Running Tip: Take It Easy (Well This is a Life Tip Too)

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Some post-hike relaxation with the running club…at my first running camp.

As I mentioned on my post about track the other day (Lessons from Last Night’s Track Workout), I missed the start on one of my splits because I was talking to another runner.

This runner is new to the sport. And good for her, being at track already! I had been running for a few years before I discovered track workouts. Anyway, while grabbing my water bottle I asked her how she was doing. She said fine, but she then asked me if I thought she’d ever run fast. I responded, “sure, keep working at it.”

I also told her that while I’m slow in comparison to the younger, faster runners at track, I’ve become a pretty decent runner within my age group. She will too.

She asked, “how long will it take?” Well, I don’t have an answer there. I told her to be patient. To be consistent. And finally, to run slow and easy most days. She was a bit perplexed, telling me that maybe she’s trying too hard every day. I said, “take it easy,” even though that sounds counter intuitive. Then I looked at my watch and said, “oh no, I have to go!” I’ll talk with her more next week.

I’ve learned, the hard way, that I need to take it easy. Like many improving runners I like to see that I’m getting faster. Some days then, I pushed a bit harder, telling myself that I was running easy, when in fact I wasn’t. Once I learned to take my easy days easy, I noticed improvement on those hard days. The ratio target is 80% easy/20% hard.

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Enjoying a bit of beach time with friends.

Good for Life

As I think about it more, I’m realizing that this might be a metaphor for life. We seem to have developed this culture that prefers working hard. While there is nothing wrong with hard work, it is unhealthy if it is all we do.

This idea of hard work sometimes manifests itself into the need to always be busy (as a pastor I understand this one well). Think about this, when is the last time you responded to the question, “what have you been doing?” with “ahh just taking it easy, with a bit of hard work thrown in.” The temptation is to respond with, “I’ve been so busy with this and this and this and…” Actually the temptation is to live every day being busy with this and this and this and…

We get so busy that we don’t always have time for family, for friends, for entertainment, for life, for relaxation.

And when we are this busy, there’s a probability that we aren’t even doing a good job at all the work we are doing. Why? Because we’re too tired. I personally know when I’ve been doing too much because I get cranky…and when I sit down to read (important in my work) I start dozing off after a few paragraphs.

My lesson from running is to run hard and to run easy…all at the proper time. The same goes for work and living life. Prioritize those important times for working hard, but remember that to be effective you need those easier efforts as well. You also need rest. And that reminds me…

The Sabbath is a biblical concept that comes out of the creation story. God rested on the 7th day. Traditionally the Sabbath is set aside for worship and family and rest. We as a culture don’t do this so much anymore, but that doesn’t mean its less important, solely for the fact that we need this time away from being busy. At least 1/7th of our time if we’re the model of the Sabbath. It is good for our souls.

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