We proposed that experiencing unpleasant emotions during performance represents unsuccessful emotion-regulatory efforts, and that such effort concurrently tax physiological resources. We used data from 2-h cycling trials (N = 28) at a power output equivalent to lactate threshold. Emotions were calculated before and during cycling with ongoing assessments of ventilation, respiratory quotient, heart rate, and oxygen uptake. Emotion data indicated significant changes over time with all participants reporting decreases in vigour and increases in fatigue, with 14 cases of concurrent increases in anger, depression, and tension. After grouping participants into positive and negative emotion groups, a time x unpleasant emotion group ANOVA indicated a significant interaction effect for changes in ventilation (F 6,21 = 3.09, P = .03, Partial Eta2 = .47) over time, with no significant difference in other physiological variables or perceived exertion. Among athletes reporting negative emotions, ventilation increased during the middle section, whereas among athletes reporting positive emotions, ventilation increased shortly before completion. Findings suggest that regulating negative emotion is an effortful process taxing physiological substrates.