“People like to say life is a marathon, not a sprint,
but it’s actually more like a track workout.
We run hard and then rest hard.
We charge a hill and then chug some Gatorade.
We do some stairs, then some 200s, and then a few 400s.
In between, we rest.”
I learned something interesting while doing research on unhurried living… elite athletes practice a rhythm called “periodization” — which means they give as much priority to rest and recovery as they do to practice and competition.
I decided to apply this rhythm and give priority to my rest and refreshment this week. I left my normal surroundings for a few days and traveled to a place where I could enjoy God’s creation; I spent memory-building time with special people and took more time to read than normal.
This is not easy for me to do. I often feel guilty for taking time off. There is a age-old condemnation inside of me that says “work is good, rest is bad” (more about that later).
Thankfully, I have enjoyed running over the last few years, so I understand the idea of rest being important – even essential – to athletes. I could not run every single day or I would injure myself or burn out. I needed to care for my diet, my sleep, and my emotional state in order to run regularly.
I also understand the need for variety in the pace and activities of my workout. I alternated distances on different days and mixed in stretching, cycling, walking, and strength-building exercises as part of my well-being routine. That rhythm kept me healthy and helped me look forward to running.
This week, I am stronger, more energized, and more motivated because of the time I took to rest and recover.
Periodization is essential for athletes. It is essential for unhurried living also.
Think about your next week as a workout. How can you adjust your schedule to ensure you “run the stairs”, get refreshment, and also rest?
Had to make it a personal challenge, didn’t you? Think of my week as a workout? As unfair as it feels to need to consider that, it is remarkable how that shapes my thinking about what is necessary and what isn’t. Thanks, Ter. Again, you’ve managed to hit the nail on the head–my head.
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