I’ve heard it said that the best part of running is when it’s over. There is some truth to that! For the past few months I’ve been training for the Paddy Pint, a 10K race scheduled for March 14. Because of COVID-19 the race was postponed. I decided to run it anyway, at home on my treadmill. I’m not going to lie, the best feeling was when I reached 6 miles and could hit the stop button. It felt so good to rest. Why is that? What’s interesting, is it’s not the rate of speed I ran or the distance I ran that determined my fitness. According to Tony Schwartz and the work he’s done on The Energy Project, the true definition of fitness is how quickly your body recovers. His work has shown that it’s better if we do intervals of sprints and rest instead of one long run where you’re never really going all out, you just give enough to make it the to the end.
This idea of rest and renew applies to both life and work. Intervals of sprints and rest increased my speed and distance in running and sprints and rest have improved my energy and capacity at work. Sprints at work are those things that you do that require high energy and engagement and in return, you experience high productivity and high positive emotions. This is your high performance zone. This is where you thrive. But nobody can stay in high performance zone all the time. We have to know when and with what tasks we can still engage but dial down our energy to renew and refresh. That might look like actually taking your full lunch break and walking away from your workspace. It might look like a mid morning and mid afternoon walk around the building to unplug from technology.
Think about your day. What are your sprints? Where can you rest and renew? Make sure you are taking time for both. As I learned in running, you can’t really benefit from a renewal time if you haven’t given 100% and gone all out. And you won’t develop and progress giving just enough to go the distance. Those peak experiences in work, those things that cause us to thrive and flourish feel amazing! The sprint is always worth it and the renewal offers time for insight and self reflection. Go and find that for yourself!