Cracked the 'Toxic 10'!

Recently Curlygurly2 posted a link 'Toxic 10' (in reply to another post) explaining how the body is adjusting at the beginning of a run. There are also many references on this forum to people struggling at the beginning of a run. I have tried various things to relieve the breathlessness and general feeling of 'I can't do this/why am I doing this?!' Firstly, the usual 5 minute warm up walk but really quite brisk rather than a stroll, which I sometimes did. I also tried walk/run intervals - this was ok. I also tried running very, very slowly at the beginning - but I found it difficult to increase my pace and still felt out of breath when I did try going faster. I have also walked uphill at the start of the warm up - making my body work harder.

However, I think I may have discovered a better way of signalling to the body that I need more oxygen etc without the effort.....I start running DOWNHILL! No warm up walk just start jogging downhill. My (very unscientific) theory is that running downhill is obviously much easier but requires the body to work a bit harder than walking or slow jogging. Signals are sent to the body that it needs more oxygen to the muscles etc, thus kick starting that process while still going downhill so by the time the ground levels out the body is physically more prepared. In addition I find that it has psychological benefits - firstly, it is easier and less uncomfortable (less huffing and puffing), also the pace is faster than my usual starting pace so I feel more confident and also it is an incentive to try and maintain or keep close to that pace. Another bonus is that in inclement weather (last week was awful here in NW Scotland - lots rain and wind) the body warms up quicker.

Has anyone else tried this?

7 Replies

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  • The post I refer to is by @Swnymor 'Those first five minutes'

  • Yes - there is nothing worse than starting a run uphill. I recently participated in a 10K race with several thousand others - the first 1.5 klm of the race was uphill.

    I have a 5K training circuit where I live - I always walk to the top of a hill in the circuit before I start running. Those days when I don't and start at the bottom of the hill going upwards always turns into an unsatisfying run for me!! :)

  • Yes, uphill is sooo hard!!

  • That's great that you've cracked it and found something that works for you! I live at the top of a hill and have recently started doing the same thing, I run straight from home, no warm up at all. Now, I know I'm going to get told off, but it seems to work well for me. I've never really found the "first 5 min" thing affects me much, but I do need to go quite a long way ( about 7KM) before I'm "in the zone!

  • Yes, I'm not convinced about the 5 min walk. Perhaps I need to walk faster!

  • I would not do it, my old muscles would not allow me and I would not get to 5 minutes... but if your body responds well, why not. I would prefer to warm up the muscles before and usually avoid downhill. But as I often say: whatever works... if it works for you then you have it :)


  • Very true - everyone is different. Early days at the moment so I may well revert back to a warm up walk!

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