Runners, is it normal to frequently feel bad during the first few miles of your run but better as you keep going?

I run anywhere from 4-10 miles each day (big range I know, but I listen to my body and go as far as it allows me and stops when it needs to since I'm not training for anything). Whether I'm running 4 miles or 10, I almost always suffer through the first mile or two and then feel infinitely better for the remaining miles. I would say this happens 9 times out of 10! On Saturday I ran 10 miles and during the first mile to 1.5 miles I remember thinking "oh I won't be going far today, I'm not into this and I'm tired." Then the further I went the better I felt. At mile 8 I vividly remember thinking that my body feels so much better now than it did at mile 1. Is this normal and why does it happen? Is it because I don't stretch or warm up before a run, I just get straight into it? I always cool down with a walk and stretch after no matter how far or short I run. Thanks for your insight!


I often feel like crud during my first mile and then feel better as it goes along. I think it's due to not getting the heart rate up before the run begins.

Adam D

It's probably because you're not doing a warm up, you're using the first few miles in place of one.


It's VERY common for a runner's first mile to feel 'bleh' or worse. In fact it's kind of a saying that the first mile is a liar, meaning you shouldn't let it set the tone for your entire run. As mentioned, someone who doesn't warm up and do some dynamic stretching before they run, may be more likely to have a rough first mile or so because the body is having to use THAT as its warm-up and it's being asked to work before the body had the chance to warm up the muscles and send extra blood to them. Be careful doing many miles runs every day, as that does increase the chances of injuries from repetitive motion/impact. It also really increases the need to make sure you properly warm-up/stretch before your run and cool-down and stretch afterward. You can find some good pre-run warm ups online by just doing a search on running warm up exercises. Things like high knees, band march (warms up ankles/feet), straight legged march to work hamstrings and hips, butt kicks to work hamstrings and quads, and side step in each direction for hips and inner/outer thighs. I've included a link below to some exercises you can take a look at.