When Does A Run Count As A Real Run?

For starters, the title of this post is intended to be tongue in cheek. You can count whatever you want as a real run. It comes from a train of thought I had at 5 am the other morning as I was struggling to get from my hotel room to the hotel treadmill. As is my recent pattern, I woke up at 3 am and was wide awake. In Cleveland, I gave up on trying to fall back asleep and went and did my run earlier than planned. In Providence, however, I fell back asleep after about an hour which made getting up at 5 to run MISERABLE. I was in slow motion and by the time I was ready to run, my time to run had whittled down to about 20 minutes and I had a fleeting thought that I should just scrap the whole thing because “a 20 minute run doesn’t count.” I managed to get myself out the door and got 20 minutes in anyway.

As I was thinking about it later in the day, this is a train of thought that I need to reframe as I head into Residency. There will be days when 20 minutes is a luxury and I need to relish those days just as a much as I love a bonus hour. I experienced this during my recent travel bender; when I had a bonus hour in Salt Lake City I jumped at the opportunity to get an hour in even though I only needed 5 miles. Normally I’m a stickler for not doing more than my training plan calls for but in this case, gotta make hay while the sun shines as it were!

Am I the only one who thinks this way? Has anyone else ever scrapped a run because they didn’t have time for the full planned run?

4 thoughts on “When Does A Run Count As A Real Run?

  1. Ryan

    I have a 3 mile minimum for a run. I feel the laundry generated outweighs any fitness benefits gained from running less than 3 miles as a standalone workout. When life gets in the way and the time set aside for a run gets get down to below allowing for 3 miles I try to be productive and either take care of some chores/errands that may free me up to add extra time to my next planned run or do a quick strength training workout – unlike with running I feel I can get a productive/beneficial strength workout done in less than 25 minutes. The productive route doesn’t always happen, sometimes I get so pissed off about missing the run that I just sulk and accomplish nothing.

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    1. Runner Under Pressure Post author

      I really like this idea of using the time to get caught up on whatever is keeping you from running. For me, my to-do list is too ridiculous right now to get much done in 20 minutes but once I get a grip again (mid January?), I’m definitely going to keep this approach in mind.

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  2. Ellie

    Hmm, this is tricky, seeing as I am not in this situation right now. I’d say anything is worth it. Maybe it’s not the greatest training stimulus, but just moving, getting outside or getting your heart pumping for a few minutes has many psychological and physiological benefits. As a runner, I often forget that the daily recommended physical exercise is 30 minutes because it usually seems so low.

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    1. Runner Under Pressure Post author

      It’s so true! I used to think that anything less than 8 wasn’t worth it, then it dropped to 6. Now I’m happy to get anything greater than 20 minutes in! You’re totally right that from a physiologic perspective, any amount of running is worth it in terms of muscle memory and stimulus. Still hard to adjust to!

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