Some of those reasons, like sickness and injury, are serious and require time off. Most of us, though, have a rolling list of self-imposed reasons to keep us inside and, most likely, lounging on the couch. Before we know it, our running shoes are hiding in the closet, that GPS watch is gathering dust in the drawer and what was once a regular running routine is now a distant memory.
To help keep those running routines on track, we spoke to Emmett Williams, a fitness expert and the president of MYZONE, a heart rate tracker and app. Williams, who says he constantly hears the same reasons for why people have given up on running, delivers advice on how to tackle even the most stubborn thoughts.
The Excuse: "I'm not making any progress. Why keep running?"1 of 7
After weeks of pounding the pavement, you feel like you aren't getting any faster, and it's not getting easier. You're frustrated and discouraged, and you feel like there's no point to all this work.
"The most common reasons I hear as to why people don't stick with their fitness program are that they aren't getting immediate feedback, don't feel a sense of progress and that they can't see how they are being rewarded for their efforts," Williams says.
The Fix: Start measuring something else.
For example, try using a heart rate monitor and focus on how your body is powering through your current run. Don't put too much emphasis on the end result.
If you're running each week, you're improving your fitness one way or another. Results may not always be as clear-cut or immediate as you would like, but they're there. Tracking different run metrics, Williams says, will show you each small improvement.
The Excuse: "I'm not losing any weight. Running isn't working."2 of 7
Many runners come to the sport with the specific goal of shedding pounds, and though that may be a worthwhile personal goal, it can take a while to see results.
With summertime just around the corner, the frustration can become even worse.
The Fix: Shift your expectations.
Weight loss is not a quick process and should be treated as such. Everyone gains and loses pounds at different rates, and you shouldn't expect to see results overnight.
You also need to analyze your running style. Are you running the same route at the same pace each time you run? If so, this could be a reason you're not seeing any weight loss. As time passes, your body becomes accustomed to the stresses of running, especially if you're doing the same thing time and time again. This means you're not working as hard each time you head out.
Consider changing up your routine, including route, distance and overall schedule. Instead of just running the same 3-mile loop in your neighborhood, hit a nearby track for some speedwork or find a steep grade for hill repeats.
The Excuse: "I don't have time to run."3 of 7
This common excuse isn't always wrong. Your calendar can quickly become so packed that any new running routines are easily derailed before you can even make it a habit.
With so many commitments outside of running, the idea of lacing up multiple days a week can seem like an impossible goal.
The Fix: Plan ahead.
Memorize a 15-, 20- or 30-minute route around your home or office that becomes your go-to backup plan for when you encounter an especially crazy day. This route should be quick and easy so you don't encounter any mental roadblocks.
And always remember: Even 10 minutes of running is better than zero.
The Excuse: "I can't run in this weather."4 of 7
It's raining, snowing, extremely windy or way too hot. It's easy to find a weather-related excuse when you're looking for one. And though some weather conditions are definitely unsafe to run in, others are just inconvenient.
The Fix: Prepare for the unexpected and stay flexible.
When weather turns against you, there's a good chance that lack of gear or failure to plan is what is really holding you back. Invest in water repellent gear for rainy days and pick up a great hydration belt for when you need extra water during summer runs.
If the weather won't allow for running no matter what, move indoors. No one likes running on a treadmill, but try to balance out that dislike with your desire to stay consistent in your running habits.
Lastly, stay on top of the weather forecast for the coming days. If you have a long run planned on a rainy Saturday, move it to a day with more agreeable weather.
The Excuse: "I have a minor injury."5 of 7
Too much running has taken its toll, and you've developed shin splints, runner's knee or another overuse injury. You want to respect the pain and not push through it, even if that means losing your fitness in the process.
The Fix: Strength train or cross-train.
An injury doesn't have to be a death sentence. There are other things you can do to maintain your current level of fitness.
While you're out of commission, start strength training a few times a week in place of your runs. (Just make sure you're working the parts of your body not injured.) Not only will this give you something to do to keep you active, but stronger muscles will also reduce your risk of getting injured again.
You can also perform low-impact sports, such as swimming or cycling. These will keep your heart rate and fitness level up until you are fully healed.
The Excuse: Insert Yours Here6 of 7
Whatever your excuse may be, Williams has some universal advice for staying on track.
He highlights the power of social media to get you over whatever hurdle you're facing.
"Recognition is a powerful motivator," Williams says. "When you accomplish something you're excited about, don't be afraid to share it with those around you. Posting your accomplishments on your social media accounts allows your friends and family to hold you accountable for meeting your goals and also lets the people in your life celebrate with you when you reach your milestones."
Williams also notes that there will always be unexpected surprises that might momentarily derail your progress, but he recommends celebrating every small victory along the way. It will make the ride that much sweeter.
Whether you simply run three times a week or a multiple weeks consistently, always look for your progress and improvements instead of where you're lacking.