5 Ways to Cope When you Can’t Run

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5 Ways to Cope When you Can’t Run

All runners get sick or injured at some point… here’s how to cope when you can run or do something you love!

5 Ways to Cope When You Can't Run from Running in a Skirt

Hi guys,

It seems like I’m always getting myself into some situation or another where I’m not able to run.  And I know I’m not alone.  Whether it’s getting sick, getting a running injury, having surgery or breaking an elbow every runner seems to face times where a doctor orders them to put up the running shoes for days, weeks or even months.  And even if you don’t run, I’m sure there has been a time when you can’t do something you love.  Often you feel stressed and sad because you aren’t doing what makes you feel like you.

Once again this summer I was faced with another period where running was not part of my life.  I broke my elbow in late July and the doctor said no running for at least 6 weeks.  Last week I finally got cleared to run again and while going back has been challenging, it’s been so rewarding too.  I feel like I kept in shape as good as I could within my restrictions and the ease back into things hasn’t been as hard this time.  But as I mentioned this isn’t the first time I’ve been through something like this.

Since I’ve been through this before I actually feel like an old pro at coping with not being able to run.  Here are a few things I did to make my time not running a bit easier.

5 Ways to Cope When You Can't Run #runchat #running #runner Click To Tweet

5 Ways to Cope When You Can’t Run

Do What You Can

Running was off the table for me but this time I was lucky that I still could do a lot of stuff that didn’t involve my arms including the elliptical and walking on the treadmill. Since I found both of those activities not quite as intense as running, I increased the time that I did them.   When I was walking on the treadmill I also bumped up the incline to increase the burn and my heartrate.  I also focused on legwork like squats, lunges, wall sits… basically anything that did not involve the arms.  For core work I did crunches and bridges since I can’t do planks.

Ask your doctor what you can do and get creative.  If you aren’t familiar with different exercises consider getting a trainer to help you stay in shape.  Any workouts that you can do while not running can help you ease back into running when it’s time.  It will also go a long way in keeping your sanity, especially if running is a stress reliever for you.

The Best Treadmill Workouts / Running in a Skirt

Even if you really can’t workout get back to any sort of movement including just slow walking as soon as the doctor says you can.  It’s easy to keep moving once you start.


Find Another Project

For me running is a hobby I obsess over and fully embrace.  It’s something that most days of my life revolve around in some capacity.  Without running, I feel little lost.  It’s almost like my mind needs a project.  Since my injury made it hard to do many things I didn’t take on any big home projects like I normally do injured, however I did decide to dive into a summer reading list.  The summer reading this was the perfect project that kept my mind distracted but kept me resting like I needed to be.

Don’t sign up for another race!

This is something I have learned over the years. I used to get sick or injured and in my head decide I would only be sick or injured for a certain amount of time and then sign up for a race a few weeks after that. That would put pressure on me to get better faster than I should or cause me to reinjure myself pushing to get back. Coming back from an injury is hard and you might not be in the same physical condition you were when you got injured. It’s best to wait until you were actually back in your running shoes see how it feels and then sign up for your next race.

If you are feeling the need to be a part of the racing community, go to a race and be a cheerleader or volunteer to pass out water.


Reconnect with Friends

Running can take up a lot of time. Use that time to reconnect with old friends.  Plan a nice dinner out or if you have the time and resources even a day or weekend trip.  Distractions are a good thing!  It will also remind you that while running is pretty darn awesome, it’s not THE most important thing in the world.


Use the Time for Self Care

Take the time you would have been planning your runs and running and invest it in a self care routine.  Whether it’s meal planning, indulging in a long bath or taking extra time to pamper yourself… now is a good time to find ways to destress without movement.

Also consider taking up meditation to keep your mind calm and stress free while you are losing that happy running endorphin time.


If you love running like I do, not being able to run is never ideal but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. I hope these tips can help you cope the next time you can’t run!


Like this post about finding ways to cope when you can’t run?  Pin this to your favorite running Pinterest board.

5 Ways to Cope When You Can't Run from Running in a Skirt

5 Ways to Cope When You Can't Run #runchat #running #runner Click To Tweet

Your turn!

How do you cope when you can’t run?


I’m linking this post about Running Mantras with Marvelous Monday,  Jill Conyers for Fitness Friday & Inspired to be Fit, Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday,  Coaches Corner, and Annmarie for Wild Workout Wednesday.

By | 2017-09-12T18:16:21-04:00 September 13th, 2017|Fitness, Newbie Running, Running|18 Comments


  1. Chrystal Rose September 24, 2017 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    What a great post. We have all been there where we have to take a step back from something that makes us truly happy. I love the way you handle this certain situation!

  2. [email protected] the Long Way Home September 14, 2017 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    I think finding something physical that you can do is probably the most helpful tip. Even when I was training and couldn’t run, I did pool running which helped me a lot. I listened to the same music I run too, and that really made me feel like I was doing something!

  3. Blane Sherer September 13, 2017 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    One of your greatest strengths on your blog
    is how you honestly incorporate your own
    life events into your ” advice and tips ”
    for those who read your blog.

  4. Nicole @ Fitful Focus September 13, 2017 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    I fell in love with strength training when I wasn’t able to run a few years ago. It was hard to not get in all that cardio, but I’m happy to have found something else I enjoyed!

  5. Kimberly Hatting September 13, 2017 at 3:46 pm - Reply

    Great tips, especially the one about focusing on what you CAN do. There were times I wanted to curl up in a corner and dwell on my situation…but that would not get me anywhere LOL Focusing on what I could actually do (for me it was walking), I had a new distraction to take my mind off the lack of running. And, it actually got my legs in pretty decent “off-season” shape 😉

  6. Annmarie September 13, 2017 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    It is so frustrating when you can’t run but you know me, I am all about doing what I can and finding other (productive) ways to bide my time 🙂

  7. [email protected] September 13, 2017 at 10:04 am - Reply

    Great advice for those times when we can’t do what we love! Glad you are able to run again!

  8. Kim G September 13, 2017 at 9:27 am - Reply

    These are really great tips! When I was injury at the end of last year I couldn’t run for a few weeks. I tried to focus on doing more ab exercises and upper body work. That way I was still working out and focusing on area often neglected when running!

  9. Dan Steadman September 13, 2017 at 9:17 am - Reply

    work other muscles, plan a comeback…do some things that you can on the to do list…That’s what I did when I had a stress fracture…it’s never fun being hurt, but makes a comeback sweeter….going through a divorce now, so that has me racing sidelined for a little while

  10. Marina @ Happy Healing September 13, 2017 at 9:12 am - Reply

    LOVE this post – I need this right now 🙂 still dealing with a foot injury! I think it’s so important to take a break once in a while to realign your priorities and take some time for self care. Hope you have a great day, Julie!

  11. Being side lined is never fun but sometimes it does give you a chance to try new activities with new people

  12. Susie @ Suzlye September 13, 2017 at 8:26 am - Reply

    I have so been there with you on this. Always always always focus on what you CAN do. ALWAYS

  13. Naomi September 13, 2017 at 8:25 am - Reply

    This is all such good advice. I’m not injured at the moment, but I have been sick and I’m finding it especially hard to rest when I’m starting to feel better. Thanks for this!

  14. Maureen @ Maureen Gets Real September 13, 2017 at 7:44 am - Reply

    These are great tips! When I can’t run, I try to find a bunch of good books that will suck me in so I don’t miss running as much but it’s tough. I also try to keep in mind that I’ll run soon and that this period of not running isn’t forever.

  15. Natalie September 13, 2017 at 7:24 am - Reply

    Great ideas! I broke my arm at the top where it meets the shoulder so I am limited-csn’t drive-argh!!
    Have been so discouraged but still have tried to at least walk. thanks For Always Putting a positive Spin on Things!!!

  16. [email protected] September 13, 2017 at 7:22 am - Reply

    I like To read but do not do it often. I feel guilty when I take the time out to read that I should be doing something more productive.

  17. Jess September 13, 2017 at 5:25 am - Reply

    I’m currently pregnant so I’m not running as much these days….super tips! Things I’ve actually been doing! Well, that and buying all the baby girl clothes!! <3

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