How much of our lives are spent running?
While running and hard sprints get all the glory, success is often found elsewhere.
On May 1st, I entered a four-month, 635-mile virtual run. I started strong in May, but that start gave way to the summer heat and busy work life. Entering the final month, I had 220 miles remaining, nearly 70 miles behind the necessary pace.
That’s more than just a long run in the afternoon. Or ten. And, I was running out of time.
20 days later, I have 90 miles remaining, only 30 miles behind the pace. While my running slowly gets stronger, I walked my way back into the race. Running is sexy. But it requires a significant amount of energy. How long can you go every day? How many days can you go before you break?
Walking is the tireless workhorse driving progress every day. It serves as a recovery mechanism making me stronger for the next surge.
Which brings me back to the initial question. How much of our lives are spent running? In short order, running results in diminishing returns that quickly turn negative and could require multiple days of recovery.
We often treat our work and lives in the same way. We take pride in the hard efforts while leaving ourselves extended and exhausted. We need to provide ourselves more opportunities to walk.
I remember running the Star Wars Half Marathon at Disney. I was coping with the heat, a race the day before, and an injury that would eventually require surgery. I had to alternate running and walking to maintain my forward progress. I’m a fast walker but I was still surprised when I started walking by people “running” beside me. As my body recovered, I resumed a strong run while they continued to slow.
To achieve our goals in life, we need to find that same balance and consistency. One comment that has always stuck with me was learning to tie knots and being told “slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” If we can move smoothly, even at a slower pace, we’re going to make faster progress than sprinting, burning ourselves out, recharging, and repeating. For the long haul, bet on the tortoise.
What are some areas of your life where you’re always sprinting? How can you incorporate a daily walk to smooth your progress?
For me, those practices include designing my days, writing daily, and conducting a weekly review. By utilizing my second brain I’m able to save my best ideas and notes each day to start the next project with an abundant supply of resources. Projects are no longer the costly lifts and taxing sprints of my more youthful self.
After falling into a 220-mile hole in the final month to finish my race, I’m catching up. Walking mile after mile, it’s the consistent steps that enable the sexy runs and long-term success.