First Mile Blues

I’m a few runs into the first week of training and feeling OK, but can we talk about something? Why does the first mile of a run suck so bad?? For me it’s more like the first 2 miles so when I do my 3 mile short runs it can leave me a bit frustrated.

The first thing someone might ask is “Do you warm up?” When I go to the gym I do a few weight exercises, stretches and maybe the stair climber before I hit the treadmill. When I’m running outside I do some stretches at home and hit the ground running. Essentially, no… I don’t. Case closed? To be honest, I’m stubborn. I am ok at cooling down at the end of a run but I kind of hate warming up. You want me to jog before I go for a run?? No thank you.

Scientifically (aka Google says) that it takes the body 7-10 minutes to transition from state of rest to a state of athletic readiness. Guess how long it takes most runners to run a mile? Ding, ding! It’s 7-10 minutes. I can feel it when my body makes the transition – my joints and muscles loosen up, I start to break a sweat, my breathing becomes steadier. This starts around .5 miles and then gradually works up to where I’m in my zone.

My thought process along the way goes something like this:

Mile .001 – I’m out of bed and getting started, let’s do this!

Mile .20 – Hmm…my knee hurts a little and my legs are so tight, probably should have skipped that yoga sculpt class on my rest day.

Mile .30 – Well, I’m still running and I’m still alive. Why am I breathing so heavy?

Mile .50 – I’m kind of thirsty, should have brought my water.

Mile .70 – This still sucks but I do feel a little better. Starting to sweat… I thought maybe I wouldn’t sweat today.

Mile .80 – Distractions! Look at the sunrise/people/swans on the lake/lush trees/construction signs/whatever I can stare at.

Mile 1.00 – First mile down, I should be feeling better any minute!

Mile 1.20 – Ugh my legs still hurt. Why do I run?

Mile 1.30 – This grade seems much harder than it should. It’s, like, not even a hill. How am I ever going to run Rim Rock??

Mile 1.50 – Oh cool, I’m still running. Haven’t stopped.

Mile 1.75 – Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Mile 2.00 – Wait, I’m running? I feel like I’m floating on clouds! I could do this forever. My legs and breath feel neutral and I wonder what I was so worried about for those first couple of miles.

It’s easier to push past the initial frustration when you’re on a 10 mile run but when you’re on a 3 mile short run it almost doesn’t seem worth it.

Of course, rather than warm up, my solution is “Make a playlist!” A playlist is a solution for most of life’s problems. If I don’t have the right music going at the beginning of a run it makes it exponentially harder to get through the first miles. Also, I hate stopping so having to change music mid-run frustrates me even more.

Thus I give you First Mile Blues. Some songs that make me want to scream at the top of my lungs and that help to dull the pain of running. A lot of these songs are on my other running playlists but I’ve picked out the ones that get me the most pumped for miles 0-2. That way there’s no down time, no thinking time. Once I’m in the meat of my run I can chill it out a bit.

You’re not going to be really surprised that First Mile Blues is mostly punk songs and you might laugh at me re: Kelly Clarkson. It’s explicit and mindless at times. It’s definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but dammit, it works for me.

First Mile Blues on Spotify 

What am I missing?

What music gets you pumped up??

Disclaimer: When it comes to warm ups, don’t listen to me! You should definitely warm up before any exercise. Here are some great tips from Runners World on exercises to get your body loosened up before a run.



2 thoughts on “First Mile Blues

  1. I am just like you; I do my 80-110 push ups and then just start running, using my first mile as my warm-up. I also have a playlist I listen to while I run; it gets me going and keeps my pace up. My biggest obstacle right now is boredom after the third mile. I typically run three miles and stop because I have stuff to do and the 24-27 minutes it takes me to run the three miles is about as much as I can stand not doing the things I have to do. lol. I hope to start implementing some longer runs soon.


    1. I know the feeling! It is so hard for me to concentrate on anything, especially something that’s uncomfortable, like running, when I have a laundry list of things to do. Music is a must. That’s also why I like training for a goal because when I have a check list that says I have to run “8” miles today, I want to check the box bad enough that I push through!

      Liked by 1 person

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