This getting easier thing...: Ok,genuine... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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This getting easier thing...

Gwenllian1 profile image

Ok,genuine question here. Does the first ten minutes or so ever get easier? I graduated about three weeks ago. I'm 64, a bit unfit, a bit overweight and from a family with a history of heart disease and stroke. I really want to improve my health and there is no doubt that couch to 5k is helping. I've lost a bit of weight and I feel better. I'm a slow runner but every time I go out I get a very tiny bit faster. Strava is great for showing you this even if it doesn't feel as if you are improving. I decided to do three or four weeks of consolidating after I graduated before maybe trying both to run faster and further. I'm determined not to give up because I have worked so hard to get here but I did think that the desperately hard first ten minutes or so of a run would be getting easier by now! The middle bit is always ok but the first bit of trying to get my breath and find my rhythm is really hard. I'm a snail so I already go slow! Any ideas? Will it get better if I just keep on keeping on?

12 Replies
UnfitNoMore profile image

There’s a phenomenon known as the toxic 10 that most runners feel. It’s the delay between you starting to run and the brain cranking up the respiratory system to cope, oxygen deficit is the trigger in this 10 minutes and also the issue, so less oxygen reaches the muscles. You’re in the company of the vast majority of runners. The best way to deal with it is to run deliberately slower in the first few minutes... indeed many runners do a few minutes light jogging before the start of a run.

Gwenllian1 profile image
Gwenllian1Graduate in reply to UnfitNoMore

Thanks for this! Great to know there is science behind it and it's not just me! It's hard to imagine how I can go slower but I'm going to have a go.

damienair profile image

I always struggle a little with the first 5 minutes. Then I get into a rhythm. Your not alone.


Gwenllian1 profile image
Gwenllian1Graduate in reply to damienair

You tend not to know how it is for others so I suppose I imagined that I was the only one thinking I could barely breathe!

ArthurJG profile image

Easier - yes. Easy - no it's never easy because of the toxic ten as UFM has already explained in fewer words than I usually manage. Warming up well before a run and starting at a slower pace do help. Mentally just reminding your brain that this is temporary can also help because on a 30 minute run after 5 minutes run your brain is saying 'we can't do this for 25 more minutes so we may as well stop' so you need to know to reply 'but we can do it for 5 more minutes and then it'll be fine.'

Gwenllian1 profile image
Gwenllian1Graduate in reply to ArthurJG

That's a great tip about mental preparedness. Knowing to expect it and knowing it will pass might trump my body shouting at me to stop! I will manage this. Thanks for helping!

Jogunlikely profile image

Ah the toxic ten 😬 you are not alone :)

Some days will be easier than others. Often there seems to be no reason behind it 🤷‍♀️ As the others have said you need to slow down for the first bit (yes you can go slower) and persuade your brain to keep going.

Have fun x

Gwenllian1 profile image
Gwenllian1Graduate in reply to Jogunlikely

Well I'm running again tomorrow and will really focus on trying to go even slower in the first ten minutes. It may look as though I'm just standing still and vibrating gently!

Jogunlikely profile image
JogunlikelyGraduate in reply to Gwenllian1


The first ten minutes do get easier, i promise! when i first started running a couple of years ago i found running for more than 2 minuets utterly exhausting. I managed to work my way up to a 10k in under an hour, but since then i gave up due to an injury and now i'm back at square one. The best advice that i can give you are the wise words of my aunt "don't let your mind sabotage you, your wee legs can go forever!". Also, when it comes to running longer distances try not to worry about your speed too much in the beginning, focus on gaining a sustainable rhythm first and then when the endorphins start to take effect speed comes naturally. best of luck! xo

Gwenllian1 profile image
Gwenllian1Graduate in reply to laylaj141

Thank you. The idea of just focusing on a sustainable rhythm is interesting. Sort of gives me something to think about which isn't dying!

laylaj141 profile image
laylaj141 in reply to Gwenllian1

:D from endure to enjoy!

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