The Importance of Patience

There is an underlying acceptance that runs through the whole history of philosophy: concepts need patience in order to develop and progress. It seems hard to acknowledge nowadays, especially because our society drives our lives with rush and bustle.

But I’m sure you’ve already put patience into your personal and professional careers for whatever reason: a long term project, the need to cope with stress and your colleagues, an upsetting discussion with your partner, or something just doesn’t seem to work properly.

It goes without saying (but it’s also important to remember), that even in sports you will need to have a huge amount of patience. Reading a lot of articles and social media wisdom is not enough to make you a better athlete, and let’s forget the words “faster” and “stronger” for now.

To improve your running, swimming and cycling skills and performances it will take a lot of time – not exactly days and weeks, but more likely months and years. And you will need time to start grasping (and never fully understanding) the intricacy of a sport that blends together three different disciplines into a single unit. You will also need to be patient to see improvements in the single disciplines as well as in the whole system, and those improvements will arrive in very small amount. Just a tiny bit at the time.

You will also need patience to accept the fact that one season will be more successful than another one; that one month will feel easier than the previous one; that one week you will feel stronger, and then next one completely smashed and untrained. One day you will feel everything is going full circle and nothing can stop you. The next day you will have hard times getting out of the bed.

It also happens that the morning sessions feel easy and enjoyable, and the evening ones like hell on earth (or viceversa). During the same training session, finally, you will experience different feelings: some will be good, some will be neutral, and some will be absolutely horrendous.

You will need a lot of patience to accept this constant swing between good and bad, excitement and boredom, sense of thrive and sense of despair. You will need patience to live the highs and the lows that you will experience constantly – and you will need patience to move on in between the chaos. Day after day your focus will be fixed on the long term development and on the bigger picture.

Be patient. Don’t think results are immediate – although sometimes you will see quick improvements and you think you have found the magic formula. Accept the magmatic essence of this sport and life in general. Be nice with yourself and move on.

But never, ever, think you’re not good enough or that this process of improvement is not for you. Don’t think your bike split is not good enough and you don’t show up to a race.

Acceptance and patience are not synonyms of resignation. They are the ground were you build your resilience and your courage. And when things will get tough (because they will), you will be able to endure the moment. You will have the awareness that even when you’re not at 100% of your physically capacity (most of the times), you can still deliver your best. But you can only learn and execute that if you’ve learned to be patient. Day after day.