Track & Field: 6 Lessons From Long Distance Training

Coming off the trails for a lap around the field at The Thanksgiving Marathon

Yesterday, I ran in the first ever Servefest 5K.  It was a great event and a wonderful workout for my legs and lungs.  I’ve been running quite a bit these days, and the 5K was a great test to see how effective my training as been.  As I was out for my morning run this morning, I was thinking about the parallels between long distance training and life.  A couple of weeks ago, I posted some tips for those who are thinking about running a longer race for the first time.

As I was processing this post, I was thinking about things that inspire me in my running and in my life. For example, I’m inspired when I hear stories of people overcoming adversity to reach new heights. I think that’s why I like movies like Radio, Remember the Titans, and The Blind Side.

I’m also inspired by scripture. The scripture below is a great reminder to persevere and to keep the right focus.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  Hebrews 12:1-3

It is so easy to give up and to lose perspective when we face the challenges of life. As with my tips a couple of weeks ago, here are six tips that I have found helpful in keeping my eyes on the prize.

  1. Follow a plan. God’s Word should be the center of the plan. I have tried different methods for staying in God’s Word on my own, but I have found that existing plans are most helpful in keeping me on track. Two plans or programs that I have used recently to help me are and The Daily Audio Bible.
  2. Find some accountability. Get plugged into a small group or even a one-on-one relationship where you can be challenged with the tough questions like: ‘Have you spend time in God’s Word this week?’ and ‘Have you lived with integrity since we last met?’
  3. Cross train and rest. There are some great resources out there to get the most out of your walk. I use several Bible-based blogs and books to give me a deeper perspective. Getting to church on a weekly basis is also important. This is a chance to be fed and to worship on a larger, corporate level. Also, take time to rest. We live very busy lives. We must take time to reflect and to rest.
  4. Practice. Practice. Practice. Get out and live your life. Make a concerted effort to go about your daily activities in a way that would honor God.
  5. Set goals but learn to be flexible with God’s direction. I’m a huge goal oriented person. Setting goals is a great way to keep focused. But we also need to be alert to the movement of the Spirit.
  6. Have fun and a positive attitude. God doesn’t promise that this life will be easy, but we have a choice to make. We can have a poor attitude when it comes to life’s ups and downs, or we can choose to have a positive attitude.

It’s amazing how these things line up with the tips from my earlier post.

So what inspires you in running and in life? What other tips would you add to the list above?