When I first started running my mom gave me the best advice. She’d been training for a marathon and her coach said that if she couldn’t carry a conversation, she was running too fast. Something about that line really resonated with me, probably because in all my past efforts to get fit I’d quit after a few times around the track. I didn’t like how my lungs burned and everything about the whole process was miserable.
I know exercise isn’t supposed to be a cake walk… BUT … it’s certainly easier to form habits when you don’t set yourself up for failure. My mom basically gave me permission to slow down and set myself up for success. Slow and steady wins the race, right?
Now that I’ve been running for almost ten years, I know something else about pace: how fast I run is dependent on my current season in life. In the early running years I kept to a 10+ minute mile. When I started running consistently my pace began naturally quickening, and at one point it was in the 8 minute mile range. These days, as I’m pushing a stroller, it’s back to a 9-10 minute mile. Would I like to be faster than I am right now? OF COURSE. Is it realistic? Not really.
My mom’s running advice applies to other areas of my life too. Lately I’ve chosen to say NO to a lot of fun invitations…like a writing conference in Chicago and a parenting seminar on Wednesday nights and yoga classes at 6:00am and even play-dates that always seems to fall right in the middle of Owen’s morning nap. We are at home a LOT, and my productivity feels at an all time low. It’d be easy to get bitter about our slow pace, and sometimes, admittedly, I do. But I’m also realizing that my capacity to do all the things I normally do just isn’t what it used to be. Feeding and dressing and changing two children zaps my energy. On the weeks when I run too fast, my conversations and attitude become snippy and bitter.
There is a time for speed training, but it’s not right now. I’m a better mom when I run a little slower. We’re taking in the view and picking up leaves and stopping often for water breaks. We’re chatting about the wandering cats and waving at the neighbors’ pink lawn flamingos and maybe even swinging by Starbucks for a mid-morning pick-me-up. Basically we’re doing whatever it takes to stay sane and enjoy each other.
Here are some questions for you today:
Does your marriage seem hard right now? Is your relationship with God feeling strained or foreign? Are you unhappy when you wake up in the morning? Is it possible you’re running just too fast? And if so, what’s something you can/should cut out in order to keep your sanity?