QT: Staying Patient in the Pursuit of Your Running Goals Isn’t Easy

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

As a distance runner, I’m supposed to love that saying right?

I feel like this statement is thrown around rather often in almost every part of my life OUTSIDE of running.

Stay patient is the message. You’ll get there, it’s just going to take some time.

If a running metaphor is one of the most common metaphors I hear in my life outside of running but rarely within my various running circles, that must mean that runners are good at being patient, right?

Runners Being Patient? Hilarious!

Runners Being Patient? Hilarious!

Why Do We Suck at Being Patient?

I talk to runners almost every day that are impatient. It seems as though they are always wanting to do more.

  • More miles.
  • Faster pace.
  • Fewer days off.

I’ll do whatever it takes to reach my running goals. Unless I just need to be patient…

Sound familiar?

The problem with a lack of patience for runners is that the results of wanting to do more are often counter productive.

  • Burn out.
  • Injury.
  • Plateauing.

The less patient you are as a runner, in most cases, the longer it will take for you to reach your goals and the more frustrated (and impatient) you’re likely to become.

The Thing About Becoming More Patient

The first thing you need to do if you struggle with impatience as a runner is to accept the fact that there are no quick fixes available.

Translation: Becoming a more patient person is a marathon, not a sprint.

Are You Kidding

That’s quite the conundrum, eh?

The Cause of our Impatience

The key driver of impatience is time.

If you don’t care how long it takes to reach your goals, you will probably have very little problem staying patient. 

When I talked with Tere Zacher recently, one of the biggest things she said that resonated with me was the importance of not putting a due date on our goals.

When we have a due date, it creates a sense of urgency in our minds that can be counter productive.

Instead of trusting the process and letting it play out, we become impatient and start trying to force it.

But if we can eliminate the time pressure of assigning a due date to our goals, we definitely make it easier to stay patient in the pursuit of our running goals.

How to Become More Patient

There's No Short Cut to Becoming More Patient

There’s No Short Cut to Becoming More Patient

As a kid, my aunt used to remind me that patience was a virtue quite often.

Thankfully, those reminders appeared to have impacted me because I rarely struggle with impatience when it comes to achieving my goals, running or otherwise.

If you need a consistent reminder, you might want to think about working with a running coach. Having someone in your corner to keep you from rushing the process can be invaluable in helping you stay the course and trust the process.

Another thing you can do to help build your patience is to set some goals that are so far off you can’t help be stay patient to achieve them.

Between wanting to qualify for Boston and wanting to run a marathon in every state, I know I’m going to need to stay healthy and motivated to run for many years to come. As such, I’m rarely tempted by impatience.

If I don’t PR or BQ in my next race, no worries. There will be plenty of additional races and opportunities to come.

Staying patient in the pursuit of your #running goals is tough, but it's worth it. #runchat Share on X

Do You Struggle with Staying Patient as a Runner? If So, How Do You Overcome the Urge to Rush Things? If Not, What Do You Do to Maintain the Patience Required to Reach Your Running Goals?

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