Bounce Back After a Bad Workout


March 30, 2012 by Danielle

Yesterday when 5:30 p.m. hit, I was more than ready to tune out on a run and forget all about my workplace woes on a run.  I sped out of my office and across the street to the gym and was on the treadmill in no time. I had grand plans to do a 5 mile tempo run with negative splits. Although I was mentally exhausted, I felt good for the first mile and a half, but happened-the death spiral of negativity.

That's where we're headed.

That guy on the treadmill next to me was breathing little to hard. The song on my iPod was not the right song. This pace felt wayyy too fast. Oh stomach. My stomach. I want to stop. I want to stop.

How I felt yesterday.

So I stopped.

I stretched for a bit, got myself back together and then decided that I would erg instead of running. That lasted for about 1000 meters. After stretching again and getting myself back together mentally I hopped back on the erg (I’m stubborn, okay?) and did about 1500 meters before I quit.

I left the gym feeling defeated and crappy. Kind of like this-

Imagine this in running clothes.

I pouted the entire way home, but after some reflection, I saw that I had broken every rule in the book of “how to have a productive workout” – negative self talk and not listening to my body don’t help anyone succeed. After dinner and a healthy dose of Bethenny Getting Married, I was halfway through my funk and came around to the fact that, yes, I had a bad workout, but it’s not the end of the world so I just need to be prepared the next time I find myself in the same position. In an effort to help overcome a bad workout, here are a few tips I found to help recover from a bad workout (because they will happen)-

  • Press the reset button. When you have a bad workout, don’t dwell on it. It’s over and done and get on with it. Try again tomorrow. (
  • Use bad workouts or runs as an opportunity to learn something new and reevaluate. Am I fueling correctly? Am I tired? Every workout (even the bad ones!) provide an opportunity to learn something new. (Runner’s World)
  • Listen to your body. If you’re overtraining or not feeling well and you’re having a bad workout, your body’s trying to tell you something…rest up!
  • (
And if you want to power through it, here are 6 Tips to Push Past the Pain from and Runner’s World.

How do you recover from a less than stellar workout?


3 thoughts on “Bounce Back After a Bad Workout

  1. bananaoats says:

    Great post. I deal with this sometimes, when everything is off and I didn’t get a good sweat on. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty and then I just try to let it go. There are many workouts each week. They can’t all be great! 🙂

    • Danielle says:

      That’s such a great way to think about it-I’m so bad about letting go sometimes, even little things, so it’s great to think about how many workouts are ahead, instead of the crappy ones behind.

      • bananaoats says:

        I know, I’m really bad about stressing on little things as well. I can relate. 🙂

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