The Guilty Runner

This post could go one of two ways:
1) I could confess that the only reason I run is that I have actually stolen something.

Image from

2) I admit that my Catholic upbringing did not disappear when I stopped going to church, and I have runner’s guilt.

Thankfully, it’s the latter.

So, if my Three on Thursday post this week didn’t give it away, it’s been a tough few weeks. Work is really busy, and after a poorly timed, brutally honest conversation a few weeks ago, which led to several more conversations, I’m being rewarded. (Yes, rewarded. Although maybe it is actually punished…) This means, it’s only going to get busier, which means I need to get my butt in gear with staying motivated, working hard, and staying focused.

But tonight, I came home and needed to decompress. I needed time to sit, catch up on my DVR, and read blogs from my blog friends, who I’ve been terrible about reading and even worse with commenting recently. For a little while, I felt guilty, and these thoughts kept running through my head:

– I don’t want to do a training run or a race with Karen and have her questioning if I ever actually run during the week.

– I do not want to feel or look like this post-Disney

Image from

– If I don’t work out I’m going to look like this again

Don’t focus on the hair, I have no idea what that was about. Apparently I thought if my hair was big, it made my face look smaller.

– I will have reverted to my unhealthy self

But then I thought through it: I missed 1 run and now 2 Shred workouts. I plan to do an easy run in the morning, and I’ll make up at least 1 of those Shreds tomorrow too. So I’ll have missed 1 cross-training session this week (okay, I’ve missed 3, but I ran on of those days and didn’t have time for both).

Why do we do this to ourselves? That is not a bad training week considering I worked 50 hours on top of that, but yet I immediately felt like I needed to feel terrible and not listen to what my body and mind were asking for, which is real rest.

A quick Google of Runner’s Guilt showed me dozens of bloggers have written about it, which means many thousands think about it regularly. But why?! If you love doing something why should you feel guilty if you miss it once or twice? When was the last time you felt guilty about missing your favorite TV show? Or guilty about missing that sale at your favorite store (okay, I’ve definitely regretted this, but not quite to guilt)?

It’s time to take back the love of running.

Missing a run or a cross-train session is not the end of the world, and you shouldn’t treat it as such. The non-clinically trained, non-running coach, non-personal trainer, nowhere near expert person who writes this blog thinks as long as it’s not happening every week, or every day, sometimes your body will thank you for an extra rest day.

Do you get runner’s guilt?
What’s your worst running nightmare?
What’s one of your guilty pleasures? (Mine is reading a book in a lavender Epsom bath. Best thing ever.)

8 thoughts on “The Guilty Runner

  1. Hello, my name is Karen and I am suffering from runners guilt. My long run catrostophe and mini-mental breakdown today were the boiling point of my fustration with myself. I do not work 50 hour weeks and therefore I really have no excuse…I am going to kick this week’s ass!
    Karen @karenlovestorun

  2. Ugh I’m going through the same thing right now. Have been SO behind on blog posting and am just starting to lack the motivation to be into hardcore training. I guess they call it race seasons for a reason- because you need time off. Let’s make a pack to motivate each other until these races are done! Then we can motivate each other to relax!

    1. I love it! Did you get your long run in yet? I’m making the decision to run when its hotter but less humid (right now its 66 with 100% humidity. 13 miles on my own is not happening in that 😩

  3. I totally get runner’s guilt more frequently than I’d like to admit. I’ve taken the past week off because of foot pain/tendonitis and with each passing moment I see time slipping away. And then I completely give up and start eating horribly. It’s such a vicious cycle and I hate it!

    My worst running nightmare was not being able to find the start line of a marathon and by the time I found it I was too late. These types of nightmares happened A LOT during training for my first so beware! πŸ™‚

    1. I hope your tendinitis starts to feel better! Being injured or sick is the worst runners guilt, in my opinion, because have the time, you just can’t do anything with it 😞

      Thanks for the warning on the dreams. I don’t know what they are, but I think they’ve started!

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