I’m massively under prepared, so I’m giving myself an excuse to DNF right here, right now.

#4 “My shoes don’t feel right”

Translation = I bought the wrong size online because I’m a cheapskate and won’t buy from shops where I can try them on.

#5 “The Checkpoint is 2kms further on than my GPS said it would be”

Translation = I have a complete inability to be accountable to myself, as well as read course notes.

#6 “I took a wrong turn and did an extra 15kms”

Yeah.... right....
Yeah…. right….

Translation = I really only ran an extra 2-3kms, but it felt like hours, so I’ll tell everyone it was longer as an excuse as to why I’m just really slow.

#7 “This race is just a ‘C’ race”

Translation = I haven’t trained properly for this, so again if I’m slow I have an excuse.

#8 “I didn’t taper for this race”

Translation = I’ve essentially crammed all my training into the four weeks preceding this race.

#9 “I could have won today”

Translation = I’m basing this on my 5km Park Run time from last week.

#10 “I didn’t expect it to be so technical”

Translation = I did all my training on the road because I couldn’t be arsed to get up at 5am to go to the trail.

#11 “My feet are sore”

Translation = I’m wearing Inov8s.

#12 “I’ve had a cold all week”

Translation = I’m slow.

#13 “I twisted my ankle in the first 3kms”

Translation = I’m wearing Hokas 🙂

What are you favourite excuses?

Dan on Twitter
I'm a mediocre runner who can bat above his average when I train hard. A man of extremes, I do enjoy everything life offers and consider it an absolute pleasure just to be able to put one foot in front of the other and let my mind wander somewhere different.

7 thoughts on “13 Best Ultra Running Excuses

  1. My pre-prepared excuses leading into Two Bays Ultra earlier this year that were part of backlash against the organisers on Facebook because there was no Zumba warmup:

    I haven’t done any training; this is only a training race; I’ve only done base training, I’d be much faster if I was in my speed phase; I would’ve taken it seriously but drank so many beers last night; I’m just training through this race; my warm up just didn’t feel right; there were other people on the course; I haven’t started my hill training yet; my GoPro wasn’t working; I didn’t get my taper right; my garmin wouldn’t lock onto the satellites; I wore the wrong shoes; I ran 57km yesterday; there weren’t enough drink stations; the ground was too rough; some of the grass hadn’t been mown; it was too early in the morning; it’s all about the zen and I’d just be selling out by trying to go fast; or just simply… there was no aerobics warmup.

      1. indeed Jason, there are loads of lists out there and I’ve heard many of these on the trails too… thought it would be good to capture them all! Thanks for adding to them!

  2. I just haven’t had the time to train properly due to (insert pathetic reason here- a cold/ relative being ill/ just to busy at work)
    Translation- I have undertrained as I couldn’t be bothered to get my ar*e out there and run when it was cold and wet…

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