If there’s one thing I have learned about running during my running career- it’s that running requires a lot of patience. Whether you’re brand new to running, a super star athlete or returning to the greatest sport on earth post-injury, it all requires patience.
At the moment, I find myself in the “returning to the greatest sport on earth post-injury” category. I’m dealing with post-COVID and bronchitis lung issues while in the midst of a comeback from injury. I went from being in the best shape of my life, attempting a marathon PR in late 2019, to goofing off doing a running challenge during the 2020 lockdown, resulting in a knee injury.
That nagging knee injury and an unrelated foot issue had me sitting on the bench for almost a year and a half! NOT being able to run takes a lot of patience, especially when you spend all day every day in a running store like I do!
I had to patiently get through weeks of PT, patiently continue to do boring strength workouts… and every time I was cleared to run again, my knee would start bugging me after just a few minutes of running. It would have been so easy to have given up. I thought about it a few times and if I didn’t have the running community at the store to keep pushing me to put in the work – I might have!
I mentioned earlier that I recently had Covid and bronchitis. Prior to coming down with those nasty illnesses, I had been working hard for a couple of months and had gotten myself to the point where I was running pretty regularly. I was finally feeling good again, moving at a good-for-me pace, and training for a couple of races. Races I was so excited for!
This past weekend I was supposed to run a 25k trail race and my body was 100% telling me not to run. My brain on the other hand, was trying to come up with any scenario that would allow me to do what I wanted to do. I should definitely not admit how many times I wondered if I could hike the course within the time cutoff if I loaded up on enough cough meds.
Despite the fact I REALLY wanted to join my friends at that race, I chose to be patient with my body and allow it to recover. Until this stinkin’ cough goes away, I’ll be patiently pedaling super slow on my peloton and doing strength exercises so my legs are ready to get back out there when my lungs are!
Even if you’ve never dealt with an injury or illness that kept you from running, patience is still a very important quality to have as a runner. Especially since our sport of choice tends to reward pain and suffering!
Patience is key when it comes to becoming a better runner or following a training plan. Whether you took up running last week or you’re a seasoned veteran, all of us have to put in the work.
There are no shortcuts to becoming a better runner and you can’t cram for a race the way you crammed for exams in school! Run too much and you’ll wind up overtrained, burnt out or injured come race day. Start with a plan intended for your current fitness level and patiently increase your mileage and intensity to build strength and speed over time.
Speaking of training, It’s also important to be patient with your body while it rests! Don’t stress your body with extra runs or hard workouts on your scheduled rest day – no matter how many friends call and ask you to join them for a run!
After all that hard work you put into training, you’ve also got to be patient when the gun goes off on race day. Ask any runner for race day advice and you’ll be told time and time again: “Don’t go out too fast”! You can’t let your crazy, race day energy get the best of you in the first couple of miles or you won’t have the energy to cross the finish line strong.
Post race is another time you’ve got to be patient as a runner. Whether you had a great race or it just wasn’t your day, your body needs to rest and recover from the hard effort. Taking some time away from a training plan and allowing your body and brain time to recover will pay off in the long run and you’ll be ready to do it all over again soon!
In a world that focuses on quick fixes and miracle cures, patience definitely isn’t glamorous or easy! But in the long run (see what I did there?), you’ll find that patience is the key to success!
About the author: Katie is the Store Manager of AppRunCo – Carlisle & an avid distance runner. She loves running on both roads and trails with her trusty sidekick, her dog Dash. When she’s not running or fitting shoes, Katie can be found snapping photos for the store’s social media pages.