Pace Setting

By Karen Isbell

The first track felt good. I was keeping up with the spin instructor and keeping pace with the beat of the song. I pedaled into the second track optimistic that I would finish my first spin class without seeing my lunch. Then I met track three, full of races and hills and my lunch threatened numerous times to make an appearance. By the time we sped into track four I was thankful they turn the lights off so no one could see the pain I was in. Everytime she said to turn up the tension I turned it down. I was exhausted. I pushed through and finished the class but my tension was bordering on zero by the time we reached the final track.

My poor performance perplexed me. I ride a stationary bike at home and was confident that I would easily be able to keep up in a spin class. I couldn’t quite figure out where I had gone wrong.

I hadn’t paced myself.

I had started with my tension level at my max instead of building up. I couldn’t sustain my pace or tension. Like the hare, I sprinted into the lead but quickly exhausted myself and fell behind.

Trying to get ahead when your behind is an uphill climb. It requires focus, endurance and strength to push through to the finish line. Constantly pedaling uphill is not sustainable. You need time to coast downhill, but when you are behind you have to pedal the downhill and flat stretches at the same pace as the uphill.  The tortoise didn’t have speed to his advantage but he did have a steady pace.

I recently found myself pedaling from behind trying desperately to catch up. I had gotten busy and I got behind. As soon as I topped one hill the next one was in view, its ascent awaiting me after a short downhill glide. The downhill respite was barely enough for me to catch my breath let alone rest. I finally crashed, fatigued from trying to catch up from behind.

As the feeling came back to my legs and my brain got enough oxygen to think clearly, I began to realize, while there will be slow seasons, my new normal is busy.

I could stay behind and stay overwhelmed


I could get ahead.

I steadied my pace and took one hill at a time. The goal was no longer to get caught up but to get ahead. The difference? The pace.

A sustainable pace is vital to finishing and finishing well. A sustainable pace is healthier for me and my family.

An unsustainable pace causes exhaustion which knocks me out of the race to recover, losing even more time.

It will take more time to get ahead by maintaining a sustainable pace, but the results are worth it. Once you get ahead you stay ahead. Being ahead allows you to have margin.

Are you moving at a sustainable pace?

Ways I’m working to get ahead:

– Menu planning for the month

– By having my grocery list for the whole month, I can shop ahead and buy things when they are on sale

– 3 weeks ahead on the blog

– 1 month ahead on bottles for Ellie (and very soon baby food!)




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