When Patience Is A Virtue Of Training


It’s the one word that kept running through my head as I was in the middle of a tough workout on my bike recently. It was a grueling 90 minutes. Not just for my body but for my mind as well.


I’m training for a few triathlon races this summer. I’m back with my coach and I love her style. She has me training within certain Hear Rate (HR) zones during each workout. Zones 1 and 2 are easier while zone 3, 4 and 5 are harder. You could imagine that zone 5 is at the top of the HR zones and really, really tough to maintain for a long period of time… not really recommended in fact.

In endurance racing such as triathlons, long bike rides or long runs. It’s all about being able to keep moving at a good pace with out wearing yourself out. When most people are starting out, they don’t realize how much staying in the right HR zone impacts their training or the whole race.

Remember, your heart is a muscle and needs to be trained just like any other muscle. So as I’m training and getting my body in shape with long bike rides, runs and swimming thousands of yards in the pool. I want to be able to maintain my distance and time by working out according to where my HR zone should be. Which usually means going slower than you feel like you should be going in order to build endurance over time.

Thus patience.

When I’m in a spin class, on my bike or on a run. My coach might have me going a certain distance in a low zone… Zones 1 or 2. Staying in these zones mean moving slower and taking longer to go the required distance.

But it’s this way for a reason. It helps me to build my heart over longer distances at a slower pace so that I can gradually increase over time. Eventually I will go longer miles faster without my heart feeling like it’s going to explode.

Why is patience needed?

Because we all want to go faster. We all feel like we are getting where going slower. I say we because a lot of us experience this in so many areas of our lives. Not just the training part. And it’s especially true for me. I know where I’m going and what I’m supposed to be doing so let’s just get there now! Faster! Sometimes I want to accelerate life because of where I really want to be when in reality I should stay right where I am because it’s where I should be.

It’s not easy and in fact feels counter productive at times, but in the end it’s the right way to go.

Good comes to those who wait right?

But better things come to those who are patient.

It’s a tough lesson to learn which is why I have a coach and people in my life to keep my accountable when I need it most.

When you are faced with a workout or a tough situation in life, how do you deal with the patience of having to stay in the zone when you want to be moving ahead of yourself?


The views expressed here are those of a personal nature and do not reflect the corporate view of my employer or anyone else who employee my services.
  • http://caroldublin.com/ Carol Dublin

    Great post and definitely what I needed to read today! I have just started training for my first marathon, and I find on my longer runs, I do tend to start out way too fast, and then wonder why I can’t keep up the pace. I’m afraid I’m doing the same thing with my goals – need to pace myself better so I can accomplish more. Thanks for the reminder.

    • http://www.spencesmith.com Spence Smith

      thanks for the comment Carol and congrats on training for your first marathon. I think you find the journey is all in the training and the race is a great day of celebration for all the hard work you put into getting ready for the race. Most of all. have fun!!! and yes… i need to pace myself better as well. it feels like a normal progression at times… and other times a pain!!