Why you have to slow down

9:58 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments


Without health it is hard to live life well.

That's why one of my focuses this year was to learn to run well. I've run for years but I've never really had goals, followed a programme, joined a club or worked at it.

This year as part of learning to run well I set myself a goal of completing a half marathon. I finished my first one after 4 months of training at the end of April. Since then I've completed another one and managed to clock sub-30 5k and sub-60 10k. I know for many runners these aren't big things but for me they've been major milestones on my "run well" journey.

Running has taught me about so much more than just how to complete a half marathon. The lessons I've learnt putting one foot in front of the other have spilt over into the rest of my life.

When I started my running program it featured a number of slow runs. These runs were so slow that I could walk them and still finish the distance at the suggested pace.

This concept was completely new to me. Before this every time I ran I tried to run as fast as I could that day.

In the past, running well meant running fast. 

Now I have fast days when my breath struggles to keep up with my legs and easy days when I jog along and have to keep slowing myself down.

On these easy runs I get quite a lot of time to think. The other day the bible verse Hebrews 12:1 came to mind:
So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us.
Let us run well the race set out for us.

Whenever I've read this verse in the past I associated it with winning. Surely, the only way to run well is to win? But what if the writer meant that to run well is to finish even if it means crossing the finish line at a snails pace?

What my easy runs have been teaching me is that in order to run with perseverance there are times when I have to take it easy and times when I have to push till all I can do is walk in the house and collapse. 

I find it easier to push myself than to show restraint.

But without restraint injuries happen. The race is delayed, aborted. 

I'm trying to embrace this in more than just running. I recently wrote about how I couldn't blog anymore because I was burnt out in life. In retrospect I can see that I'd been running hard every day instead of showing restraint some days. 

One way I'm learning to do this is to give myself more easy days, permission to lie in bed late, read books, watch movies and eat popcorn. At work I'm scheduling in more time to learn instead of just pushing, pushing, pushing. 

In an old blog post by Ann Voskamp she writes, 
Life isn’t an emergency. It’s a gift.
Life’s so extraordinary it warrants going slow, held in reverential awe.
Only the slow see their lives. Which makes it seem longer and richer.

Restraint is not the norm. It seems easier to show how good I am at something then to hold back something in reserve.

I'm learning that if really want to live well (and not only run well) I need to slow down sometimes so I can run the race set out for me by God.


I’m learning that it’s not about doing more, running faster but about enjoying the run, appreciating the beauty around me and finishing well.

What areas of your life could applying restraint help you live better?

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Why you have to slow down by @wendyvaneyck {Tweet This!}

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