“Slow down!” For some reason whenever I make this suggestion to a client they look at me puzzled. Mainly because a large percentage of them hire me in hopes to become a faster more efficient runner.
Why would a running coach have a runner slow down? Well, when studying the mechanics of distance running, one can run with the right form but still injure them self if they run too fast or add on too much too quick. Many of the injuries incurred from these actions are called overuse injuries, and there are all kinds of injuries one can incur.
Potential Overuse Injuries For Runners
- Hairline fractures
- plantar fasciitis(I had this before)
- muscle tears
- ITB friction
- Achilles tendonitis
- and many more
So what happens when we slow down and find our groove? What happens to the body when we run at the pace and intensity in which our body can handle? We perform. And not only do we perform, we perform with excellence. Granted there are still pains and aches, but they are aches and pains of growth. In sports growing pains are good for the body and should be expected. In many cases it’s a sign that a muscle that’s not used to being worked out is building strength. In some other cases it’s a warning that something isn’t right or something is weak. From a spiritual aspect, growing pains are not often talked about but they are good and should be expected as well. But overuse injuries in both cases can cause injuries that were never intended to incur.
I took some time this summer to slow down. In my day-to-day existence I discovered at the beginning of 2015 I was trying to fit too much in too fast. The basics became blurred with all this extra gook. I was trying to figure out how my schedule became so busy! For some of you that I actually interact with you are aware I am a teacher, a running coach, a lead cohort member in an 20-month long urban ministry initiative, and recently transitioned to a new church. And in the midst of those things navigating the rigmarole of fostering, sustaining, and managing relationships with friends, family, and colleagues was getting very exhausting. Hats off to all of my friends who tackle these things while having children and raising a husband. Oops! I meant having a husband and raising children. Hahahaha! Anywho, I consulted the Lord and pushed the pause button.
In an effort to pause, recharge, and reconnect to the things that matter to me I guarded my time with vigilance and kept my schedule clear for two weeks. Thankfully as a teacher, I get the summers off! Yaaaaaaay! I hopped in my car and for fourteen days traveled up and down Interstate 45 and Interstate 10 and visited beloved family and friends (some I hadn’t seen since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina separated us). And this is what happened…
Had I not slowed down, listened to the Holy Spirit , and pressed the pause button, I probably would have experienced the equivalent of an “emotional” overuse injury. In my slowing down I got back to the basics of my purpose for living: to live a life that demonstrates I love Christ, make disciples, and serve (Matthew 28: 18-20). To be with someone and spend time with someone is two totally different things. This trip afforded me the opportunity to do a lot of the latter. Opportunities to bless and be blessed seemed to just come out of nowhere. Blessings are not always laced in words that you want to hear and things that you want to do. There were no motives when I met people. There was no need to impress. I didn’t care if they could give me anything in return. I wasn’t ashamed to be vulnerable, and surprisingly people were not ashamed to be vulnerable with me. There were many times I just listened, and it felt good. There were no moment by moment accounts via my social media timelines. In actuality being off the grid for awhile was just what I needed. It’s amazing how restructuring the matters of my life for only two weeks helped me reconnect with what really matters. Yes, teaching my students makes me feel great. Coaching my athletes makes me feel awesome. Being a part of community initiatives that have the potential to reshape urban communities around the nation leaves me awestruck at times. But if I ever find myself focused more on the logistics and magnitude of these matters instead of focused more on using these matters as opportunities to love, be loved, and live Christianly, I’m certain an overuse injury is right around the corner.
Have you ever slowed down? Pressed the pause button? Asked God to help you get back to the basics or discover what the basics of your life are? Granted you may not have the time or the resources to just check out for two weeks. Or you may be in a position to take an entire month! I’m pretty sure there are some practical things you can do to pause, recharge, and reconnect to the things that matter. Be blessed and it’s my prayer that through Christ you get back to the basics or discover them for the first time. Because if you don’t, eventually the fast running of life will cause an overuse injury.
In running and in life, run on.
P.S. That’s not a dead chicken in my picture collage. It’s a bunny! Ha!