Right now, I’m on a fairly long stretch of days off from my day job (Hallelujah!). Nine days in total to do as I please (it’s Day 3). That means: 1) focusing on my running and hitting (or hopefully exceeding) my weekly goal of 50 kilometres; 2) making significant progress on my writing projects (I’m working on two books at the same time); and 3) taking time to recharge. But I’ve never been good at really slowing down or the art of rest.
Change of Perspective
A few weeks ago, I walked into Herc’s Nutrition and this was how the owner greeted me, “Marcus, there’s a book you need to read.” The book? Primal Endurance by Mark Sisson and Brad Kearns. The authors challenge the traditional chronic cardio training approach to endurance running: regimented schedules, built-in rest periods, high carb diet, use of gels to sustain performance, et. al. Instead, they champion the primal endurance approach, which is about “recalibrating your approach to endurance training and competition to escape the disastrous sugar-burning trap and reprogram your genes so that you can become a ‘fat-burning beast.’” 1
The authors’ take on the traditional approach to endurance training can be pretty harsh, and I’m not advocating one approach over the other. In my own training, I’m using a combination of the two that work for me and my lifestyle. But one of the main elements of the primal endurance approach that I’m trying to implement in my life is this: slow down.
Earlier this week, I completed my first workout (run) where I didn’t exceed my maximum aerobic heart rate (I’ll let you Google that if you want to know exactly what that is). Running at my designated aerobic number, I should be able to talk easily and breathe only through my nose. To do that, I had to dramatically slow my pace, averaging about seven minutes per kilometre. It was hard because I was constantly fighting the urge to speed up (and after 4k I sped up to my normal pace for the remainder of my 10k run).
Why the Rush?
Whether with running or life, there’s this tendency to rush through everything, as if rushing will help me reach my destination faster. But going all out all the time eventually leaves me depleted — physically, mentally, and spiritually. While I like to think I’m focused and on track, I’m not taking time to enjoy the journey.
When we slow down, we are able to be present in each moment, to truly be. Better still, slowing down reveals where we are, who we are, and what we can become.
We should take Eddie Cantor’s counsel to heart: “Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast — you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.”
Are you rushing through life? Are you good at taking breaks or slowing down? Click Reply to let me know. I love hearing form you!