They say patience is a virtue, and I’ve found this to be true in many aspects of life, particularly my training. It’s that time of year when the best of the best track athletes are all finally getting a break, or just coming off of theirs and into the base phase of training. Surprisingly, this low-key time of the year can actually be a very difficult phase, one that takes a lot of patience.
When any athlete comes off a break, the enthusiasm towards training suddenly spikes to an all-time high, (well, at least after you get past those first few awkward runs where you wonder if your limbs are actually moving correctly!) You know the feeling–you rush back into training like it’s an episode of “The Biggest Loser,” becoming obsessed with the idea that “more must be better.” But the truth is, more isn’t always better, but more patience can be.
Since I ran my last race of the season at USA’s in June it’s been a long, slow road back as I had to recover from an injury. When I first started training again I was so enthusiastic I jumped in the pool to cross-train like a fish who’d been outta water (and trust me, I don’t really love swimming). I hit the trails with my GPS watch on, swearing to myself I wouldn’t just waste time jogging but get in a decent pace. Low and behold, a week later I realized I had pushed too hard and already had to back off because I re-aggravated my injury. The next six weeks that followed continued in a similar cycle of ups and downs until finally I realized I just had to get in the basics, not compare my progress to season’s past, and rely on faith and patience. A small step forward is greater that fives steps forward followed by ten steps backwards.