Going Slow

Authored by Jon-Kyle

Meandering thoughts on the rhythmic overlap between attention and running. For the fun of it.

CycleMarks is the third iteration of a simple format. A tool for adding links you want to remember. When visiting them, they’re hidden, until a duration you’ve defined has passed, and it re-appears. It updates once a day.

This encourages a different type of relation to media than that experienced most often. Less like a raging torrent, more like a babbling stream.

You could call it slower. But speed is a relative thing.

Over the past few years I’ve started running. To the point where now many friends think of me as a runner. Funny, as I couldn’t stand running earlier in life.

When thinking of running, an image of speed comes to mind. Of moving quickly. But surprisingly, a lot of time running spent as a runner is slow. This time and repetition spent going slow creates a strong foundation of fitness.

Over time this aerobic base enables running while exerting less energy. It makes running enjoyable. At slower paces, you no longer notice that you’re running. However, you must maintain it. Something that requires more slow running.

Depending on motivation, one might train for certain types of runs. Think of the sprint, or a marathon. I find motivation in running as more of a practice.

Running to run.

The most enjoyable running, for me, is the slow stuff. Striking a balance of energy efficiency. Not about speed, but quality of movement. The equation is something like maximizing distance covered while moving at a pace sustainable over long durations.

It’s slow compared to fast, but enables covering expansive distance over time. Faster than going slow, and faster than going… fast.

Goldilocks cadence.

This perspective overlaps in many ways with how I’ve been thinking about attention. However, I find it difficult to talk about attention in a similar way to running.

I love the phrase “quality of movement.” It’s my goal with running. It encompasses a lot. To move well requires having a clear mind—of enjoyment. It is not about speed, or going fast, but going well.

Transposed to attention, maybe it’s something like “quality of time.” Less about productivity, or speed, but about time well inhabited. An ambient efficiency.

Running has a large vocabulary for high fidelity descriptions of sometimes complex topics. There are means of measuring fitness, like heart rate monitors. And there are protocols and known methods of improving running fitness.

CycleMarks is meant to be a tool for attention in a similar way, with the mode of interaction being going slow to go fast. Encouraging a goldilocks tempo to create an “attention base,” similar to an aerobic base.