Why Is The First 10 Minutes Of Running So Hard

It’s a question that has puzzled runners for years. Why is the first 10 minutes of running so hard? After all, you’ve been sitting around all morning, so how can just 10 minutes of running be that difficult? Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not just tough because you’re out of shape. There’s a science behind why the first 10 minutes are so tough, and I will explain it to you. Keep reading to learn more.

Why The First 10 Minutes Of Running Are So Hard

  1. When you start running any day, it’s hard for the following reasons:

    • Your muscles are warming up
    • Getting the right mentality in place
    • We start our running too fast
    • The body waiting for endorphins to kick in.

    When driving a manual car, you don’t start driving in high gear as the car will conk out; it is the same with our bodies.


Your Muscles Are Warming Up

You have to allow your body time to wake up. If you run first thing in the morning, your body goes from sedentary mode to active mode in a short time; the same applies if you have been sitting in an office all day. Your body is not taking in enough oxygen to run at the pace you want, making it harder to breathe and find the speed at which you want to run.

We Often Start Too Fast

How many times have you gone out running when you have looked down at your watch and run as fast as you can? This continuously happens to me, and then I die after a mile. I was once told that your body is like a metronome. Once you let it find its rhythm, it should be able to stick at a comfortable pace for miles at a time, but it takes that first mile to get into the groove.

Getting The Right Mentality In Place

Sometimes when you go for a run, you must convince your mind that you want to do this. How often have you just started your run and your head is telling you to stop? In the first 10 to 15 minutes, you have to get the right mentality in place, telling your head that you want to do this and that you can do the planned run.

The Body Is Waiting For Endorphins To Kick In

We need to wait for the endorphins to kick in when out running. Some runners reckon that after about 10 minutes of running, they get that exercise high. So wait for the running-induced endorphins to kick in the next day that you are out running and feel crap during the first 10 minutes.

How Can We Make The Beginning Of Running Easier

There are a few simple things that we can do to make it better:

    • Warm-up
    • Start Slow
    • Get a running buddy
    • Music
    • Breathe correctly
    • Fuel body Properly
Warm Up

Warm-up is a very important part of running, as is cool-down. A running warm-up focuses more on the legs. It helps to warm up your body, raising the temperature of your muscles so they don’t immediately go from being sedentary to working at full tilt. A warm-up also increases your heart rate, breathing, and blood circulation. It also helps prevent injury if we warm up properly.

There are many different types of warm-ups:

    • Dynamic Stretching
    • Jogging
    • Walking​

Dynamic Stretching

This is the most recommended form of warm-up. These stretches are movement-based; the movement results in the muscles stretching. This stretch is not held for a period.

The following are dynamic stretches:

    • Leg swings front to back
    • Leg swings side to side
    • Lunges
    • High knees
    • Butt kicks
    • Floor Sweeps
    • Side squats
    • Leg kicks


Some runners warm up by jogging slowly for 10 minutes


Other runners will warm up by walking or increasing the pace to a brisk walk.

Start Slow

Even after a warm-up routine, you should slowly increase your effort to reach the required pace as you run. Unless we are doing a speed session, we should be able to hold a conversation as we run and not feel out of breath. Even though you may feel that you should be out of breath to achieve the best results, it is the opposite once you can talk as you run. This achieves the best results in terms of increasing your fitness. You will speed up as you get fitter, but your effort levels will feel the same.

Get a Running Buddy

If we run with a running buddy, it will make the first 10 minutes easier as it gives us something else for the brain to think about as we are chatting with our buddy.


Listening to music makes your brain think about something other than how hard running is in those first 10 minutes.

Make sure you eat and drink regularly during the week. Hydration when running is extremely important. Also, it is important to know what foods to eat before running.

Take notice of your breathing. If it is short and shallow, focus on a calm, controlled out-breath, and the in will follow. The more oxygen you take in, the quicker the energy systems adapt. If you can’t control it after a few minutes, you are going too fast, so slow down.

Final Thoughts

You can do all these things, but there will be times when the first 10 minutes suck, so there is something about training your brain to tough it out and ignore the ‘Stop!’ voice in your head. Telling yourself that you know what is going on and that it will improve is a simple but useful technique. Kind of an ‘I have been here before, and I have overcome it’ type of conversation with yourself. But equally important is listening to your body, stopping running, and saving it for another day.

So while you may never learn to love the first 10 minutes, there is plenty you can do to make the most of them.

Leave a Comment