Sometimes all you need to do is stop…

Sunday mornings I like to do my LSD runs. *pause* For those who aren’t familiar with running terms, LSD is an abbreviation for “Long, Slow Distance,” which refers to the practice of running longer distances at an “easy” pace.

KK and I headed out to do his 11km route. The weather was perfect. Cool enough but also sunny. <side-tracked: Johannesburg on a Sunday morning is absolutely beautiful!>

After the first kilometre, I was cruising. The time on my running watch reflected that I was running under 8 minutes per kilometre. My heart leapt! As I neared the next kilometre, I was managing 7:06 minutes per kilometre. I was speeding and it felt so good! By the 3rd kilometre, I was amazed that I was able to maintain the speed. Oh boy! I was like a demon!

But it didn’t last long…

As I got to the 4km mark, my speed dropped as my legs felt as if they were filled with lead. I was thirsty, my heart felt as if it was ready to explode out of my chest.  My energy reserve had been used up. I made the decision to stop. 

It suddenly occurred to me that I was supposed to be doing a slow, easy pace, not speed work and that I had lost track of what the run was supposed to be about.

I stopped to catch my breath and rest under the shade of a tree. As I stood there, my mind wandered off as to what my week at work looked like and what I needed to prepare for. One project in particular came to mind…

I am part of a team that has been tasked to organise the department’s year end function. Last week, an urgent meeting had to be called due to some miscommunication. In all our enthusiasm and excitement, we somehow lost focus of what our brief was and had gone off on a tangent trying to incorporate a stunning charity event as part of the day. We needed to stop and re-group our efforts as unfortunately, we were headed for failure. We needed to re-focus our efforts on what really mattered – the function. It was critical to stop while we were still able to.

I guess in life, we are easily side-tracked and lose focus, lose direction and stray from the original plan and then when things don’t turn out the way we intended, we can’t understand why. Yet there’s absolutely nothing wrong with stopping to check that you’re on track and if it means turning around and starting again, that’s also okay.

That’s what happened with my run this morning. My LSD turned into speed work and unless I had stopped to re-focus and to catch my breath, I was headed for injury and not reaching my planned distance.

I’m glad I stopped. I’m glad I cooled down and started again with a gentle, easy jog and was able to do 11kms. I did get sunburnt. But that’s because it took me longer to run the distance because my body was tired.

I learnt my lesson…


4 thoughts on “Sometimes all you need to do is stop…

  1. I was enlightened today 🙂

    I’ve been pushing myself to run faster, I guess it’s a built in thing that I like to better my time.
    My running speed has improved from 8km /h to 10.5km/h – but I have found lately that I am running out of steam and not achieving the distances I used to do.

    Today I started running at 10km/h and at the 7.5km mark I was finished, I cut down and walked for a couple of minutes.
    I then restarted and only ran at my reliable old 9km/h pace – what a difference!

    I guess I had forgotten why I run… I was so pre-occupied with running faster I forgot that the reason I ran was for the feeling of running.
    I completed 13.5km today (I ran out of time), which I am proud because today I found my mojo, my reason for running.
    I immediatly thought of your post, and felt I had to share my experience.

    keep walking….


  2. wow…what an inspiring read. Just forwarded this to my entire staff.

    Your so spot on.

    We waste so much energy on the wrong things sometimes, when just stepping back and taking in the whole picture, will provide renewed fervor and focus..

    As always, love your work.


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