5 Lessons from my 10K training
For nearly two months now, I’ve been training for a 10k race this summer and it’s been an interesting experience. It’s funny and amazing to me how God has used the process to remind me of some important life lessons. I love that He uses pretty much every aspect of my life, even the seemingly mundane things to teach me something about myself or Him. So without further rambling, here goes.
- Half the battle is in your mind: I honestly believe that half the recipe for a successful long distance run is mental strength. I’ve realised very quickly that my legs will only run for as long as I tell them to. No matter how tired they are, if I make up my mind that I’m going to keep going, my legs will follow suit. I’ve spoken to a number of people who say variations of “long-distance running is not for me, I just can’t go that far “. In many instances, I disagree with this. The mind is a very powerful tool and it sets the course for our actions. If you focus on how tired your legs are and how you can’t go any further, then you’ve already made up your mind to stop right there, and chances are your legs will do just that. Colossians 3:2 Set your mind on things above, not earthly things. The Bible tells us numerous times to set our minds on heavenly things, to renew our minds etc because this has a substantial effect on how we live our lives and our outlook on the situations we face.
- Don’t make decisions based on feelings: I tend to run in the mornings. I’ll be honest and say that most days when I wake up, the LAST thing I want to do is put on my trainers and pound the pavement. Since I started training, there’s been roughly about three or four times when I’ve actually ‘felt’ like going for a run. If I made the decision to run based on feelings, I may as well pack up my trainers because I’d just never go. Do not make decisions based solely on feelings. Feelings change and are highly subjective. The decisions we make are usually more permanent and have greater consequences. Sometimes I don’t ‘feel’ like reading my Bible or going to church. But that’s not a
good enoughreason to not do either. Despite these feelings, I’ve never regretted doing either, so I know that I need to push past my feelings and just do it, then my feelings will follow suit in response.
- Accountability is key: Usually, I’m able to push past my feelings and get up for that run, but sometimes my feelings have their way. In those instances, I have accountability to force me to make up a missed training day. I have three people who know that I’m supposed to run on certain days of the week and when I don’t go, they ALWAYS ask about it. “Have you gone for a run today?” “Are you going to go tomorrow?” Although a bit annoying at first, I’m glad I have these people I’m accountable to because they keep me on track. Jeremiah 17:9 says that the human heart is deceitful above all things. When we do things we’re NOT supposed to do, we’ll often try to avoid people who will call us out because being confronted forces us to acknowledge our sin. So we run away from accountability but we NEED it! (James 5:16, Hebrews 10:24-25) Sometimes you may not even realise that you’ve done something wrong. But if you have people who frequently check up on you and ask the hard questions, these things will come to light and you become a better person and Christian as a result. Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens his friend’s countenance.
- Always have the end goal in mind: I know how long I have until my race, I’ve also set myself a goal that I’d like to achieve on the day. These two things have helped me tremendously through my training. Because I have these two end goals in mind, I know what I need to do to achieve them. Another thing that keeps me motivated is the thought of reaching the finish line, having achieved my goal. So no matter how hard it gets – and trust me, I’ve had some rough training sessions – I know that I will keep going until I reach that goal. Philippians 3:14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus is calling us. As Christians, we too are in a much longer race, a race of faith. Our final destination is heaven and we are encouraged to keep running until we reach that prize. Sometimes life can be tough, we face unexpected circumstances and hard seasons that cause us to question our faith and even contemplate giving up altogether. But God has promised to strengthen us through those hard times. I absolutely love the encouragement of Hebrews 12: 1-3, that we are surrounded by a great crowd of predecessors who have endured, finished their races and are now spurring us on to keep going. More importantly, we have Christ, the author and finisher of our faith as an example and our source of supernatural strength to overcome this world. By His grace, we will all finish well like Paul (2 Timothy 4:7).
- The journey is more important than the destination: Even though I’m encouraged and motivated by race day. That’s all it is; one day. My months of training will lead up to an hour or two of optimum performance and then it will all be over. But as I mentioned earlier, God is teaching me so many valuable lessons for beyond my training. I’ve learnt to persevere and really encourage myself like never before. I have no doubt that life will throw more curve balls my way in the months and years ahead. I know I’m more prepared for them. Sometimes we focus so much on the end goal that we miss what God is doing through the journey of life. It is through those frustrating and hard seasons that God moulds our character, strengthens our faith and prunes us to look more like Christ. It’s worth stopping every now and then to take note of what God is doing. Don’t be in such a hurry to get to your destination that you miss the beauty of your process and what God wants to do in and through you.
Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.