How does running affect your mood?
I’m sure every runner out there would agree, whether they have/haven’t run, or whether their run has been good/bad, this can have a major effect on your mood. I am definitely among those who are affected. If I haven’t run on an occasion, even on a planned day off, my mood can be considerably worse. All I want to do is be out there training, and just loving what I do. When I can’t do it, or it’s not going well, those close to me may say I can be a bit ‘prickly’.
In relation to my injury, my mood was definitely considerably worse when I was running but was repeatedly in pain, compared to when I was unable to run. Both my family and I thought I would be a difficult nightmare when I was told I wouldn’t run for 6 months, but in fact I was not bad. Due to the fact I knew if I ran, I may never run again due to worsening my injury, I tried my best to be as content as I could be. Cross training definitely helped! Although in the first 3 weeks when I was unable to do any sort of activity, my mood definitely lent towards the touchy and emotional side. Any comment could send me into tears or a complete grudge. Not nice, I know!
My mood was however far more affected by how well my runs went. Building up to the pinnacle of my injury I was in an awful mood, day in, day out. This was not because I am a grumpy person, as I definitely am not, and not because I can’t handle a ‘bad’ run, but because I was in extreme pain constantly, and nobody seemed to be able to tell me why. The fact I was told to run through the pain, only made a good mood ever harder to achieve. Imagine starting, completing, and finishing every run with pain shooting through your legs; I don’t think you would find it easy to be happy either! Now I am pain free, starting to run again, surprise surprise, my mood has considerably improved. I’m so much happier, because I’m doing what I love and it’s no longer having a detrimental effect!
On a much brighter note, previously, when I had finished a tough track session, if I was pleased with how it went I felt on top of the world, even though I was absolutely knackered; a feeling similar to that when you have finished a race. I was unable to stop talking, and quite frankly I would and will forever in the future drive you nuts 😂. My Mother and coach always say, you won’t hear a peep from me on the way to a race, but on the way back, you can’t shut me up. I will have the music on loud, singing non-stop. And yes, if it’s a 3 hour journey, I will be singing the entire way. But that’s why we do it! We yearn for that runners high. The indescribable euphoria felt after a successful run is what we strive for. It provides us with the reinforcement to want to train ever harder, put ourselves through pain, and upset ourselves with bad results, as we all know that that runners high will eventually arrive once again. Whether it’s a good run or a ‘bad’ run, because your legs feel heavy and empty, you still always finish it feeling happy you’ve done it! This is a feeling I miss. Having had painful runs, a bad run feeling tired is something I can only dream of feeling again, as it is a sign of having had a tough training session previously.
I asked the British Long-distance runner, Charlotte Purdue, how running affected her mood, here is her answer:
“A good run always makes you feel more positive and like things are going in the right direction. A bad run is often a lesson...did you rest enough? Or train too hard in the week before? I always feel better after a run - even if it’s a “bad” run. I don’t expect every day to have a good run 😊”
Is this the same for you? How does running make you feel?
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I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!