The following is a guest blog by Lora Mays of Crazy Running Girl.
Living in today’s on-demand world makes it hard to even understand the need for patience. Whatever we want, we can get – likely in the clicks of a few buttons.
When it comes to running, it doesn’t work that way. I’ve definitely learned throughout the years that running requires a certain level of patience – one that we don’t have to practice or experience in our everyday lives thanks to technology.
The first time I got seriously injured, I ended up with some terrible shin splints. I didn’t have the patience to let my body heal itself so I did the worst thing any runner could do – I kept running.
I remember when it first happened; I had rocked a 17-mile run and midway through, started to feel that twinge of pain in my shin. Maybe if I ignore it, it will go away.
Nope, it stuck around. I tried to hurry up recovery – icing as much as I could, suddenly doing every stretch I could find in the book to heal my injury. I would give myself a break for a few days and was too impatient to truly give my body a chance to heal – and oh, did I pay for it! Instead of being out for a few weeks, I was out for months – and the pain was so intense that I couldn’t even sit without feeling my shins throb.
I learned perhaps the biggest lesson of my running career – that patience is core to the art of running. If I had allowed my body to heal, I would have returned to running much faster. I could have run the marathon I had on my scheduled, instead of the dreaded three letters: DNF.
As hard as it is to be patient, it’s even harder to be an impatient runner. Everything takes time – from going for a long run (can’t really speed that up, your pace is your pace) to training for your first race; nothing can happen overnight.
You can try to take short cuts, but I’ve learned that those short cuts are short-lived and will likely catch up with you over time. And the same can be said about life.
Whenever impatience wins out, it always feels good – after all, you can get what you want now. Check that off the list and move on to the next thing… until the short cut catches up to you, because it always does. And in the end, you end up spending twice as much time to make it right.
So instead, I’ve been focusing on patience.
Patience to put in the time to treat my life like I do my marathon training: with purpose, intention and filled with hard work. Short-term wins, like racing through a workout just to check a box and say we did it, never feel as good as what our actions feel like when we practice patience, like finally hitting that huge running goal we set out in front of us.
And perhaps that’s one of the things I’m most thankful to running: for teaching me the art of patience and helping me find how to live the way I run. Through running, I’ve learned that I can indeed be a patient person – and I’ve been able to experience that, as difficult as it can be, it tastes that much sweeter when it finally pays off.
Lora Mays is an avid runner and certified running coach who has been running for more than 15 years. She fell in love with the marathon in 2006, and since then, has run 20 races around the country, including the Boston Marathon four times. Lora is a Run Happy Ambassador that loves to help others find their passion for running – whether it’s the marathon, a 5k or just to run casually. When she isn’t running the trails in Austin, TX, she is blogging about it at Crazy Running Girl.