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Running: the ultimate mood booster

Sunset Beach

Image by Rusty Russ via Flickr

Something happened today that happens rarely: I did not want to go running.

Normally, no matter what the weather or circumstances, I cannot wait to lace up my shoes and hit the pavement; it is something I look forward to from the moment I wake up.  But not today.

Today I was cranky and in no mood for my workout.  Even the fact that it was not raining, as forecast, couldn’t levitate my sourness.  I hadn’t slept well, so despite the fact it was 9 am I was tired.  I had eaten breakfast ridiculously early since I couldn’t sleep, and was now ravenous.  I was freezing cold and could not feel my hands before I started, not helping matters.  And I was scheduled to do long intervals, which I find hard at the best of times.  I was not a happy camper.

But I had dutifully dressed for my run, ready to do battle with whatever came my way, so I soldiered – less than half heartedly – on.  It occurred to me that this is what many people feel like on a regular basis before their workout, and I had a flash of empathy for them.  This was not fun.  This was what I felt like before going to the dentist.

Of course you know what happens next; it is a truism, a fact, a sure thing: I immediately felt better as soon as I started running.  It took all of one minute, and I shook off all of my complaints, the cloud of distaste evaporating in a puff.  Once again, I was off and running, soaking in the views and the joy of movement.  One minute and I was virtually transformed into a happier person.  Am I really that flaky?

I know not everyone experiences the joy of running, it can be daunting and uncomfortable.  It’s hard.  But doing the workout, instead of calling it a day before you begin, will always make you happier (barring injury, obviously).   As I have read hundreds of times in running related magazines, on days you really do not want to run, at least start your warm up, then determine your workout.

I’ve always known running is a great way of dealing with my emotions, whether I am feeling down, sad, angry, or confused.  I go for a run and things sort themselves out somehow, and I finish feeling better than when I started.  For me, it is the best medicine, and I often tell people this.  But it was a jolt to me today to realize how quickly the endorphins (or perhaps just fresh air) can positively effect demeanor.  I was an entirely different person post workout, and it helped me enjoy the rest of the day immeasurably.

The point, of course, is to just do it.

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  1. December 10, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Well said. Like you, I don’t get that feeling of not wanting to run very often, but when I do and push through and just do it the run almost always ends up being one of my best.

    • December 18, 2010 at 4:56 pm

      Runner’s unite! It would be hard to feel that way before every run.

  2. Erin
    December 12, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    I also woke up not feeling like myself – similar reasons – tired – I am cranky today. Your changing moment was a run and mine was a nap. 🙂

    • December 18, 2010 at 4:50 pm

      Occasionally a nap works great for me, but when it’s 9 am and I just rolled out of bed it is hard to justify – it’s good to have other tricks in your arsenal!

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