This popular expression comes from a list of “Seven Heavenly Virtues” which were invented to offset the “Seven Deadly Sins”. These Seven Virtues come from “Psychomachia,” an epic poem written in the fifth century. Despite it’s ancient origins, this expression holds true, especially in the field of running where being patient can pay dividends.
Having been ill for most of January, my running fitness and strength has gone out the window! This is something that all runners need to face up to at some time or other, either via injury or illness, it’s inevitable that you will be knocked back at sometime or other. When this happens, all you want to do is get out running again and however, irrational it may seem, you want to start where you left off. But of course, it doesn’t work like that! I remember once recovering from a hamstring injury. I thought I was OK so ran a 10 mile race too early and at the 5 mile point it went again. I was back to square-one.
The last time I was hit by illness was last year and I can look back on how long it took me to recover. As a benchmark I ran Leamington parkrun on Saturday at a time just over 27 minutes. This was about the time I was running 5Ks back in August last year when I was starting to recover. So, I did an analysis of my average times in parkruns during my recovery and how long it took me to get from 27 minutes to around 23, which is a good time for me when I am fit.
It took me about three months, which tells me that I can not expect to be “back” until around the end of April and I shouldn’t expect miracles or be tempted to over-do things.
I can be thankful that years of experience and fitness means that I don’t lose everything. I can remember when my goal was to do three miles in under 30 minutes and I remember what a daunting milestone that was. I know that many runners would be aiming to run 27 minutes as a goal. I also know of many runners who would consider my norm of 23 minutes as “slow”. Whatever level you are in running, your goals are equally challenging and your efforts and equally worth that of any other athlete, regardless of level!
“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:25 NIV