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Why the first mile is the hardest

first mile hardest

This year will be my 11th year of running and one thing that has not changed.

The first mile is awful.

I don’t mean it’s a little annoying. I mean, it is AWFUL. I thought maybe it was just me. I  thought that for the first year of base-building. But now, after all these years and races and distances and stages, I’m convinced I’m not alone. This has to be a thing for runners.

1. The body wants to sit on the couch.

Let’s face it. We are creatures of paths of least resistance. Telling the body to start moving and to move fast in a general direction is just torture. Who doesn’t want to wear penguin pajama pants in July and sit on the couch eating ice cream?

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2. The clothes are wrong. Or right. Or not enough. Or too hot. Brr. Pew! Chafing where??

Unless you are running in your…yep…pajamas, there are wardrobe issues that are not really issues but seem like issues during the first few minutes. It takes a while for the skin to adapt at the constrictions and for your mind to become numb to the suck of wearing constrictions.

I’m not even talking about boobs, yet. That’s a whole other blog post on its own. And too bad for you, women who have fluctuating breast sizes depending on weight loss/gain, pregnancy/post-pregnancy, post-miscarriage (hint—I never lost my new boobs. Crazy, right??), aging boobs (still BEAUTIFUL!!), bought boobs (GORGEOUS!) etc. We need a closet just for Sports Bras of Unusual Size. And yes, they do exist.

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Those favorite tempo shorts you LIVE in during the summer because they so comfortable actually pinch a millimeter of skin on the right hip bone during the first mile. Those shoes that you SWEAR on social media are the best shoes ever worn by modern compression-sock donned feet are now crunching the middle toe so much that you must stop and go home.

Don’t do it. Just keep running until that mind-numb magic happens.

3. Music is all wrong. App is wrong. Forgot to start the Garmin. Technology is for the birds.

Running is so much more technological lately. What am I even saying? 11 years ago, forgetting to start the Garmin was still just as disastrous as it is now. I almost sound like a grouchy old lady. “Get off my lawn!!”.

Running has been and continues to be based or influenced by technology. When it’s not perfect, then its going to screw up in that first mile. Then you’re left with lingering questions wondering if you should stop and fix it, keep going, wondering if you don’t post it on Instagram, did you REALLY run? Stuff like that makes for bad mojo in the first mile.

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4. That little feeling….

Even if you are alone on the treadmill, there’s a pet, kid, dust bunny watching you and it’s distracting. VERY distracting. However, if you are alone on a path, trail, road, etc, it’s easy to get that prickle down your spine that spooks you and this will happen 1,456 times in the first mile. I’m always a big supporter of listening to your gut, so if this happens, high-tail it back to your safe place. Try again later.

5. The never-ending tingle of doubt.

Am I really a runner? Can I really do this? What if that IT band pain from 8 years ago returns and my physical therapist won’t take me back? I’m *insert an adjective* than I was yesterday/last week/last year so maybe my time is up? Do I need to poop? Will I need to poop? What if I need to POOP???? What if I want to walk instead? Will people make fun of me? What’s that lady thinking? Is she taking a pic of me to post on Runners of Walmart??

The list goes on. And other than the very valid poop questions, these are ridiculous and the mind loves to mess with you with dangles of ridiculous in your subconscious. This is when you turn up the music, tune out the world, and do what you came to do. What you love to do. What you KNOW will feel amazing after this first (or first couple of….) miles. Run.

And love every minute of it.

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