Updated: September 22nd, 2023
How your body changes mentally and physically on the run: Mile 2.

I told you this would get easier – most runners by now have reached a steadier state. The body has had time to adjust to your run, the pace and the demand to get you through this five-mile route.

What is happening physiologically?

Heart rate.

The initial spike in heart rate will look to plateau for the second mile, it will feel a little easier and less like your heart is going to beat out of your chest!

If you’re training with heart rate zones, you will be able to adapt your effort and hit the targets set for your workout session from the second mile. Need to slow it down for zone 1 or 2 efforts? No problem, altering your breathing, pace and terrain can do that for you.

Man sweating a lot needing to keep hydrated while running

Body temperature.

When worked, your muscles produce heat which in turn increases your body temperature. So at mile two onwards, it might be time to take that jacket off. At rest, we average around 36-37°C, but the more your muscles work, the warmer you will get.

By the second mile, your body temperature would have risen by 1-2°C, it doesn’t sound like much but a temperature of 38°C and above is heat exhaustion territory, left unchecked can result in heat stroke.

So be mindful of your temperature and sweat. Subconsciously, our skin pores excrete fluid (sweat) which then evaporates from the skin causing heat loss and basically is our body temperature control mechanism, alongside blood diversion towards the skin (its why all those running photos are of us red-faced).

Runner heading out on the trails

What is happening mentally?

I recon you’re perhaps three-to-five belting songs into a run, (providing you listen to music), your body has stopped going crazy and it seems to be smooth sailing. If you were debating whether running today was a good idea or not, this mile will tell you.

If you’re tired, burnt out, mentally fatigued or stressed, running can feel like the worst idea on the planet. But just TRYING, getting out there for 10-15 minutes can change your entire mindset. If you’re still struggling mentally at this point, turn around and head a mile back home, be proud you tried and still, you got two miles done when you really didn’t fancy it.

Male runner holding his head in his hands

But more often than not, getting over that first mile has really allowed you to detach, enjoy the fresh air and feel that stress melt away.

How much can things change into mile three? I mean seriously, surely it’s all the same until the cool down now, right? …Right?

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