Sometimes I Do Regret a Workout

There’s a meme out there that I really hate. (OK, there are lots that I hate, but this one in particular.) There are many versions of it, but the gist is “You’ll never regret a workout” or “The only bad workout is one you didn’t do” or “The only workout you’ll regret is the one that didn’t happen” or “Wow, I really regret that workout … said no one ever.”

I have regretted a workout. Quite a few. It happens. Those memes are stupid and that’s a very unhealthy mentality.

Generally, any workout I’ve regretted has been one that I did despite what my body was telling me.

KT tape will not fix runner’s knee for 13.1 miles

A few years ago, when I wound up sidelined with runner’s knee, that sidelining came after ignoring knee pain for a few months. I’m not going to lie. The pain started in May-ish, and I didn’t finally throw in the towel until after limping through a lot of the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon (and long runs for marathon training) in July.  So that’s probably three months of ignoring the pain, continuing to run, and – shocker! – not getting any better! What would have been smart? SKIPPING MY WORKOUTS, and getting a diagnosis sooner and thus starting physical therapy sooner, and maybe, just maybe, I would have gotten through PT in time to still train for and complete the Chicago Marathon that year. But no, in my stubbornness, I kept running, because I was signed up for a marathon. By the time I finally started PT, it was too late to still train for the marathon.

That’s a baggie of ice held to my ankle with a rubber band.

And sometimes the workout itself leads to the injury! A few weeks ago, I was rehearsing for an upcoming performance and decided to attempt some chair dance moves that I typically do barefoot. But wearing heels this time. Well, I rolled my ankle. So I regret that workout. I iced my ankle that evening but went through with my planned workout (a run) the following day. Probably a dumb move. Since then, I’ve only been running about 5-6 miles per week … but honestly, I probably shouldn’t run at all until I don’t feel any tenderness in my ankle. Because I do feel tenderness if I bend it a certain way, and I think my ankle was a little swollen this morning. Makes sense considering yesterday I ran treadmill intervals, walked about 2 miles around town in the afternoon, and performed 3 acts in a show at night. (At least I could swap my heels for flat shoes at the show.)

And even something “easy” like yoga can be regreattable. Normally when I go to certain practices, like the Pilsen Yoga Tribe, I don’t just get a good stretch, but get a lot of good yoga woo-woo. This morning, I had a headache but went to yoga anyway … and felt like crap the whole time. I got a decent stretch, but no woo, and felt nauseous a few times. Probably should have skipped it, taken an Ibuprofen, and stretched out at home after my headache was gone.

Now, I get it, a lot of these memes are directed at skipping workouts when you’re feeling lazy. But you know what … who cares? If you want to skip a workout and binge-watch Netflix and order pizza, you do you. it’s your life. YOLO. Don’t let some internet meme shame you into doing something. Shame is a not a sustainable strategy for establishing good habits.

And if you are working out despite signs from your body that you shouldn’t be working out? Well, that’s silly. I won’t stop being silly. I’ll already admit right now that I’m not going to stop running until after the Shamrock Shuffle next week. And I might go through with a scheduled performance next week, even though it’s more of an “open mic” kind of show and I’m under no obligation to actually perform. But I promise, after that, I will always be smart about working out.

Yeah right.

But I won’t feel ashamed if I skip a workout, regardless of my excuse, and you shouldn’t either.


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2 Comments on “Sometimes I Do Regret a Workout”

  1. YES.

    I think some of the “workouts” I’ve regretted the least are the ones I skipped when I knew it was in my best interest to bail on whatever my schedule said. I’ve bailed over being sick (and not just, “I’m throwing up and can’t leave the bathroom” sick, where obviously a workout can’t happen, but even as little as, “I know I’m getting a cold.” I’ve run through the latter before and it just made the cold get way worse and last way longer than it would’ve if I had chilled out instead), I’ve bailed over being hurt (and again, not just, “I’m in so much pain that I can’t move” hurt, but as little as, “My knee/ankle/shin/hip is hurting and not getting better” hurt), and just yesterday in fact, I bailed on the 50-minute workout I had planned because I was so tired and so overwhelmed by all the things I needed to do yesterday that the idea of taking roughly an hour and a half to workout (between doing the workout, getting home from the gym, and showering afterwards) when I could use that time to nap and get a jump on all my chores seemed absolutely stupid. So I bailed, and I’m SO glad I did. It made an enormous difference and was 100% worth putting a red line through the workout on my calendar (I mark missed workouts in red). It’s not good to make an excuse every day about why you can’t work out, but when you truly do need rest, due to your physical or mental health, it’s so much smarter to take that rest than push yourself to the edge, I think.

  2. Yup yup yup. At times I have regretted workouts too. Like you, it was mostly those where I didn’t feel great going in or had a niggling injury that I tried to ignore. Sometimes it’s good to push myself to do a workout or to get out the door, but on days where I am feeling tired I like to give myself an out – if I get 20 minutes in and it still sucks or I still feel terrible I can quit. Also when life stress gets to be too much it is totally okay to bail and eat pizza 🙂 and/or any time when you just need a break and pizza.

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