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A Natural Law of Running: The First Mile

I took a leap a week ago and put a line in the sand of the Rules to Becoming a Runner.  And from that I listed the the only rule in running:  Run your own run, Run your own race. 

After that post, I have continued to think about the fact there are no rules but there is many unstated natural laws of Law_of_nature running.   I am not an expert on running.  Never been a coach, rarely finish in the top half of a race, heck - don't even know any famous elites.  I am in no way qualified to proclaim these "laws".  Except for one thing - with my scaled back training, I have more time to think of such trivial things.  So, I am proclaiming myself "Runner on High" for a day and putting forth a natural law of running.  And I use the term "law" liberally and incorrectly.

This unwritten law whacked me upside the head a few days ago when I jumped off my bike and got ready to do the run portion of my brick - boom - it made its presence felt.    It spoke to me as I peeled my body back to an upright position and began something my superpowerful imaginative powers told me resembled running. Chant There was a loud voice from inside my head carrying a Gregorian chant - the same chant I have heard for every run for the last 11 3/4 years: 

Law #1: The first mile is always hard.

This isn't a law that I came up with - I just try to coexist peacefully with the natural order of things.  When I first started running, I called my friend Sue for some advice.  I had been running for a few months, but it wasn't getting much easier - I was really frustrated.  My friend was a great runner.  She had run through high school and college and had oodles of marathons under her belt.  I knew she could tell me what I was doing wrong.   When I told her my dilemna, her simple response was, "The first mile is hard.  Learn to accept that and you will be fine."   And darn it, she was so wise.   

So many of my runs have started feeling like my body couldn't possibly do steps of a run ended with me grateful the the chance to be out there running at all. It's not that I am always slower or faster the first mile, it just doesn't feel as natural as the rest of my run. I know there is something scientific to this, something about inertia that makes this more than a law I dreamed up.   Whatever it is, it's powerful. 

A new running friend who is doing about 2 miles at a time sent me an email last week that simply said this,

Why is it I hate to get running, look forward to finishing the entire run, yet 10 minutes after I am done want to do it all over again? J

Can you guess my response?  You bet.  Law #1:  The first mile is always hard.

(Pst!  Run on over to Half Fast's post about running mantra's and take his quick poll on male/female running mantras. Very interested in what you tell yourself.)

Photo of board by Fallacy

Photo of Chant by awkward turtle

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Comments

Jess

It's so true! The first mile is definitely the hardest sometimes until you get your legs going and get into the groove.

Joe

I figured this out the hard way, and completely agree. Every run I tell myself, "You've done this before, it gets so much better, keep going." And runs like the one I had last night continue to establish this "law" in my head. It's a gift really, since I am confident each run will get better as I press on. Great post Amy!

Art Dinkin

You know Amy, the first mile of yesterday's run was smooth as silk. Thanks for a great run. I look forward to more in the future. Maybe we should even let Tom come along too :)

Rob

Thanks for the encouragement and I agree. If someone ran beside me in the first mile and offered me a lemonade and a lawn chair I would be very tempted.

Janemma

I think I needed to hear this today! I am a beginner and after a few months it doesn't seem to be getting easier.....It's good to know there is a reason for this!

Dani

I've picked up running and put it down several times. I'd say the first 2 miles of a run are the toughest for me and I completely agree with your friend's quote. After it's said and done and I'm sitting on my couch, my first thought is "I should have extended that run."

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I look forward to more in the future. Maybe we should even let Tom come along too.

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This is the one we did, isn't it??? It's one of my all time favorite runs.

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