Louise Minchin on why slowing down is sometimes a wise choice

Louise Minchin

Louise Minchin - Credit: Archant

Triathlons, getting up at dawn to present BBC Breakfast, the Chester-based presenter is not renowned for taking things slowly...

I laughed when I opened a Christmas present from my mother to find she had given me a book called Slow. I laughed, because if you’ve been reading this column in Cheshire Life or watch BBC Breakfast, you will most likely know that ‘slow’ is not the pace I normally live my life. Competing in triathlons is my hobby, and that doesn’t usually involve going slowly, nor does the training, and the juggling to fit it in around work and family.

But, having returned from an epic triathlon in Patagonia, I’ve realised that slow for me, might be the new fast. After a 3.8 km swim, followed by a 180 km up-hill bike ride, I faced a marathon on what I thought was going to be a mostly flat, off-road path by a lake. When I set off, I was doing an acceptable (slow-ish) pace, but after a couple of miles when I hit the first hill things went wrong: it wasn’t a hill, it was a mountain, and the only way I could climb it, was to walk. I had to slow right down.

For 24 miles, the steep inclines, and descents were relentless, and the only way to tackle this was to go at snail’s pace. Because physically I couldn’t rush, I began to look up at the spectacular jagged peaks surrounding me, stare at the ancient rock formations, marvel at the brightness of the azure lakes and let the sounds of the wind in the trees and birds singing wash over me. It was a sensory overload which cheered my soul. I would not have experienced it in the same way, had I not been slow.

That race in Chile has changed my attitude; I know I don’t need to speed through the outdoors to enjoy it. Maybe my mother has a point, it might be good to occasionally take my foot off the accelerator.

That change in me has coincided with one of my daughters taking up walking and we have been having a wonderful time together on the Clwydian Hills or the Sandstone Trail, accompanied by two dogs, on slow outdoor adventures. I am so excited about it, that I am going to get a friend to come and meet us to give us a lesson in Nordic walking, but I am not sure that will fit with my new motto, slow is the new fast.

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