A negative mood can kill a run.

Life happens.  The good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly.  Some people are better than others at just brushing off the negative stuff.  And some of us hold the negative way too long.

So you exercise, you run – and these endorphins come into play, serotonin is released – a good mood is found!  Right?

When you have success, sure!  But let me tell you, if the negative thoughts win – if a successful workout or run cannot be reached, it can make a bad thought, day, situation even worse.  I have had to witness this before in my own runs.  I recognize the power of the negative to take control of my mind and take a good run away and ruin my day.  So I fight back.  Here are the strategies I used to fight the negative.

How I Fight the Negative

Take the Power Back

Rage Against the Machine, anyone?  I used to love to listen to Rage and still dabble a little.  But now I use this song as a mental mantra if you will.  When I feel down, I recognize there is something negative pressing on my mind.  I can’t let the negativity take control.  I have to take the power away from the negative.    And I hear the chorus now, when I reach that point of recognition.

I have to take the power back.

Here’s the song – Take The Power Back – Rage Against the Machine

Challenge Negative Thinking

So once I recognize that I have negative thoughts.  Once I say no to negative thinking and vow to take the power away from negativity, I challenge my thoughts.  And not just about my running.  Some times I am upset about something else.  In my running I can say, “I know this is hard, but I have done it before and I will do it again.”  In my life I can say, “I know I feel bad about this, here is what I can do to change it.”

Take It Easy

I used to be a crisis counselor, and if I said it once I said it a thousand times: “Take it easy on yourself right now.  Drink lots of water.  Take things slow.  Your body is under stress and you need to take care of it.”

Granted, I am not in crisis.  But I follow the same rules.  I know if I don’t run, or fail at a run – aka, give up and quit for the day – I will feel awful for the rest of the day.  I start slow.  I may stay slow.  I set the bar low.  I know any kind of completed workout will fit my activity bill, so do something.  Sometimes it turns into more, but I don’t set out to run a super fast or super long distance on days I am feeling sad or stressed.  I may achieve a fast or long distance, but I work up to it if I feel like it.

Vary the Workout

I love my treadmill, but man, on days I am feeling low the treadmill can be a fun/happy sucker.  So, I change it up.  I do not always have the ability to change my terrain.  I couldn’t get to a trail today.  I couldn’t get to the track – those places would have been great to get out to, but I couldn’t get there.  But I could change the speed.  Every 10 minutes I would go up or down.  But my mind stayed awake on my workout and when I got to change the speed.


I woke up today with a monkey on my back.  I got it off my back to have it just sit in my head and cause havoc.  I set out to do a slow 5 miles today on the treadmill.  As I went, I kept saying to myself, “I can do this for another 10 minutes.  I can do anything for 10 minutes.”  And I got through 10 miles that way, finishing each mile at a faster pace.  I fought that negative monkey and had a successful run.  And to be honest?  I lost the monkey altogether.  I don’t know where that little bugger went, but I am sure he will come back and I will fight again!