Sunday, August 25, 2013

Appreciating the Long Run

Every marathoner has a love/hate relationship with the long run.  The long run is essential to your marathon training but can be the most dreaded workout of the week.  The long run can build your confidence or break your spirit. 

With school starting, I had to shift my long run to Mondays.  Since Glenn and I are both training for the NYC marathon in November, it is too much on the family schedule for both of us to do the long run on the weekend.  I am still at home with the boys so I have a lot more flexibility in my schedule.  So every Monday after dropping the boys off at school, I will be heading out for my long run.

Last week I went for a 14 mile run.  Here are a few key components to long run training:
  • First, your goal is to run each mile about 60-90 seconds slower than marathon pace.  The thought is that you are building your body to be able to withstand hours of running without pushing it too hard. 
  • Second, this is a great time to work on your nutrition for the marathon.  During a long run, your body burns lots of calories.  Replenishing your body with calories is essential to healthy training & successful race.  You can do this through water, gel/gummies and energy drinks. 
  • Lastly, the long run trains your brain to continue pushing even when you want to quit. 
Marathon running is both a physical and mental work-out. 

As I was running my 14 miles, I began to think about how the trials and struggles that we face in life are similar to the marathon "long" run.  Everyone of us faces trials whether small or large- our lives are not easy, breezy strolls through a beautiful serene meadow.  Most of the time it is a slow grinding pace that leaves us feeling like we want to quit and give up our race.  But that is when we need to remember the goal of the long run. 
  • First, stay slow and steady-  most of life is not a 100 yard dash.  When things are weighing you down and life is tripping you up, keep a slow but steady pace.  Just keep moving forward. 
  • Second, work on your life nutrition.  Hydrate and nourish your spirit in the Word of God daily.  His truth will give you the extra energy boost you need to make it through a day.  Keep coming back daily though- each day has its own set of troubles and challenges.  Come to God daily for your manna. 
  • Lastly, use God's Word to train your brain to keep pushing even when it's hard and you want to throw it the towel.  Turn your worry into worship by recalling scripture or singing a praise song or recalling God's goodness.  Don't be overcome with your circumstances- let God overcome your circumstances with His presence.  Life is hard but we can be "more than conquerors" through God's presence and power in our lives. 

So here's to you, Long Run...  thank you for
  • showing me that I can be strong even when it's hard,
  • reminding me that it is important to keep looking forward (I will trip & fall if I run backwards),
  • and teaching me that "I can do ALL things through Christ that gives me strength". (Ph. 4:13)

  • What your favorite thing about training for a marathon?
  • What is your favorite mantra that keeps you going even when you want to quit?