Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Training For A Marathon: Training For A Life

Running a long distance race has been something I've often thought about doing, but I always thought my first race longer than a 10K would have been the Parkersburg Half-Marathon. I guess I've never really been one to do something half way. ;)

Last October, Jamie and I joined 20 other runners from around the country to run the 38th Annual Marine Corps Marathon in an effort to raise funds and awareness for Nuru. And we are doing it again this year. It was a pretty incredible experience running through our nation's capital with over 30,000 runners from around the world. And it was an added bonus to have the support of the men and women of the United States Marine Corps as we journeyed along the 26.2 mile course.

This year, as we start training, we look forward to being joined in DC for the race by my best friend in the whole world, Willie, and possibly my sister, Becky. Willie has never run a marathon, but my sister has (and she flew!). A year ago I had never run a marathon, and neither had Jamie. I highly recommend giving it a try for anyone who has ever thought about it. In fact, it would be great to have you join us in running for Nuru in the future.

We found a training plan from a runner named Jeff Galloway. His plan boasted that it had helped thousands of runners train without injury. And the plan was available for free online! Back in the year 2000, I had started getting semi-serious about running, and I picked up a copy of a book by Jeff Galloway called Galloway's Book On Running. It's a great one if you are looking for a book to guide you in getting started running. Back in 2000, it was one of about five total books I could find on the subject at the bookstore. Now there are tons.

What I love about training for a marathon, is that it equips you not only with the discipline you need for running a long-distance endurance race, but also for the discipline you need to accomplish any major goal. You see, most people can't just go out their door and run a marathon tomorrow. They've gotta train for it; they must plan for it. When I started training, I had not run with any regularity in years, and the last time I had run, it was for about 2-3 miles and it was probably 6 months prior to signing up for the race.

Training last year started toward the end of March, and culminated at the end of October. Slowly and steadily Jamie and I added miles. We had to plan for even the 30-45 minute runs we did twice weekly. But the long runs required much more planning. I knew that if I wanted to have any chance at finishing a marathon, I had to be disciplined about getting out to run the longer runs. I had to block out hours of time for the longer runs. And I knew after those runs I would be really tired. So six months, three times each week, I needed to block out time to get ready, run, and rest. I needed to buy something to keep my energy levels up as I ran, so I bought Clif Shot Bloks.  It took planning, it took preparation, and it took discipline. And we all need that if we want to accomplish any larger goals in this life. Most people don't just sit down and read the Bible, they read a little bit at a time and get to their goal. Most people don't wake up and start playing the guitar. They practice, and little by little they build the skills to be able to play a song or two. It takes time. It takes discipline. It takes desire.

And that's why most people don't run marathons. Most people don't play an instrument. Most folks have never read the Bible. Most folks in the states have never planted a garden (not true for our global neighbors though).

So this year we planning to run another marathon. And that's another thing. Just because you have done it once, doesn't mean it is automatic. But, going through the process this time, we know we can do it--because we have done it. It isn't as daunting, but it takes just as much effort.

What is your big goal? It may not be to run a marathon, but whatever it is, you are going to need to map out a plan for it. Get to it. You are burning daylight. Every day you wait is that much longer before you complete your goal. You will be glad you started, and likely the world will be better because you took the time and applied the discipline to see yourself to the finish line. And, after you finish, the next goal will still take hard work, but it will be a little bit easier because you know what it takes to finish!

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