When running becomes a chore

I came to a realization on Sunday about running – when it feels like something I get to do versus something I feel like I have to do. What’s the difference between running feeling like a treat and just another item on my to do list?


If I get up one day knowing I plan to run, but with no specific plans on when, it hangs over my head all day. I know it needs to get done and I often let it become another item on my to do list, right between the laundry and the dishes. But if I make a specific plan on when I will run it becomes something I get to do. For example, this past Sunday I got up in the morning knowing I would go for a run around 4:00 PM. It’s like once I make that decision then I don’t need to consider it, I just follow through with it.


Obviously if I just get up and go for a run in the morning, that takes care of the whole conundrum. But sometimes it’s nice to have a relaxing morning on the weekend where you can just sip coffee, read the newspaper or watch some TV, and chill.

The crazy thing is this issue of running being a fun activity versus a chore only exists for me on the weekend. During the week I primarily run in the evening after work, but it never bothers me. Some days I come home from work excited for my run. Other days I come home from work tired, but knowing I need to get that run in before my day is complete. Either way, it’s totally different from the weekend. Maybe that’s because my work days are more structured? Or maybe it’s that whole decision thing again. It’s already been planned so there’s no debate about it.


And then there are the times when running becomes both fun and a chore all at the same time. This is something I typically experience when I’m following a training plan. I enjoy the process of training, and the challenge that it presents. And I also love the structure of it, even if that sometimes makes running feel like another task on the list. I’ve been enjoying a pretty loose training routine, sans schedule, since the Hokie Half. But starting Monday I’m planning on beginning a structured 6 week base training plan.  Time to start racking up the miles and building a strong base for the spring!

What makes running/working out a fun activity versus a chore for you? Who else will be doing some base training this winter? 

9 thoughts on “When running becomes a chore”

  1. If I put it on the to do list it sometimes gets overlooked. I have to plan to get out. There is always plenty to do so you just have to make it priority. Or go put a new clutch in the Honda. That’s a good workout too!


  2. If I feel like it’s a chore, I take an extra rest day. Those usually happen during the week for me, and I’m tired after a long day. Sometimes I can delay the run and I feel ready to go, other times I can’t muster anything. The weekends are fun because I can get outside or on the track and enjoy the sunshine (hopefully).

  3. It feels like a chore sometimes (the getting up early part of it anyway) until I get out there on the road. And then all of that seems to vanish and I enjoy it.

  4. Great post! I agree during the week running is just part of my routine. I gotta get up for work, might as well get a run in beforehand. The weekends are a struggle when I’m tempted to do other things. It will be especially hard when I’m not following a training plan. I have a hard time staying motivated without a training plan.

    1. Training plans definitely make all of the difference for me! That, or a running buddy. It’s hard to skip a run when you’ve made plans with them and you know they’re waiting for you.

  5. Pretty much all evening runs seem like a chore to me, except for special runs like on National Running Day where I’ve planned a big group run event, or races like Ragnar. My hat is off to you for being able to muster up the energy to run after a long day’s work!

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