Starting A Run Is Harder Than The Finish

Have you ever run?  Did you ever notice that starting a run is harder than finishing.  At least it is for me.  Read on!

Getting Back In The Groove

Recently, I was talking to my wife about something I noticed while running.  I’ve recently ramped up my running after having taken a good portion of the summer off to rest my foot, which was having some soreness.  My wife is an outdoor runner where I prefer to run indoors on a treadmill.  So that someone is home with the kids, we rarely get the opportunity to run together, but we always compare stories and work to encourage each other.

mb-2015-10-trackMy wife and I both run in intervals, where you run for a while, then walk for a while.  I typically run for 3-4 minutes, then walk for 1 minute.  During my 1 minute of walking time, I typically do three things: Take a sip of water, measure my heart rate on the treadmill sensors, and wipe sweat off my face or neck.

I noticed that during my first, and sometimes even second walking interval, I would actually have a hard time taking sips of water, because I’d be very out of breath.  I found that as my run progressed, this actually became easier.

She said that the same thing happens to her.

And, I started thinking about why, and really, the answer is pretty simple:

The beginning has the greatest period of change.

When I thought this, it made sense.  After all, when you start a run, you’re going from a low heart rate to a high one, from moving around slowly to going quickly, from slow breathing to fast.

All that is a rather abrupt change, and your body is probably a little bit shocked.

But, after you get going, well, you’re going.  Your body gets used to it.  After running for awhile, your body automatically regulates your breathing.  This means that it should become easier to get those sips of water, which is exactly what happens!

This is pretty cool

Change In Real Life

It occurred to me that this type of situation doesn’t apply just to exercise, but really anything where there’s a big and sudden change.

Think about some of the other examples:

  • Starting a budget
  • Going ninja on your debt
  • Tackling a big cleanup project at home
  • A new diet

And I’m sure that there are many others!

Push Through When It’s Hardest

With all of the examples above, they’re all things that are big changes, and they’re also things that can easily be given up on.  And, let’s face it, they often are!

But they don’t have to be.

I think that many times, when we give up on things, especially right after we get all excited about starting them, is that we’re coming up against that big level of resistance that we feel right as we get started.  It’s easy to give up, and I think many do because they think that it’s always going to be that tough.

But, often it’s not!

Just as my body adjusts after I run awhile, what happens when you get used to the big change in your life is that you adapt. You integrate the change into your life.  You make adjustments.

And eventually, you realize that you can handle it!

If you realize that the initial push might push you back the hardest, you realize that once you get past it, you can keep on going and it won’t be so hard.

Readers, do you agree that often the hardest part of doing something comes at the beginning, when we’re having to try to adjust to the change?  What are some examples you’ve faced where this has come into play, and what is your advice to persist past that first (and often biggest) hurdle?

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8 thoughts on “Starting A Run Is Harder Than The Finish

  1. I’ve noticed the same thing. Whenever we start a new health routine, working out or eating healthier, it’s really hard. It’s hard because we don’t want to work out or because we have cravings for things we used to eat. But after a while it gets easier because we’re used to it.

  2. Oh yes. Completely agree! I started a Paleo Diet in the middle of September (The Whole 30) Those first few days I had headaches, I was starving no matter how much I ate, and it was a real struggle. After about the first week things got easier. I started having fun with the cooking and my cravings were gone. It’s still not going perfectly all the time but has become rewarding rather than constantly challenging.

    • Seeing the positive results after a while most definitely helps push things along. For many, it’s getting over that initial hump to see those first positive signs that is so, so challenging!

  3. We’ve been on a journey out of debt for over 3 years now, and one thing that I found very difficult at first were the ups and downs of debt repayment. With variable income and variable expenses, there was no way we were going to have steady progress, and while I knew that in my mind, it really hit me in the gut when things were slow. Now, I’m able to take the slow times in stride. I really like your analogy here!

    • Thanks. Yes, I can imagine that in your situation, the highs were highs but the lows brought out some low feelings. We’re pretty steady which can get boring, but that’s when we step back and take a look at the big picture.

  4. I absolutely agree – when my wife and I were getting our finances in order, we had to make some life changes – which was very painful. But now they just seem second nature, and we think “Why didn’t we do this sooner?” Change is hard, but the growth is definitely worth a little pain.

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