All runners have bad days. The most prominent factor that sets a champion apart from others is the ability to move forward after a setback. Spend a few minutes trying to learn what you may have done that brought on the problem and you will improve in many ways.
A bad run will trigger negative messages, such as “You are losing it”, “Running isn’t fun anymore”, “You will never get to your goal.” If you focus on these and believe them, you will allow the reflex brain to create negative beliefs, stimulate negative peptides and lower your motivation. Here are some steps for turning your attitude in a positive direction:
1. Reestablish the joy of running. Take several easy runs with enough walk breaks to leave you feeling good from the beginning. Don’t set time goals for these runs. The positive hormones will start the shift to a good attitude.
2. Ignore negative messages. They will flow into your brain; let them flow out.
3. List the mistakes or causes of the bad run.
4. If there is a significant issue that is unresolved (specific mistakes made by you or others), deal with it at the beginning of the run. Vent and get this frustration/rage/anger out of your system – let it go.
5. State one positive aspect of the problem run.
6. Come up with a plan to avoid this from happening again.
7. Believe in the plan.
From “Mental Training for Runners, How to Stay Motivated” by Jeff Galloway