For a distance runner I’m not particularly patient. I’m getting better with experience, but I still tend to push the pace on runs and get frustrated when workouts and races don’t bring the results I want. I often jump into new workout schedules enthusiastically and then burn out on the over-ambitious new routine. Patience is a virtue that I am slowly, painfully learning through experience, injury, and age.
Unexpectedly, riding with my women’s cycling group may help with patience as well. Getting on the bike tends to make me extra impatient – I want to go FAST even if my legs can’t handle it. I’ve blown up on a couple rides and often suffer through easy rides because I do them faster than what is actually my easy pace. Riding my with the group, I find myself chomping at the bit, tense with impatience as we coast the downhills and ease up the steep sections.
This morning was no different – I found myself annoyed at having to hold back on certain sections, but stuck with the group because I didn’t know the route and knew that, in spite of my impatience, the women I was riding with knew better whether we’d need the extra energy later. I needed to follow their lead or risk falling off the pack later (in addition to not being a very good group ride member). I focused on relaxing and flowing with the group.
This exercise in patience paid off – I stuck with the group on a challenging climb and then, even more rewarding, made it the 20 miles back without going through 5-10 miles of utter exhaustion at the end. This was one of my longer rides (3rd longest?) and I felt much more evenly taxed throughout, rather than going out strong and then fading badly. The pacing worked!
I’m hoping this very noticeable and pleasant reward for being patient on the bike carries over to my long rides alone and to my running. As I struggle back into shape patience will be vital for remaining healthy and preserving the joy that I get out of training. Too much too soon is so tempting (speed, endurance, ALL THE WORKOUTS), but a recipe for disappointment a few weeks down the road.