The other day, I was talking to someone who’d just recently started running. He’s having a blast, feeling great, and now has a goal to complete a half marathon this summer.
He asked me whether or not it was unusual that the first mile always feels much tougher than the rest. I don’t think this is unusual at all.
There are apparently some physiological reasons that first mile may be tougher too. It takes some time for us to get our muscles working, the blood flowing, and our minds settled into a rhythm.
There are emotional things that make this first mile harder too. In his Runner’s World column several years back, Jeff Galloway told us that he sometimes tells himself that he’s just going to go out, do a mile, and see how he feels. Naturally, by the time he’d completed that first mile, he’s ready for more. If you’re running with someone else, you’ve settled into a conversation. If you’re by yourself, you’re usually enjoying the zen time this gives you.
Approaching this a mile at a time is a great trick.
For me, sometimes the tougher part is getting out there in the first place. Life’s pretty busy, with a bunch of stuff competing for time. There’s a constant balancing act between family, work, commitments at the kid’s schools, and staying healthy. When running feels like another commitment, it’s easy enough to slide things that feel more pressing in front of your run. Galloway takes this one on as well – pointing out that you can run in smaller pockets of time if you need to.
Knowing why it’s important to do something helps motivate us to actually do it. The physical challenge is nice, but that’s not the big motivator for me. To be honest, if that’s all there was to it, I’d need to find a more fun way to stay in shape. Rather – it’s how I feel when I’m out there, and when I’m done that keeps me running.
Making the time to be active is the way I feed my soul.