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.
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!