Slow down to speed up
I’m training for a half marathon at the moment. Something I’ve had as a goal for several years. What I tend to find is that I develop my fitness to a point where running gets easier (and more enjoyable!) and then I have an injury or some life event happens that sets my training back and so I start the task of improving my fitness all over again.
One thing I’ve learned about myself is my tendency to throw myself into things. I can be either all in or all out. How this manifests is I’ll throw myself into learning new skills, gaining experience, and pushing myself forwards to my goal. I’ll decide that if things aren’t quite going to plan then I must try harder, do more, and figure it out. If I’m really honest this pushing is about getting past discomfort. The discomfort with the clunky newness or the conscious incompetence. With running this can look like doing more runs, setting myself the task of going further or faster each week.
I decided recently to look up a training plan. It’s a 20 week plan to reach the 13 miles and helpfully it’s doing so with just three runs a week. On close inspection one thing jumped out at me. There are weeks when the training plan has you running less miles than the week before. In discussion with other runners it’s recognised that the body needs time to grow, improve and repair and that rest is as important as training. In essence, slowing down to speed up!
When we consider that same principle to life it strikes me that growth isn’t linear. The journey through life is more of a meandering stream. One that has faster parts and slower parts, wide sections and narrow sections, in straight lines and in wiggly ones, places where it’s loud and obvious, and areas where it might be hidden or even go underground! In the same way that some weeks my running mileage will be less than previous weeks, it’s not helpful to consider external observable results the measure of progress.
Does this resonate with you? What thoughts and feelings is it bringing up? Let me know what you think!