The 5 Minute Rule

We all know the 5 second rule, but in our house well follow the 5 minute rule.  As a mom of two, this even goes for food on the floor!

Do you love running but have those guilty days where you just dread your workout?  Then the cycle begins where you feel even more guilty because you love running or feel like you should love running.  The fact is, you’re just not feeling your run that day or at that moment.


This happens to me a lot on the weekends.   During the week, most of us are bound to a schedule.  If you are like me, your alarm goes off and the coffee pot immediately turns on.  The rest of the day is played out like every other day during the week.  Whether you have kids or not, being an adult is busy times and that means you have to plan everything out.  You probably have to schedule in time to work out.  If you don’t go during your lunch break, first thing in the morning, or right after work, you don’t get the opportunity to get in your run.  Like clockwork, your workouts and everything else during the week, gets a slot in your schedule.

Weekends often play out a little differently.  If you are lucky, you get to sleep in a bit later.  You can linger over that cup of coffee and the news or a good book.  The day unfolds slowly and your sense of urgency to get a run in is lessened.  While this feels nice, it can also make the idea of running, feel a little less enjoyable.


My idea of a weekend!

We all have those days where we just don’t want to run.  At the same time, we do want to go for a run and we feel that guilt.  This is a frustrating predicament.

On these days, I encourage myself and other runners to use the 5 minute rule.  When you find yourself making excuses or questioning your workout, throw on some running clothes and tell yourself to just go for 5 minutes. Go nice and slow and don’t think about anything past those 5 minutes.

If you hit that 5 minute mark and you are still feeling miserable, stop.  Throw in the towel and acknowledge that today was just not meant to be.

However, after 5 minutes, you will most likely find that endorphins are pumping through you and that great sweaty feel of a run is starting to feel like it’s old self.  If this is the case, just roll with it.  Let yourself keep going and enjoy the run.

I have found that some of my best running has occurred on the days when I least felt like running.  It is a magical surprise.  Sometimes we just need to give ourselves a kick in the pants to get up and get moving.

What do you do on the days when you just can’t get yourself going?

9 thoughts on “The 5 Minute Rule

  1. On days where I really don’t feel like going, I plan something afterwards to look forward to- something special at dinner, maybe, a show, a phone call to someone I love- and then I tell myself to go out for at least a mile and see what happens 🙂

  2. Great advice Sarah. I also have to commend both you and your husband on your great parenting, putting the kids in Cubs gear! Go Cubs Go! Fly the W!! Also check out my post on team allegiance I wrote in February.
    Keep up the great work and advice!

  3. When I don’t really feel like running I tell myself “do just one mile.” Never actually stopped at one, but giving myself the option gets me out the door. And by the end of that mile I’ve shaken off the lethargy. It’s true, you know – to keep moving, you have to start moving!

  4. That’s good advice. I sort of do that sometimes, telling myself “just do 3 miles” and then I wind up doing more. It’s much easier to stick to a schedule when I’m marathon training because I have my entire 4 months laid out in front of me. I also get up early at the same time every day whether it’s a weekday or weekend which helps me not feel too lazy (it helps that I don’t really stay out late any night).

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