“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” This quote from the iconic Ferris Bueller drives home the importance of going slow. There are plenty of life lessons contained in the episode and we start with a discussion of balance.
Life is a constant balancing act between getting things done and enjoying what we are doing. We need to keep up at work, drive to the kid’s practice and doctor’s appointments, make dinner, fold the laundry, exercise and the list continues. We also need to find happiness in what we are doing and not just satisfaction that we checked another box on the to-do list.
I was reminded of another quote by Alan Watts about making money.
“If you say that money is the most important thing, you’ll spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like in order to go on living, that is, in order to go on doing things you don’t like doing.” Check out the link for an inspiring 3 minute video. Watch here
Once we moved past the big picture, we take some time in the episode to cover the topics of running and eating.
In the world of running, there are a couple of times going slow is very important. Recovery days and long runs. Going slow enough on a recovery day is vital to making the adaptation from the previous hard workout. By pushing the pace on a recovery run, you will be less prepared to go hard enough on the next hard workout. Reducing recovery seems valiant, and may reap short term rewards, but it will be the start of a gradual descent into exhaustion and eventual injury.
Going slow on a long run has specific physical benefits. Your body will produce more mitochondria (allowing for greater energy production) and more capillary density (allowing for more oxygen to reach your muscles.) You will also train and improve your body’s slow burning energy systems, which in term allows them to function while running at faster speeds. All of these processes make running easy even easier while also improving your ability to run faster with less fatigue.
The final note about running slow is for newer runners. There are a couple of routes to take when “go easy enough to carry on a conversation” means walking. You can simple go for a lengthy walk, or a run/walk combination. For someone looking to be active daily, a regular walk is a very positive step. Another path is to push into medium range on your easy days and take an extra off day during the week. Consider running 4 days out of the week with a long slow run, short speedy run once or twice, and a medium paced day. As a newer runner, your body will make the best adaptations to improve your fitness. It is tough to say a specific pace will automatically lead to a specific adaptation.
The episode takes a turn and moves onto food and eating slow. The message is multifaceted, but the theme is slow down and enjoy your food. This all begins with preparing your own quality food, rather than rushing to eat whatever you can find.
Digestion actually begins during the food prep stage as your mouth waters and your gastric juices start to flow. Your eyes see food and your nose smells it, so you body prepares itself to eat. Once you are eating, pay attention to what you are eating and enjoy each bite by chewing thoroughly. You will find you enjoy the food more, and as a bi-product you will also end up less gassy and bloated.
If you take the time to savor what you are eating, you are more likely to stop when you are full, because your brain has time to process. Even better in my opinion, you are more likely to eat more delicious and higher quality food. When you are mindlessly snacking or eating in a hurry while doing something else, you will not pay as much attention to what you are actually eating.
When it comes time to serve yourself, start with less than you think you will eat. This lesson works for snacks as well: serve yourself a small amount knowing you can come back for more. Once you finish your plate, stop and enjoy the company around you. If you are still hungry after a few minutes, have another serving. Mindfully eating will help you be able to hear your body cues when it is time to stop.
Slowing down and enjoying life is important to happiness. In this episode we also cover why slowing down on your run and while eating is important to health. When you undertake a task you should do it to improve or for pure enjoyment. Running slowly and eating slowly will improve your physical abilities, but will also allow us to savor each step and bite along the way to greater well-being.
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