Why is the first mile the hardest?

Are you new to running or a regular runner who always finds the first mile or 15-20minutes the hardest part of the run?

There are a few reasons behind this including setting off too fast or when the negative self-talk kicks in… ‘I’ll never complete the whole thing’, ‘It’s going to be so hard!’ or ‘It’s too cold’, does this sound familiar?

Well I think the key thing to understand about why the first few minutes tend to be the hardest, is that we need to give our bodies chance to warm up!

When you set out on your run you need to give your body the chance to switch from an anaerobic to an aerobic state. This means that when you first start running you don’t have enough oxygen in your muscles to settle into your steady pace straight away. This can make your legs feel heavy and your breathing harder and quicker. How long it takes for your body to switch states is very individual and can depend upon fitness levels and how regular of a runner you are. Bearing in mind the more regular runner can usually make this switch quicker.

So if you are new to running and you are finishing your run within 10-15minutes of setting off then you are always experiencing the hardest part of your run, which can make it very tricky to commit to a running long term.

I would suggest when you find it difficult at the very beginning of your run, instead of stopping completely and heading home, slow down to a brisk walk. This will still help your body switch to the aerobic state, once you feel you have recovered enough, begin to pick up the pace again. Aim to get passed the 20-minute mark and you should begin to see a difference and find a comfortable pace and rhythm.

Hopefully understanding this will help you see it through the first few minutes or miles and find your stride!

Happy running ‍:) x