When I go on hikes, there’s this odd thing that happens. On the way in everything moves slowly. Everything is brand new. The trail twists and turns and every turn brings a new view and a new terrain to traverse.
This is some of the fun of hiking: you get to see new places. But it also is where some of the challenge comes into play. I know roughly how long the hike may be, but I don’t know how far I’ve come or how far I have to go. When it’s late in the day, your pack is weighing on you, you’re hungry, and almost out of water— the joy of the journey is often replaced by an anxious impatience to arrive. I just want to sit down, take my pack off, catch my breath, take off my boots and relax.
But then on the way back down the trail everything seems to move much more quickly. I remember aspects of the terrain. I recall that we crossed a bridge at about half way. I know that the steep section is only so long and that soon we’ll be past it.
The same experience happens on long runs or bike rides.
Once you’ve walked the path before, you have a frame of reference for where you are and what comes next.