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Dealing with Running FOMO and Choosing Not to Run (Coaches Corner)

As a runner, one of the hardest things to deal with is FOMO of not running when the weather is PERFECTION and training seasons are starting.  Find out how to deal with sitting out runs and link up with Running Coaches Corner!

After my higher mileage weeks of April, I have scaled way back just as the weather has gotten beautiful. Not only that, people are starting to work on full and half marathon training plans, getting all of their gear in order, and new runners are heading out for the first time.

Oh, and the water fountains have turned on and the bathrooms are open on the Lakefront Trail. If that doesn’t call you to go run, I don’t know what will. (Especially if you have a digestive illness #crohnssucks)

And yet, I am sitting out those runs, lacing up my running shoes only to take Ridley for walks and to train at the gym, and putting on a sports bra just because I am lazy. And nope, I am not going crazy!!

Here’s how I am staying sane!

Dealing with Running FOMO

Coach @Suzlyfe helps those Dealing with Running FOMO! Ever chosen to not run?

Last summer, I talked about dealing with racing FOMO, but pure and simple running FOMO is a different animal entirely. Running FOMO is accompanied by unconscious dressing in your running gear, making sure that you have your pre-race food, mid-run nutrition, and post run recovery bars stocked and prepped even though you don’t need any of these things during that time, and many a wistful look as runners go by. 

And yes, I can check off a few of those right now! No, I do not need to buy those bananas, but at least now I have the option of making banana bread or banana muffins. Fueling for life, people. 

Yes, I would LOVE to be putting on my new Spyder gear and running the shores of Lake Michigan right now, past the incoming boats in the harbor and the marathon training groups and crazy cyclists (love y’all, but you are crazy). But I’m not. And that is the first point.

Own Your Choice Not To Run

One of the reasons that injuries are so.freaking.infuriating is that you can’t control when the injury will improve and thus to run or not to run is your decision. Since most of us runners are control freaks either indulging ourselves or trying to relax our need for control, this lack of control is even more infuriating. 

Otherwise, this will become you 24/7

When you OWN your decision, you take the power back, and I will tell you, you instantly feel better. I’m not kidding. And this also applies to dealing with injury: STOP TESTING YOUR INJURY AND OWN IT. You are injured, do what you can and stop making the situation worse. 

Do What You Can

I say this all the time: the way to cope with injury is to figure out and focus on what you CAN do. Forget about what you cannot do. When I couldn’t run, do yoga, have sex, or even cross my body in certain ways during my sacral stress fracture and then again during IVF cycles, I instead focused on strength training and walking (obviously not during the back fracture).

During this current round of IVF treatment for FET, I have a bit more freedom: I can do yoga, walk, and cross my body, I just can’t do vigorous/high-intensity or high impact exercise. So I am taking the opportunity to get back into a regular yoga practice, I get my steps and movement in at the restaurant, and on days that I don’t work at the restaurant, Ridley and I go and explore. Hello, the weather is finally good; why wouldn’t I go play outside in it?!

Set Another Goal While You Can’t Run

My goal while I can’t run is to practice yoga or do barre 4-5 x a week. Right now, I am just not interested in weight room-based strength training (although I have fun doing that with my clients!), so I am going to focus on other areas of strength and try to get back to being able to do certain inversions like twisted crow and grasshopper, which I used to be able to do! I would love to get back to some pilates as well!

Spyder Shape Tahoe Limitless Weekend Recap! @suzlyfe

So, you can’t run. Can you work on doing your first pull up? 10 military style push ups? A 2 minute plank?

Find Another Way to Get Outside

Like I mentioned, I can’t run outside, but that doesn’t mean I have to miss out on my Vitamin D! Take your lunch outside, walk for as long as you would normally run, take the long way into work. Walk to work, even! You aren’t taking up as much time running, so you might have enough time, depending on how far away you work. 

Oh, and you might have noticed, I went skiing not too long ago for the first time in 15 years! πŸ˜€

Bottom Line on Surviving Running FOMO

I challenge all of YOU to find happiness where you are by taking a moment of stillness everyday where you use stillness, even just a moment, to take a deep breath and feel happiness and peace. @suzlyfe

Notice what each of these tips revolve around? Positivity. NOT NEGATIVITY. Squash that inner dialogue of “Oh, poor me, I’m not running and it is beautiful outside.” Tell the green eyed monster to be quiet. Because you know what? There was probably a time when they couldn’t run, either! And as long as you find something else that you find challenging and physically strenuous in some fashion and especially if it affords you the opportunity to get outside, you will find that while you won’t stop missing running, the pain of separation may just hurt a bit less. Try to Find Happiness Where You Are.

Not able to run? How to deal with #running FOMO! #runchat #coachescorner #fitfluential Click To Tweet

Ready to get back to running? Don’t miss this post on returning to running after injury or a long time off.

Have you ever made the choice not to run for a certain amount of time?

Other advice!

Join the link up and Running Coaches Corner for more great running advice and content!

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I am linking up with myself, RachelLora, and Debbie for Running Coaches CornerPattyErika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, NicoleAnnmarieMichelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday.

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Have you read these gems?


  • Reply Carla

    At first I read this and thought: well I’m not a runner so I don’t think I’d have any of this πŸ™‚ but then I remembered it’s all the same. Back in the day I hurt my back and couldn’t lift in the way I like to lift weights for close to six months.
    It was so flipping hard. No deadlifts and squats… And I think without realizing it I did Cicely what you say above and I found a different goal. Still movement. But just not picking up heavy things and bring them back down πŸ™‚ it created a new tribe and distracted me.

    May 17, 2017 at 5:16 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It really is all the same. This applies to everything! Marathon of life!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:45 pm
  • Reply Allie

    Running FOMO is REAL!!! I even get it in triathlon training because a part of me wants to be marathon (or at least half marathon) training!! Great advice and, I’ve found that I really look forward to my walks with StarFire and try to think of new and exciting places to take her, you know, just to spice things up πŸ™‚ #nerd

    May 17, 2017 at 5:32 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You two are so cute. I love seeing your excitement with her!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:45 pm
  • Reply Lisa @ Mile by Mile

    Even though Im running a few days a week I still feel like Im missing out on days when i don’t run (which is ridiculous, I know!) But through this whole injury process none of the providers I was seeing told me to stop running, so each time I stopped it was my own decision. I think that helped a little, however it would be nice to have someone else hold me accountable or that I could sort of “blame” for not running!

    May 17, 2017 at 5:43 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      We humans love to have something to blame–it is way harder to just accept things as they are without an explanation (especially for people like us).

      May 19, 2017 at 2:44 pm
  • Reply Wendy

    Sitting on the sidelines is no fun! That’s my tag line and it’s the truth.

    May 17, 2017 at 5:51 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Yes it is indeed. Unless you like coaching πŸ˜€

      May 19, 2017 at 2:43 pm
  • Reply Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner

    FOMO is the worst and when I have been injured and unable to run it was just honestly depressing. I did everything else I could to get my sweat on but honestly it was not the same for me. The social aspect was the hardest I think

    May 17, 2017 at 6:05 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Especially because your running is so social focused, I can imagine that it was hella hard!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:43 pm
  • Reply Sarah Dudek

    It’s always good for us runners and everyone else to sit back and find ways to mix things up. Trying new things can be great when you can’t run. And sometimes running isn’t the only thing out there (sometimes).

    May 17, 2017 at 6:07 am
  • Reply Christina @

    Great ideas! I definitely struggled with this when I first injured my foot a few years ago. I think finding other ways to get outside was especially key for me. At this point, I’m just SO happy when I do get to run without pain in my foot. I admit though that I still get jealous sometimes when I see people out there running and I can’t run at the moment….

    May 17, 2017 at 6:35 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m sorry, Christina. That is so frustrating that you are STILL dealing with that!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:42 pm
  • Reply Heather @Lunging Through Life

    Obviously mine is a little different but I’ve been struggling with this lately! The weather has been gorgeous for runs in the morning and evening and all I want is to get out there but I can’t. I know soon enough but it’s hard to watch all those runners go by! Hang in there girl!

    May 17, 2017 at 7:11 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Hey we are both taking time off for baby (hopefully) related things, so not so far off!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:41 pm
  • Reply Laura @ This Runner's Recipes

    I had such bad FOMO when I had an ankle injury back in college – I was so worried I wouldn’t run ever again! I really like your tip about getting outside – that’s what I miss the most when injured!

    May 17, 2017 at 7:17 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Oh, me too. i was the same way with my back injury!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:40 pm
  • Reply Emily @ Pizza & Pull-ups

    These are great ideas. I am not much of a runner, but this can really be applied to any high intensity/impact activity you need to take a break from. Thanks for sharing!

    May 17, 2017 at 7:18 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I hope they help if you ever need them!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:39 pm
  • Reply Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    Such good tips! I really liked find another way to get outside. When I can’t run I miss and crave that outdoor time.

    May 17, 2017 at 7:22 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Gotta get that Vitamin D!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:39 pm
  • Reply Kimberly G

    Running FOMO is REAL!! I think social media, especially IG, makes it worse for me because when I see everyone posting race photos I want to be out there running! 2015 was the year I ran #alltheraces (over 30), so you would think that I got all the racing out of my system, but nope!

    May 17, 2017 at 7:33 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That is a huge reason why I don’t follow all runners–you gotta have balance!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:39 pm
  • Reply Debbie

    Great ideas for dealing with anything that keeps us from running. I need distraction when I can’t run to take my mind off all the fun that the other runners are having!

    May 17, 2017 at 7:39 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That is why the alternative goals helps!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:38 pm
  • Reply Annmarie

    Whenever I have been sidelined from running, setting an alternate goal has really helped in dealing with the FOMO! Great tips, Suz!

    May 17, 2017 at 8:09 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Annmarie! I hope you are feeling better!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:37 pm
  • Reply Gretchen

    Even though I’m still running, I took a big step back from the non stop half and full marathon training from the past few years. It feels so nice to actually have free time to spend with friends and family (and not have to make sure to #stayhydrated, eat clean, go to bed early, etc). Plus, being able to spend more time with Selma (Ridley for you) and do active things with her is a huge plus!!

    May 17, 2017 at 8:25 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And I’ll be honest, Ridley doesn’t really like going for runs, as much as I wish she did!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:37 pm
  • Reply Cora

    There’s always something on the other side. And these times are so much easier when the weather is beautiful. Just being outside makes a huge difference.

    May 17, 2017 at 8:28 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      There is always spring after winter! Even if it only lasts for 2 weeks, like in Chicago lol

      May 19, 2017 at 2:36 pm
  • Reply Suzy

    Man, this just reminds me of when you had your stress fracture and how out of desperation you’d go to the gym and use the hand cycle. You’ve got a will of steel! I’m so glad you don’t have to deal with that anymore. I love postive-focused posts. There’s something good to be taken out of anything, really. And so true about how all the other runners were most likely unable to run at one point too, so it’s good karma for us to be happy for them!

    May 17, 2017 at 8:33 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      THE FUCKING HAND CYCLE> Talk about desperation. And you are right–there is always a positive.

      May 19, 2017 at 2:36 pm
  • Reply Lesley

    I got FOMO really bad when RnR Vegas registration opened. I think doing that race would be fun, but I’m committed to not signing up until my next race is done. I need to see how it goes, and what I need to work on, and then take a break for a couple weeks.

    May 17, 2017 at 8:52 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That takes some real mental strength. Seriously!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:35 pm
  • Reply Patricia @Sweet and Strong

    Such a great post. I often find myself knowing I need a recovery day, but it’s so tempting when the weather is nice out to go for a run. I love the tip to set new goals. I have ALWAYS been saying I need to do more yoga and Barre.

    May 17, 2017 at 9:07 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      As long as wherever I am includes a book and or a light filled studio… I can figure it out.

      May 19, 2017 at 2:34 pm
  • Reply Emily

    The FOMO is so real, but I love your advice of how to avoid it. πŸ™‚ I really like choosing other activities to improve in, especially low impact strength training. Dogs also make a good reason to go on a walk without running.

    May 17, 2017 at 9:11 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank goodness for our pups!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:34 pm
  • Reply Michelle

    I CAN run now, my problem is falling back in love with running. I think I took too much time off.

    May 17, 2017 at 9:25 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It takes time, and sometimes it doesn’t. Run walking helped me get back to it because it made me WANT to run when I was forced to walk. Also I didn’t tire as quickly, so I got to go for a bit longer.

      May 19, 2017 at 2:33 pm
  • Reply Kelli @ Hungry Hobby

    GIrl I’ve been injured since January…. since they were upper body injuries I kept running but then realized that I needed to cool it with the running because yes, running requires you to work your shoulders and be able to rotate them. At this point, when I do run I’m thankful for it, when I don’t… I stop letting it run my life. I remember the first time I got injured, I refused to go out to eat at all and simply did not enjoy life. I’m glad I don’t live like that now or this past six months would have been hell on wheels!

    May 17, 2017 at 9:31 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Your injury must be so frustrating as a lifter, a runner, in so many ways. I’ve been so frustrated for you! And yes… I’m glad that you found your comfort ground with it all.

      May 19, 2017 at 2:32 pm
  • Reply Hannah

    I have to remind myself why I chose not to run – because if there weren’t benefits to not running during certain times we wouldn’t do it, right?

    May 17, 2017 at 9:47 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Yes indeed! Good point.

      May 19, 2017 at 2:31 pm
  • Reply Ange // Cowgirl Runs

    I totally agree. Focusing on what you CAN do and what we DO have is so helpful – a better way to frame it instead of focusing on what we can’t or don’t have.

    May 17, 2017 at 9:52 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Doing that only creates resentment!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:31 pm
  • Reply Rachel

    I agree 100% — find another activity and get outside! Or just be comfortable not running. It’s hard but sometimes we just need a break!

    May 17, 2017 at 7:44 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Try telling someone who can’t run to “just be comfortable” with it!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:29 pm
  • Reply angela @ happy fit mama

    FOMO is for real! While I’d love to be out running in the gorgeous weather, I have found that cycling is my BFF that keeps me from pulling my hair out. Thankfully, we are back in the gorgeous weather and out of the torrential downpours and frigid temps so I can get out more.

    May 17, 2017 at 8:10 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Then that is where you need to be!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:28 pm
  • Reply Kimberly Hatting

    You said it well when you said to “own your decision to not run.” (I’m paraphrasing, obviously). As you know, I went through a major riff following Route 66. I needed rest (and recovery) but I wanted to run….so I chose to run an itsy bit each day (no more than a mile at a very slow pace). I probably gained little (if anything) fitness-wise, but it gave me a chance to be in control without pining away at what I couldn’t do. There’s a lot of strength in making a decision and OWNING it πŸ˜‰

    May 17, 2017 at 8:33 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Isn’t there so much strength in putting yourself in the drivers seat, regardless?!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:27 pm
  • Reply

    OK, I had to Google what FOMO meant! πŸ˜‰ In my defense, I asked a few other people here in the office and no one knew. Must be more used over there acronym….anyway, sorry completely off the subject! I don’t know what I’d do without my running, I’m so used to it. However, 4 years ago when I had a knee injury I did have to pull back on it and ran slower, less pacey runs. So I guess that’s what I’d do again. Though reluctantly!

    May 18, 2017 at 2:53 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Us silly Yanks. But then you all have a language all your own as well πŸ˜€ I have FOMO over it sometimes πŸ˜€

      May 19, 2017 at 2:26 pm
  • Reply Janelle @ Run With No Regrets

    Running FOMO is really tough but you’re right – you have to focus on what you CAN do and not dwell on the negative. I think doing more walking and fitness classes is a great way to still stay active!

    May 18, 2017 at 8:10 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Now I just have to find the fitness classes!

      May 19, 2017 at 2:26 pm
  • Reply Katie @HungryRunner

    I’ve definitely been forced to stop running for periods of time because of injuries and yes, it IS quite maddening. But I’ve found the same thing about owning your decision … it really does help. If you embrace and come to terms with the fact that no running is your reality it’s so much easier to deal with. And it’s always a great time to try other things that maybe you normally wouldn’t!

    May 18, 2017 at 8:32 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That is how I found my love for spin@

      May 19, 2017 at 2:25 pm
  • Reply Patrick@

    Great advice! Love how you always focus on the positive and what you can do!

    May 19, 2017 at 7:17 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Patrick! I really think you have to–otherwise, you will end up wallowing in shmutz.

      May 19, 2017 at 2:18 pm

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