Bernard Lagat knows a lot about long-distance running. He is a four-time Olympian. He owns seven American records, ranging from the 1,500 to the 5,000 meters. In the 2012 London Olympics he finished fourth in the 5,000 meters.
Even in the midst of his rigorous training schedule, every fall Lagat does something completely foreign to most elite runners: he takes a five-week break. He tosses his running shoes in the closet and eats pretty much anything he wants. He also coaches his son's soccer team. Peter Thompson, a longtime track and field official and coach, claims that Lagat's approach is unique. Thompson said, "In the U.S., runners are very obsessive about not letting go of training." But Lagat stands by his need for sustained rest. Lagat said that every athlete is different, but his schedule has been very effective. "My runs are very hard," he said. "Everything I do is hard …. [But] the body is tired. You're not a machine. Rest is a good thing."
Indeed, rest is a good thing. It’s summertime and many of us are gearing up for vacations. Some will travel far and see great sights. Some will take a staycation. All of us need a break from the routine and real rest. God designed us to rest. The first full day of humanity’s existence was a day of rest. Rest helps the body and mind repair itself and enables us to work with renewed energy and focus. When we rest we can reconnect with God and rediscover what’s most important about life. This summer, if you take a vacation, I hope you’ll remember not to take a vacation from God and enjoy resting in his grace. Rest is a good thing.