Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you’re having great weekends.
Yesterday I went on an early morning run. It meant getting up when I still felt a bit tired. It meant using my legs when they were a bit achy. And it meant adding another thing on my to do list for the day. It made me question whether running really fits in to this slow living lifestyle I want to have.
I have been a jogger for almost 10 years. In that time there have been points where I’ve run purely to burn calories. Other times I’ve pushed myself too hard, trying to run too fast and too far without building my stamina. Other times my perfectionist side has told me that I have to do events or a certain distance because that’s what successful people do. Running puts stress on my body. It sometimes means I get up before my 8 hours of sleep is up. Was going for a run yesterday really the right thing to do?
As I was out running yesterday morning I realised wholeheartedly that it was absolutely the right thing to do. I am no longer in the mindset of running hard and fast. I get up early because I want to get out and have the paths to myself before others rise, I want to see the early sun streaming through the trees, and I want to feel that connection with nature and the urge to jump up and down with happiness that those 30 minutes of post-dawn give me. I pause on my runs to lie on my back and see the leaves above me dancing in the sun, or to watch a woodpecker busy at its work. If I’m tired I will walk, taking that time to listen to the birdsong and to tune in to how GOOD it feels to be ALIVE! It gives me time to myself, to focus on nothing but the simple movements of breathing in and out, of putting one step in front of the other (and occasionally dancing like a looney because, hey, that’s what endorphins do for you!). And if that’s not what being slow and mindful is about, then I don’t know what is.
Sometimes life is about balance. The same goes for slow living. There are elements of running that may go against aspects of slow living. But it is about being responsible with ourselves, focussing on the elements of the exercise we choose that fit with our values and embody slow living. And, looking at how I run right now, running may actually be the slowest thing I do.