Why is the 1st 15mins/3k so hard???....

ChloboChlobo ✭✭✭
Apologies for the possibly dim questions but I run/train alone so only have you guys to bounce off of.

Why do I find the first 15mins or around 3k of every run such hard work?....

I stretch before hand, I do

30 second stretch on each ham string
30 second stretch on each calf
30 second stretch on arms and shoulders

the first bit I find really hard to get into a good rhythm, and my body feels very reluctant, i feel at times like I'm running chest first, I feel like my feet are v heavy, and the only rhythm I can settle into seems VERY slow. Yesterday I only got into a good gear 3k into a 5k and then it just clicked, breathing settled, pace was good, and body felt connected and not struggling - Is this usual?....

I also struggle with (apologies grossness) sticky spit?... Are there any foods etc I can avoid to stop this?...

I don't eat/drink for at least 1 hour before a run, should I be leaving longer?...

Any tips or tactics for pre run and early run regime greatly appreciated

Thank you image


  • I don't think you'll be alone here with your experiences Chlobo. I know of many people including myself who struggle with running right at the start of a run. I think it has something to do with all the capilliaries needed time to open up and get going fluidly. I could be wrong, but thats what I put it down to. Unfortunately, I'm not sure there is anything that can be done to avoid it.

    laters dude

  • ChloboChlobo ✭✭✭
    So is that why when you go to an organised race they make you do that pre-run leaping about aerobics nonsense?.... maybe I should bust out some dance moves for 5mins before I set off?.... image
  • Its because you're just warming up with the running. Think of it as a car on a cold day. Always chugs for a bit until its warm.

     Stretching does bugger all to warm you up - if anything it just makes it worse. I'd rather run first - then do some stretches if I can be bothered.

    Just accept the warm up period of your run, but as you get fitter - and run longer - the warm up is easier and less % of your run.

  • EdnaModesEdnaModes ✭✭✭

    Muscles work better when they're warm as do joints, which is why when you first set out if seems like very hard work.

    Your first mile / 20 minutes or so should be run as a warm up at a slower pace than the rest of your run. Once you've warmed up, you can stretch. There is little if any benefit to stretching a 'cold' muscle and some studies have shown it can actually lead to tears and damage.

  • ChloboChlobo ✭✭✭
    Ok interesting thanks guys

    I don't like to run and then stop so I think I might try to do some aerobics to warm up before I set off, makes sense that my body which has been stuck in an office all day takes a while to get into 'mobile mode' I guess

  • Chlobo, apart from some gentle stretching to warm up I have got into the habit of  also having a gentle jog before the main run, just to make sure I am completly warmed up, nice and loose and everything is working as it should be. I am no expert  but as a rule I tend to do at least 10/15 minutes.

    Seems to work for me.

  • Maybe the sticky spit is due to white stuff you put in your mouth..........milk!! Try goats milk instead

  • ChloboChlobo ✭✭✭
    goats milk hey?....ok ill try that, can you put it in earl grey?...
  • I always think white thick spit is a way of telling me I'm dehydrated. I'd definately be drinking water in the hour prior to running to make sure you're topped up.
  • You NEVER put milk in Earl Grey.
  • ChloboChlobo ✭✭✭
    yes always! Nice milky earl grey YUMMY! image
  • I always thought that the first mile or so of a run, my brain is telling me to stop and find something less painful to do. After that mile, the brain kind of goes "Oh, OK. You're serious about this run, then. I better help out rather than try and stop you" and I feel OK.

    The warm up period is a hideous mal-formed running shuffle with various parts of my legs complaining that they hurt, but it gradually eases and then I'm up and running properly. If you are doing a race it is important to get that period over and done with before the start, so you can go off with bang.


  • Try using organic milk.  There is a lot less mucus in organic cows milk, so is a lot let sticky when you drink it.



  • JeremyGJeremyG ✭✭✭
    The first part of a run unless you've warmed up is hard - normally called the toxic 10 (minutes) but varies with people. It is an actual physical/biological response - can't remember offhand but something to do with the lag between starting running and your body gearing up to provide the energy etc to your muscles. I'm sure someone with a more technical explanation will be along soon....
  • Is the non organic cow's milk theory based on any actual fact?

  • RatzerRatzer ✭✭✭

    Haven't you seen the mucus floating around in your non organic bowl of breakfast cereal?  It makes my cornflakes stick together in clumps?

    Apparently the fat content of full fat organic milk generally contains more beneficial fatty acids than the non-organic type.  So once you've skimmed it there's negligible difference.  Presumably the skimming also removes the mucus...

    Ooh, toxic tens!  Try to fit those into the warm up.  I find it helps mentally to split the first 10-15mins off as a warmup even if not physically separating it - like stopping to stretch or something.  Then really you're starting your run after the bad/stiff/sticky/reluctant bit.

    As for sticky spit, try inhaling through your nose on some runs.  It'll keep you easy pace and won't dry out your mouth.  The first time you get a big fly in your mouth because you're panting will be the last time you train with it constantly open!

  • Just run! Stretch after you run. The reason they do aerobics warm ups at things like R4L is because if they suggested doing a 2-3 mile run as should be done before a 5k race, most participants would collapse after 100m. Actually that's not a bad idea. Then all the muppets who go to the front thinking they can run would realise they can't, and let the actual runners run!
  • RatzerRatzer ✭✭✭
    Can we apply that principle to big city races too, CB?  Say a five mile warm up before a half?  I'd love to see the muppets collapsing at the back because they need more time to catch their breath before crossing the start line!
  • So you avoid feeling bad for the 1st 15 mins of a training run by running? For the record aerobics are about cardio vascular excercise, not stretching, so would be a very good warm up. Where 5k's and muppets come into it I have no idea
  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭
    ..putting milk into Earl grey is very uncouthimage...it must be done properly and princess likeimage.....as for running..im fine after the first mile....and get faster after 10miles...image
  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭
    hello NLR *waves daintily*image
  • Ever had problems with sticky stuff in your throat?image
  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭

    the white stuff NLR? ...No not really because i swallow it all......

    .....oo maybe this belongs on another thread entirely....image

  • I find that when i've used my asthma inhalor a few times on a run that my mouth gets really dry and i have very sticky white spit - eurgh!

     Also, I agree that the first 10 minutes are the worst! I used to do a Park Run of 5km on a Saturday morning and found that harder than doing a 10/11/12 mile run because of the quick exertion!

  • Do a few miles warm up then 2 x 2 mins at race pace about 5-10mins out from the start. I find this gets you into a pattern that has the first part of the run..... less uncomfortable as going into it cold.

    During the 2 x 2 try not to go over race pace as when you start your body might slip into this pace as its what it i used to and then you will obvioulsy pay for a few mile down the road. Take around 3 min rec between the race pace efforts aswell, its just to wake the body and sholdnt be hard work.

    Give it a go

  • North London Runner wrote (see)
    So you avoid feeling bad for the 1st 15 mins of a training run by running? For the record aerobics are about cardio vascular excercise, not stretching, so would be a very good warm up. Where 5k's and muppets come into it I have no idea

    I'm fairly sure that if you go to the warm up track for any major championships the 10000m runners will be warming up by running, not standing in a rectangle jumping from side to side and punching the air. Aerobics is a very good warm up and training for doing aerobics, running is the most effective warm up for running.

    I believe OP referred to aerobics warm ups before big events, the most obvious being the race for life, which is 5k. The muppets are those who position themselves at the front of the field at such races, then get 100m in, realise they can't run, and start walking, causing consternation to all the runners behind them trying to get past.

    Apologies for any confusion

  • I find the Chi Running body looseners good before a run.

    Here is one version of them on YouTube:


    (there are three there but all easy to find)

  • Running KevRunning Kev ✭✭✭

    Miles 1 - 3 I feel crap. Miles 4 - 6 I feel like I could run for ever, when I get to 8 miles I feel like I have run forever!

    You are not alone.

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