Running Is Not Like Riding a Bike: A Lesson in Patience

Patient. Not a word I’d use to describe myself. I’m completely impatient and because of this, I’m hard on others…and myself.

Yesterday, I laced up my shoes and went for a run. My first run in a long time. I’m still trying to pick myself back up, slowly.

As soon as I started out, I knew I was in for a rough time. That familiar itching, burning sensation ran through my legs, my ankles felt weak, my core couldn’t maintain posture. I wasn’t the girl who finished a marathon a few months ago. The girl who ran for an hour straight on the treadmill before that. I was back to the girl in my first 5k, who walked more than she ran, who fought for every last inch, who hated running because it hurt. I was on the brink of tears, ready to give up and walk home, but I forced myself to finish out the (very) short loop I planned.

When I got home, I went right into the basement and popped in my old Jillian Michael’s “Ripped in 30” DVD and banged out the week one workout. I knew I could get through it, even if it meant lighter weights. I needed to prove to myself I could do something. Finish something. How could I not get through a measly three mile run? Where’s that magic “muscle memory” I supposedly have? Why can’t I break 12:30 pace?


It’s something I need to learn. I can’t expect to just pick up where I left off with training. Running isn’t like riding a bike. You don’t just get back up and get right back to where you left off. Running is more akin to planting a garden. You have to start with the right soil, the right foundation. You have to plant the seeds, but you also have to tend to them to help them grow. They need nurture and water and sunlight. And time. You have to weed out the bad plants to make room for the beautiful ones to grow. I’ve started building my foundation by eating better and getting more sleep. I’m trying to weed out the bad thoughts to make room for the positive ones. But I can’t expect to blossom overnight. I need to go back to basics. To tend to my body and mind by slowly, carefully building my fitness back to where it was. Doing too much, too soon will only ruin the process.


Patience Quote

Patience with myself. With my body. With my mind. If I learn to be patient. To put in the time. Put in the work. I can be the girl who loves running again. I can be the girl who conquered the marathon. I can be better than her. I will be the girl who PR’s at Chicago.

This is all easier said than done, of course. It’s one thing to write it down here. It’s quite another to reshape the way I think. To change my expectations. But I’m working on it. One run at a time and I’ll get there eventually.



  1. says

    Oh, I know where you’re coming from sister! After taking four months (yes 4!) after the WDW Half in January, I just started back to running last week. To say I’m beyond anxious about my good old ITBS rearing it’s ugly head yet once again, is putting it mildly. Who knew a lousy 2 miler could be so icky? But like you, I will try and be patient, put in the off road work and spend more time with that you-know-what foam roller. All in the hopes that I can get back to that feeling I had when I crossed the finish at last year’s Wine and Dine. Keep your head up sister, we WILL get this done!!

  2. Rick Stiles says

    Love the post! I completed Dopey in January, which included my first ever marathon. But an injury I got at mile 1 of the half forced me to cut way back on my running and then stop completely.

    Just last week I started running again. Although I took it very, very easy, I was amazed at how much my muscles hurt afterward. Got to build slowly toward the Dumbo Double Dare in August, and then onward to marathon #2 in January.

    Patience is harder than running!

  3. Becca says

    I was just talking about this today. You can’t just pick up where you left off, you have to work at it. And it’s beyond frustrating, isn’t it?!

    Good luck!

  4. says

    Patience is hard! I thought I was going to be able to run a little bit after resting for a month, but PT said “no, no, no.” The six minutes I’m allowed to bike at the end of PT sessions is the closest I get to cycling. Walking the dog is….nice, but it’s hard not to get up, lace up, and get out the door for a run. And I know when I’m finally allowed, it’ll be “go slow; don’t go far.” Ugh. But I’m trying to keep the big picture and a 2017 marathon date in mind so that I can get there, even if it’s slowly.
    I’ve been using “I am the tortoise; fear is the hare” as my “mantra” of late. It has a whoooooole new meaning now.
    Keep it up, girl! We’re all in the back of the pack with you, but we’ll get there someday!
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