Getting past the “I don’t feel like its”

There are two reasons that we don’t train the way we would like. One is that we have genuine obstacles that prevent us from training, and the other reason is that we get a case of the “I don’t feel like its” and we pike out.

Genuine reasons for not training will include;

  • Injury
  • Family emergency
  • Urgent work commitment
  • Dangerous weather!
  • A complete shoe malfunction


A case of the “I don’t feel like its” might include these things;

  • It’s too cold
  • It’s too hot
  • I’m too tired
  • I’ve lost motivation
  • I’ll do it tomorrow instead
  • It won’t hurt to miss this one run


Usually, the “I don’t feel like its” are associated with feelings of discomfort, boredom and uncertainty but they could also extend to feelings of fear, judgement, anxiety and inadequacy. The way to recognise if you have a case of the “I don’t feel like its” is if later on you start to have different feelings and that skipping the workout was the wrong choice. These feelings might include regret, shame, annoyance, upset, or even fear of explaining it to your coach!

Do you have a case of the “I don’t feel like its”?

To treat a case of the “I don’t feel like its”, you don’t even need to know WHY you don’t feel like it. I do care about your feelings, but they are not useful to you. All feelings are natural, and to try to stop feeling emotions is an exercise in futility! We are human, and will all feel fear, judgement, anxiety and inadequacy from time to time. So the treatment for the “I don’t feel like its” is simply this;

Don’t let your feelings decide your actions. Allow yourself to experience the feeling you are having, but don’t validate it. Instead, act in accordance with what you know is right. Here are some examples;

“I feel anxious about my tempo run because I know it will be hard… but I will do it anyway because I don’t want to feel bad about missing the session.”

“I feel bored with my really long runs… but I will do it anyway because if I don’t I won’t be ready for the marathon, and it will hurt more on race day.”

“I feel inadequate when I run intervals because I’m so slow… but I will do them anyway because I’ll be annoyed at myself for giving up again.”

“I feel too warm in bed to get up this morning… but I will put on a pair of gloves and just ‘harden up’ because I don’t want my coach to think I’m a wuss!”

There are a thousand examples I could come up with, and if you’re currently suffering from a case of the “I don’t feel like its” then I’m sure you have your own examples. I also want to say that it’s perfectly normal – we all have them from time to time. I know that I do! Mine is often something like this;

“I feel anxious about training too much and spending less time my family…. but I will stick to my plan because I know that my family are inspired and proud of me for what I am doing”.

Achieving your running goal doesn’t happen overnight, and getting over a case of the “I don’t feel like its” will take some time too. Training is not about perfection, it’s about practice, and so is this. Practice acknowledging your feelings about your training, and practice acting in accordance with what you know is right – and avoid those nasty feelings of regret, shame, or upset for missing your workout! If you do, you’ll miss less workouts, put in more effort, and in the end you’ll also get better results! And after all, isn’t that what you want?

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Mark Emr
Mark is a runner and coach with 10 years experience and has competed in over 80 marathons and ultra-marathons.

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