The First Mile

As I was logging my miles on the treadmill today, I was thinking that I completely understand people who say they hate running. Even though I have personally come to love it, if all I had to judge by was how I feel when I first started out, back when just running a mile was a struggle, I would hate it too. One of the things I am grateful for in my life is my time in the Air Force, many years ago, when I discovered running longer distances could actually be enjoyable (I ran cross country in junior high, but never enjoyed it).

Since leaving the Air Force, running (and cycling to a lesser degree) has always been my go-to sport, due to the fact you can do it anywhere and don’t need special equipment. During the period earlier this year when I started back to running, I at least knew that if I put in the miles, eventually things would get easier and I would hopefully enjoy it as much as I used to. So that helped me stick with it when things sucked. There was the hope that the suckage would give way to enjoyment, and the memory of it having happened in the past. So I stuck with it and sure enough it got better.

But even now, the first mile of any run is always a bear. During that first mile is when my body likes to weigh in and let my brain know how unhappy it is to once again be doing this running thing. It does its best during that first mile to convince me to quit, usually with a little pain here and there. Today it was my shins complaining first, then a twinge in the hip, then a little ache in the foot.

Then miraculously after the first mile, the pain went away and things got easier. As I knew it would.

My typical strategy for dealing with the first mile is just to go as slow as I need to until things loosen up. I find this is particularly true on the treadmill since I do not have the distraction of scenery to keep my mind off any discomfort I may be experiencing. Once I am warmed up, I can pick up the pace and go. But I need to give myself plenty of leeway during the first mile to get both brain and body in gear.

What do you do to overcome that little voice that tells you to give up or quit?

Today’s workout

TREADMILL 5 min. warmup walking, 3 miles running, 5 min. cool down.

TOTAL Distance: 3.54mi, time: 43:08, pace: 12:11min/mi, speed: 4.92mi/hr

Strength Training: Legs, hips, back

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4 thoughts on “The First Mile

  1. I think of the golf cart of shame that will pick me up when I fail to make the required time for my 1/2 marathon and how sad I will be to waste all that money to fail. But for me every mile is currently a killer. Maybe I will get there.

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    • Well I think you are doing great and am proud of you for working so hard. Enjoyment could still come but you are starting out with a big goal so it probably feels pretty daunting. My runs are mostly 3 to 6 miles – long enough to get past the suck, short enough that it doesn’t have time to start up again. We’ll see how I feel when I increase distance. Heres to staying off the golf cart of shame!

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    • I should listen to music more often – especially on the treadmill – but I never do. I used to but these days maybe I am just liking the quiet? I just let my mind wander and think about stuff and then once I get into the real workout part I try to focus on what I am doing – pace, form, etc.

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