The first few miles...

Hello folks!

After some advice. Don't know if this is in the right forum mind.

I've been running fairly regularly for about 18 months now. Have done a couple of half marathons. I love it, but wouldn't consider myself a "natural" (spent most of my life avoiding it).

Now here's the issue; when I'm out running (normally doing somewhere around 6 - 8 miles on a weekend, 4 or 5 a few times in the week) the first 2.5, 3 miles seem like hard work. Once I get near to 3 miles, I seem to hit my stride, and feel like I can go on for ever. Obviously I couldn't, but certainly it doesn't feel any more difficult doing 8 miles than it does 4.

So my question is; how can I make the first 3 miles easier? Is it impossible? Is it to do with warming up?


  • JeremyGJeremyG ✭✭✭
    Yes it's to do with warming up. I get the same - for training runs I just grit the teeth and get on with it. Races shorter than HM I have to warm up otherwise I would lose too much time.
  • Wondered if it was psychological! So I'll just have to man up and get on with it then image

  • I tend to find if prepping for a 'normal' run, say 5/6 miles steady, if I just get a glass of water and do some simple stretches in front of the news for 15/20 mins, it helps me get into the run a bit quicker. If I'm pressed for time and just suit up and go, I experience problems akin to yours, feeling sluggish and only hitting the mark halfway around. So yeah, warm up!

  • Talking to others I think it is very common for the first 3 miles to be a slog then as you say you just hit your stride and your legs go into auto pilot. I've never found anything helps except knowing it will go and just getting through it (character building distance running).
  • I'd go as far as saying that every long run I start I spend the first 20mins convinced Im not going to finish. Yet most of the time I do! Think it's just the nature of the beast. Warm up and listen to good tunes at the start.

  • I think the 'Terrible Tens' (the first 10 or so minutes of running) is difficult because our bodies are warming up and trying to work out how far we're going to run, the speed we're going to run, and where it should draw it's energy from.

    That's what I've read anyway.

    I just run slowly till I'm warmed up.  If I'm doing a short fast race, like a 5k, I'll do a good long warm up before hand, maybe even run 5k at a slow jog before running the race.  If I'm doing something longer, like a half marathon, I'll just warm up slowly when I set off on the race.

  • I normally run the first 15 mins at a slower/recovery pace rather than try and run at my desired pace, once warmed up I then naturally speed up. you can either see it as something to fight through or just bimble until the body catches up with the mind.

  • Practise...i used to feel this when i did lowish mileage, now i do more miles and am fitter i dont have an issue at all so i guess its all in getting fitter. I would recommend throwing some additional types of endurance training in such as a spin class or interval training runs, it will make your body more effecient. I never do anything less than 10 miles in a single run per week. Dont know if that helps

  • Not sure I could fit that in to my schedule Sophie!

    Thanks for the advice folks - now I know it's not just me I can stop thinking up excuses and just push through it image

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