Patience: A Runner’s Life

Apple Tree '15

Patience is something I’m not very good at. If someone told me to think of an example of my mother telling me off, the first thing to jump into my mind would be her much repeated reminder to me to be patient. I like to think I’m not THAT impatient, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t require a conscious and deliberate effort to be more patient in life, in general, in… everything.

Running is no exception. And not conveniently, key to being a runner is, you guessed it….patience! In your training cycle, in individual running sessions, in the gradual increase in your running mileage week by week, in the upping of training intensity and in races. Patience in running a race is possibly the most pivotal factor that can either make or break your run. There isn’t a runner on the planet that doesn’t know that the fundamental rule of running any race is not too go out too fast. It’s about pacing. It’s about holding back in the early stages to ensure that you are still good for the later stages, whatever distance that may be. It’s about patience.

My apple tree. Not so patient at the mo, spitting out apples!
My apple tree. Not so patient at the mo, spitting out apples!

I might be wrong but seems to be that this rule holds true for no other race more than the marathon. You’ve trained hard for months, you’ve tapered, you’re fully fuelled, you’re rested and you are ready to fly. It’s a big build up and there is a LOT of excitement. It’s asking you to be the most patient you’ve ever been on a day when you feel ridiculously impatient. The temptation, as you’re unleashed upon the streets in those first few miles, is to bolt – you think “Awesome! This is great, look at how fast I can run?! Maybe I should just see if I can keep this up?”

Apple Tree '15.2

This is what goes through my head EVERY time I run a marathon. It’s so flippin seductive and it sucks you right in. Next week, I’m bringing the Mom with me, figuratively and literally. When these satanic thoughts start to fly across my mind’s eye, I’ll be armed and ready to go with my mother’s mantra: “Be Patient”.

And also: “My legs will not blow up at 16 miles!” Ahem, like I allowed them to do last year…

I ran 3 miles today and there will be 4 miles tomorrow and then 3 on Friday and then…nothing until Monday. Cutbacks, patience… I feel like I’m being wound back into a coil, tighter and tighter, preparing to be sprung when the gun goes off. But it’s all about controlling that release, right? Hope so.

Apple Tree '15.3

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