I'm not a natural blogger and I'm no techie. I'm an ultra trail runner by passion, and a journalist by profession - in that order of priority.
In this blog I use the one to talk about the other - my trail thoughts, musings and meanderings about running mountains and trails.
I call it rockhoppin', just because... well... that's what we trail runners love to do!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

No time? It's the lamest excuse of all!

Those lines: “Gee, I really wish I could start running... but I just don’t have time...”

We’ve all heard it said, and we’ve all chuckled.

But sometimes I hear it said with such sincerity that I struggle to laugh it off – and I marvel that the person saying it actually believes it.

I wonder if they think that we runners run because we’ve got bags of free time on our hands?? As if we’ve got nothing else to do, so hey, let’s take up running!

Over the years I’ve come across so many runners who, in a determined effort to fit in their training, juggle their time to make sure they do their daily – or three times weekly, whatever it may be – trot. And ironically, it’s often runners who have the busiest schedules of all.

I know of mums who refuse to be restricted by wet nappies and Baby’s yodelling by simply popping said Baby into stroller and dashing out for a speedy 5km zip around the neighbourhood.

I’ve met high-powered business people who could say they don’t have the time or the energy to run, but instead prioritise their lunch hours for a session on the treadmill or a city run in the sun.

Then there was the couple who, finding themselves stuck for two days in a foreign airport during a host of airline industry strikes, helped to pass the time by doing twice-daily 8km runs back and forth along the highway to the airport.

And the good friend of mine who has to travel to London on business every month for five days at a time – rather than bemoan the fact that most of the time the temperature in the UK is way too damn cold to run in, and that her busy work schedule wouldn’t allow it anyway, she simply sets her alarm clock astonishingly early each morning while she’s there, pulls on all her winter woollies and heads out for her 10km run through the business heart of London in the pre-dawn darkness.

I once met a marine biologist who was training for his first marathon. He’d built up from zero fitness to marathon level over a period of eight steady months, despite having to spend six of those months on a research vessel based on Dassen Island. How did he manage to train? Some days he ran around the boat, and other times he ran round and round Dassen Island – much to the utter amazement of the penguins!

Time is a relative thing. It’s always in short supply. But it’s how you use it that determines what you get from it.

And if we want something badly enough, we’ll make the time to do it.

So the next time you hear someone telling you how they’d sooo LOVE to start running but they just don’t have the time, know that it’s actually nothing to do with time at all... the truth is simply that they just don’t WANT to start running.

And that’s their loss.


  1. Hear, Hear! Thanks for the great article on downhill running on go trail!

  2. ...or the Comrades runner who found himself on business in Colombia and was advised not to run outside the hotel in the early morning for fear of kidnapping, so he ran up and down the stairs of the 15 story hotel he was staying in to the absolute amasement of the hotel staff.

    Training requires motivation, whether you find it in money, prestige or simply the fear of failure, you need a motivation. The reason people have no time, is not because they have no time, it's because they lack motivation. Before you do anything else, find a reason to run... and the time to run will find you

  3. Hi Anon,
    Thanks for your comment - very motivating! The rain's slamming down right now here in Hout Bay but I'm tempted to head out for a trot - often the best runs are when the elements are having their say :-)