Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Learning to Run

I don't think of myself as an inherently patient person. I hate to stand in line. I'm remarkably unpleasant to be around while I'm waiting to heal from an injury. And I've been known to grumble about how damn long the microwave is taking to cook something.

So you might be surprised at how many jobs I've had - and been terrific at! - that have required enormous reserves of patience on my part. I used to be a preschool teacher, and in case you're not familiar with the job description, let me tell you that working with small children is not a good idea if you can't stand to listen to a tiny voice asking you the same question 87 times without wanting to knaw off your own arm like a raccoon in a trap.

Here's what happened:  I started typing "raccoon in a trap" into Google.  I got as far as "raccoon in a t" when "raccoon in a tux" popped up as the top suggestion.  You are a better person than me if you could resist that!  So then I lost twenty minutes looking at adorable pictures of raccoons and other animals wearing tuxedos.  Writing a blog can be a dangerous time suck.
Still, knowing the inner monologue I hear while I'm waiting for my teenager to finish telling me a long ass story about some arcane sub-plot in the Star Wars saga, it's a little surprising to me that my most favorite part of my job as a fitness trainer is helping people who are just learning to run.

It requires a lot of patience, but it's also pretty much the most rewarding thing ever.

Sometimes I read other blogs from running coaches who talk about training their clients for marathons and I think, "Wow, that must be so cool!" but I mostly can't imagine what that would be like.  Generally speaking, my clients come to me saying things like, "I will never run.  Ever.  And you can't make me."  And then a few months later, when I've worked my patient and subtle magic on them and they realize that they can, indeed, run, and would maybe even like to give racing a try, well, that's about as satisfying as it gets.

I have a couple of running clients who I run with regularly, and one of the things that's so interesting to me is how many preconceived notions my newbies have.  One girl truly felt that after the first month or so that she really should be able to regulate her pace at will (a skill I haven't mastered in eight years).  Another lamented to me the other day after a tough run that she thought she shouldn't still be running so slow.  I remind them patiently that there aren't really a lot of "shoulds" in running.

It's a good reminder for me, too. To be patient with myself. To enjoy each run, whether it's fast or slow or cold or hot or easy or tough.  Learning to run takes a pretty long time. Good thing it's worth it!

Are you patient with yourself and your running?

10 comments:

Coach Dion said...

Patient, No.... I want to be running as well as I was 20 yers ago. I finished the session last night and I want the next one!

Jim said...

Not sure why it took me so long to add your link to my fav's, but I'm here now! Merry Christmas Pahla!

The Rock Star said...

I used to be able to run. Then I didn't for a long time. Then I started again and it was ugly. Then I stopped. There is a reason why I have a shirt which says "running sucks." I've never really enjoyed running and am a little jealous of those who do enjoy it. I have to start it again.


I guess the answer is I'm not patient with running.

PahlaB said...

It's so hard to be patient with things you don't feel good at. That's me and yoga. Once a year I give it a try and decide (again) that I'm no good at it. 0_o

PahlaB said...

Thank you!! :)

Andrea said...

The raccoon in a tux is pretty darn cute. Patience. I have lots at least at my job. I haven't given running the work it needs so it isn't giving me much back!

PahlaB said...

I do still like it and it still gets used regularly! It really is a great alternative to cycling or running, it's a great cardio workout and it fits nicely on the bike trainer we have, too.

BikingBrian said...

Thanks for the feedback, I'm going to get one for sure!

dion.middelkoop said...

wish I had the money for one...

Gretchen said...

How good a shape do you have to be in to ride one of these?