Hurry up and wait

EDITOR’S NOTE: Original June 2011; updated Feb 2013, Dec 2017

We’ve been on this BEEPing journey together for a while now, and you can tell there’s a man in front because it’s taken so long before we get to “P”!

We started with Balance, but then we staggered around a bit before getting to Efficiency. We had learned how we wanted to BE, but still needed to add Effort to get results. So now, like the busy BEE, we stay on the move, buzzing here and there, and we get — what, exactly?

This is the hardest part, because like the bee we have to spend a lot of time in the fields before we can make honey. Sure, it’s natural and we have only to “just do it,” but we’ve been buzzing and buzzing; can’t we just get to the good stuff already? Give us a break!

So here’s where we get to P: Patience! That’s right, now that we’ve spent weeks working on getting faster, our next lesson is to remember that we’re in this for the long haul. As much as we want to go fast and we keep talking about how to improve speed, this is really about endurance. Progress is slow, sometimes barely noticeable. Steady? Well, if you think in terms of a calendar instead of a day planner, then it’s steady. If you zoom in close, it’s a bit of a roller coaster.

It takes time to increase your mileage; it takes time to build muscle and speed; it takes time to overcome injuries. You’ll have days when everything works, the weather is fantastic, and you’ll run like the wind. You’ll also have days when you can’t seem to tie your shoelaces right. Take the long view: Your worst days running now are faster and easier than good days before, and it will be easier still next month. You may be tired and stiff tomorrow, but give yourself permission to rest and recover. Get ready for the day after that or maybe even the next week.

To run is to learn about limitations and overcoming them. You learn how your body works; you find (build?) your character. This is a long conversation with yourself. We can give advice in sound bites that capture the highlights, but you need to be an attentive listener to get the full value — and joy — out of the experience.

Your training plan should be months long, and you should measure achievement accordingly. You can overcome injuries and bad days if you will accept them as part of the journey. Recovery and correction take time, too — don’t rush them.

The great basketball coach, John Wooden, taught his players: “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” Great athletes know how this works; the game seems slower to them. Quarterback Joe Montana had a way of stretching out a play until he could do something great; Michael Jordan had a knack for dominating the big moments. Wait for the moment; strike like a rattlesnake. Efficient, not rushed.

Douglas Adams has it right in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”: “Don’t panic.”

If you think about it, there are a lot of P’s in this pod: To make Progress, you need to Plan, Prepare, Practice, all of which require Patience. Like so many of these notions, the counterbalance seems Paradoxical: It takes a slowed Perspective and a certain reserve to move you from a busy BEE to a free-spirited roadrunner.


Roadrunners roll with it; coyotes crash.