Hi 3G readers!
Well this is my first gym post! In case you are wondering how this is connected to God, Guys and Girls, you can check out the short introductory blurb here.
I am not a professional runner. I am just a regular person who runs. I started running about 3 years ago. I had signed up for a 4K race at university and decided to begin training for it. Most of my training was done indoors, either on a treadmill or an indoor track. The benefits of this are:
- You can’t really cheat on a treadmill. You are running as fast as it says once you have a decent stride and are not holding on to the sides of the machine.
- You can stop whenever you want and not end up in the middle of nowhere with the only option to walk slowly and painfully back to your car or home.
- The shock of running on your knees is much less on an indoor track or treadmill than on hard roads.
- If you have allergies like me, you probably won’t be doubled over sneezing in the middle of your run as you deeply inhale pollen and car exhaust.
That being said, my first 4K was a road race and I had to take myself outside a few times to acclimatize myself. My first time outside was disastrous. I live in Canada now, but was born and lived most of my life in the Caribbean. Within 5 minutes of my run outside I got a migraine induced by brain freeze!!! Apparently running outdoors in western Canada in September was equivalent to eating a pint of ice cream in seconds!! It hurt. I could not go on. I walked back home disappointed, dispirited and despairing.
The second time I tried running outside, it was a really warm and sunny day. I decided to run when the sun was out to avoid my prior unpleasant experience. Great idea? Nope! Within 5 minutes I wilted! Can you believe, Angie, the island girl, couldn’t take a little sun? Another FAIL! I actually never ran outside again that year until the day of the race. Thank God the weather was pleasant. I ran most of the way and clocked about 29 minutes. It was not my best run but I was glad I finished the race.
The following year I signed up for the same race. I was armed with a year’s more worth of experience. My breathing was better, my pacing was better, and my times before exhaustion were improved. I ran outside a couple of times, sticking to the road rather than the pavement (the pitch is a bit softer for a gentler landing as you run) and I ran the actual route of the 4K to know exactly what to expect. Things were looking up from the previous year although I had to stop a couple of times to catch my breath. The day of the race was the first time I ran 4K without stopping. I was so happy! My time also improved and I had none of the prior awful experiences during the race.
Fast forward a year (2011 now) and I really got serious with my weight training.What I discovered was that the more leg exercises I did (squats, leg presses, lunges, dead lifts, etc.) the faster and longer I could run. I also invested in a really comfortable pair of running shoes. In fact, the best running shoes I have ever owned (I got them in a buy one get one free sale in Nike Toronto!!). The shoes at regular price are pretty expensive at about $125 CDN but I find that the garish colours are always on sale everywhere. Compared to my old shoes they were lighter, more flexible and more breathable. Their first test was a 5K my friend invited me to. It was a 5 x 5K relay in a park. The shady trail and dirt tracks were heaven sent. And surprisingly my allergies did not act up. That was a great race and I timed about 29 mins. Compared to my first 4K, that was amazing!
Since then I haven’t entered any races. This year I’ve been running 2 miles (3.2K) twice a week indoors. My fastest time has been 18:44! My goal is to run 4K in 20 mins by the end of the year. So how did this amateur, failure of a runner move from defeat to triumph?
The principles in the Bible about your faith walk are analogous to your run.
1 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. (1 Corinthians 3:1-2)
But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:14)
In other words, you won’t be able to run 30 mins or 5K on your first day. You won’t be ready! Start with baby steps, set incremental goals. For example, the first time I even touched a treadmill, I ran for only 3 minutes. Then I walked for 3 minutes to catch my breath. Then I ran for 3 minutes again. Just like your faith walk, to get to a stage of maturity in your running, you need constant practice and training. Your body will eventually learn to use fuel more efficiently, pump more blood to your muscles and withstand fatigue to result in longer and faster runs.
The Bible teaches us that the testing of our faith develops perseverance.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ( James 1:2-4)
Perseverance is so important in running. It’s always when the finish line is just around the corner that you feel like quitting. Test yourself with a longer or faster run every time you step on the track. Build up your perseverance so that you will grow and mature as a runner.
Use music or a running buddy.
I like to play upbeat music when I run as motivation. You can either synchronize your steps with the beat or challenge yourself to run until the song ends if you are just starting out. Music in the Bible has been shown to make one feel better. For e.g., when Saul was tormented by a harmful Spirit, David’s lyre playing soothed him.
Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him. (1 Samuel 16:23)
I also found running with a buddy helped. If they are fitter than you (and patient), they could provide encouragement; If they are at the same fitness level as you, you guys can provide mutual support to each other. You are also less likely to skip a running day when you are feeling lazy because you know your buddy is depending on you.
Faithfully pray for what you want.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (1 John 5:14)
“… and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” (Psalms 50:15)
Praying is two-fold when you run. Pray before you run. Ask the Lord to strengthen your body, calm your breathing and stay with you for the entire journey. Secondly, always thank Him after your run, whether or not you got to your goal.
Do your part.
Those who work their land will have abundant food,
but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty. (Proverbs 28:19)
You cannot harvest a good run, if you did not plant “good-run seed”. If your body is the ground, you must till the soil with weight training (especially leg exercises), fertilize it with good nutrition, and water it by staying hydrated. And finally it is very important that you….
Your body needs to recover after a run. Consider resting between runs as a Sabbath for your body. During this time your body will repair itself and adapt to the stress you just put it through. Rest is also very important to avoid injury and illness.
Hope this helps you guys on your fitness journeys. Don’t be afraid to suggest your running tips and any gear you particularly had success with.