This morning my mom sent me this text…
“Why is it that after I do about 3 miles I feel like I could do 3 more? It’s like the first mile I always feel like I can’t do this…”
Then that got me thinking about how true that is. Mile 1 really IS the hardest part about a workout, other than actually getting out the door. And why is that?? I sometimes think it’s the running devil trying to get into your head and make you quit before you’ve hardly even started. But I’m sure there’s a more scientific reason behind it. Is it because your legs aren’t warmed up yet? Your muscles haven’t loosened up yet? Your brain hasn’t released those empowering endorphins yet? You aren’t having fun yet? You haven’t hit a mark yet where you feel like you’ve accomplished something? You haven’t convinced yourself you can do it yet? Your body hasn’t caught up with your mind? Yes. All of the above. At least according to my own experiences. And I think that this “mile 1 plague” is what keeps a lot of people from running in the first place.
(Yep, this has nothing to do with anything I’m talking about. But brownies will definitely make me run more. Fact.)
Even people who are in impeccable shape struggle through that first mile. That’s why at races you see runners warming up well ahead of start time and elites running a 3 mile warm up before a 5K. They know what’s coming, and they’re preparing to face it head on and run thru it! Now, I don’t know that my body has ever required that extensive of a warm up, but I do know that mile one usually sucks. I feel like I can’t breathe. I feel like my legs are made out of lead. I feel like I didn’t train enough, and I start to wonder how soon I can quit. But somewhere between miles 2 and 3, it’s like the sun comes out. My legs start to get in their groove, and my body and mind are finally starting to agree that I can do this. My breathing is back in the right rhythm, and I feel I could keep running forever.
Unfortunately, I think alot of people who are new to running experience the “mile 1 plague” and quickly conclude that that’s how it’s always going to feel. “If I feel this awful and I’m only at a half mile then how awful am I going to feel by mile 4??” I think they immediately conclude that they are way too out of shape to even consider this running thing, and their running experience is soured.
I always try to tell my friends that, “it’s only going to get easier!” And it is! It takes time for your heart and lungs to build up that endurance they need to make it through a long run. You can’t expect to run a marathon day 1. It’s just like anything else- you probably didn’t learn how to dive on day 1, you certainly weren’t good at riding your bike day 1, if you lay on the couch all week then walking up a huge flight of stairs will probably take the breathe out of you, and I remember when I thought for sure I was going to drown in the pool during my first lifeguarding test! But, by the end of that summer, swimming laps was fun and I could swim a few laps without feeling like I couldn’t breathe! Running is the same way! It takes time, but each time it gets easier and your body becomes more and more accustomed to it and begins to adjust! So don’t quit on day 1, or mile 1, because you haven’t given it a chance yet. Sometimes I hear people say, “running makes my chest hurt.” Well, my chest would hurt too if my heart and lungs hadn’t experienced anything aerobic in months! It doesn’t mean you can’t be a runner! It just means you might need to start off slow! And it might be miserable at first, and you might think you suddenly developed a bad case of asthma, but just keep trying. One foot in the front of the other. You’ll get there! (Unless you really do have asthma, in that case, I will be of no help.)
So mile one sucks. Yes. Yes it does. But you’ve got to push through it and give your body a chance to catch up with your mind! Your body will eventually follow! It’s pretty amazing what it can do! And it’s even MORE amazing how YOU will feel once you finish those miles!
AND it’s Fitness Friday. Link up your blog, running bloggers!