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4917 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Nov 21, 2010 3:26 PM by emmaleigh47
skylahaley Amateur 8 posts since
Aug 2, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Aug 24, 2010 12:19 PM

Why are the first 3 miles so hard now?

Just a year ago, I was thrilled to be able to run 3 miles. I felt great going that distance. Now that I'm training for a half-marathon and am up to 10 miles, the first 3 are miserable. In fact, this morning I gave up on my run only about 1.5 miles in b/c I felt too crappy. I don't usually give up, today was just especially bad, but I've noticed that since increasing my mileage, the first few miles seem harder and harder. Once I get past 3 miles, it feels like I go on auto-pilot and my feet just keep moving me forward. Those first three though feel as though someone has cement blocks tied to my ankles!

I allow myself at least 1 day to recover from long runs. I start off on my runs slowly (who am I kidding, all of my runs are slow! lol - but my first couple of miles are no doubt the slowest at about 11 min miles!).

Anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions?

  • munch82 Amateur 16 posts since
    Jan 25, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Aug 28, 2010 4:11 PM (in response to skylahaley)
    Re: Why are the first 3 miles so hard now?

    no real answer for ya but i experience the same thing, usually takes me 4 or 5 to feel completely in rhythm though! i just keep telling myself that it will get better, just keep going! knowing that the "zone" is coming, helps me to stick w/it thru the rough part. my long runs are usually between 13 and 18 miles. the first few aren't too enjoyable and the last couple are pure determination but those middle ones feel good! don't know how to get into that zone quicker, if anyone else has an answer i'd love to know the secret too!

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Aug 28, 2010 5:53 PM (in response to skylahaley)
    Re: Why are the first 3 miles so hard now?

    A friend of mine says "Never make any running decisions in the first two miles."  It's a good motto.  I sometimes find myself struggling in those first couple miles.  A good dynamic warmup might help.  Go to and search on warmup.  Read through a couple of the articles to see the kind of things you can do, that only take a few minutes.




  • Marykb Legend 1,347 posts since
    Jan 16, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Aug 28, 2010 6:10 PM (in response to skylahaley)
    Re: Why are the first 3 miles so hard now?

    I've heard a lot of people who have your same experience.  I am the oddball.  When I do a long run (my "long" run being 10 miles or so) the first few and the last few are my best miles.  I tend to drag in the middle.  Go figure! 

  • JimFive Expert 39 posts since
    Apr 8, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Sep 24, 2010 2:02 PM (in response to skylahaley)
    Re: Why are the first 3 miles so hard now?

    There are two possible reasons that your first 3 feel harder now.  One is that your body is become fatigued at the repetitive workouts.  The other is that your muscles are expecting the longer run and it is therefore taking longer to get warmed up.  So, I have two suggestions.


    1.  Take an easy week every 3-4 weeks.  That is skip the long run and hard workouts for one week a month.  This allows your body a longer recovery time that you don't realize you need.


    2.  Do a speed workout every 1-2 weeks.  Run say, 12 - 400m sprints  instead of a 4 miler.


    You might also try cross training to mix it up a bit.  Cycling or swimming are good options.



  • emmaleigh47 Pro 174 posts since
    Jun 24, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Nov 21, 2010 3:26 PM (in response to skylahaley)
    Re: Why are the first 3 miles so hard now?

    Im so glad that I found this post - because I often feel alone in this problem.

    I struggle for the first 1.75 miles... everything hurts... everything sucks...I cant breathe... you name it. At about one mile I get foot pain but I just reassure myself because the foot pain goes away at 1.75 miles...


    And then like magic... I just settle in. Its like someone hit a light switch ... I usually can even tell you what song is playing when I finally settle in. From that point my run is great ... I have noticed this with 4 mile runs, and then 5 mile runs, and just recently I did a 6.5 mile run and the same thing happened.


    Anyways glad to know someone else has this problem - I dont know what to do about it, except PROMISE myself that I need to gut it out for at least 2 miles before deciding to call it a day!

    Started: July 2010 at 273#

    Fox Cities 5K on 9/17: 45:19 (264#)

    Shake a Tail Feather 5K on 10/16: 45:09 (254#)

    Hope Run for Africa 5K on 10/23: 42:45 (248#)

    Jingle Bell Run 5K on 11/6/10: 44:20 (248#)

    Turkey Trot 5 mile on 11/25/10: (246#)

    Miami ING Half Marathon 3:23:56

    Oshkosh Half Marathon 3:16:38 (PR)

    Cellcom Half Marathon in GB (horridly windy race) 3:21:56 (244#)

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