So I have signed up to run a 15K race in about three weeks. I have never run that far before. My running career up to this point has been 3-5 miles.
There was something about this race that challenged me. Actually it doesn’t take much to challenge me. One day a friend of mine said Hey, you should run the Fresh 15 with me. That’s all it took. Challenge accepted!
Being more of a short distance runner I had no idea how to train for long mileage except to just run longer. So I tried that. Just running longer. At the same speed. And guess what happened….I couldn’t do it. I thought there is no way I can run 9 miles. I’m gonna die!
I did a little 15k training research online. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I had been pushing myself too hard. (My husband laughed when I told him this!) The only training methodology I had was go as far as you can as fast as you can. And for short distances, maybe that’s OK. But for running over 9 miles…I was right…I couldn’t do it.
As I researched further I learned the trick. The trick is to slow down. To not run every day at 90-100%. Run at 60-70% and train your body in that middle endurance heart rate zone. It’s totally counter-intuitive to me but I see it working! Who knew the key to speeding up was slowing down?
Well life feels about like that right now. For 20 years Adam and I have operated on go as fast as you can as far as you can each day. That’s what’s been required. But now, especially after our Independence Day, it’s like God has slowed down the intensity level and is developing something different. Developing the middle ground endurance zone.
And just like how running at half speed is hard for me, doing life at what I consider half speed is hard for me. It feels like I’m not doing enough. I’m used to pushing myself to failure, as Caleb calls it. He’s a heavy weight lifter, and failure is that rep that you can’t get up. He says it’s not healthy to hit that point at every workout.
I hate to admit it, but that’s what I naturally do. I push myself – both in running and in life – to failure, or the breaking point, regularly. Somehow I’ve trained myself to go and go until I hit that point and that’s how I know I’ve given 100%, because there’s nothing left. Honestly, there’s a satisfaction in knowing I gave 100%.
And now, the Lord is asking me to be OK with giving what I think is 60-70% and saying this is OK. You can’t live all of life in heart-rate zone 5. That’s for sprinting. Short distances. It’s not sustainable over a marathon. WHICH IS LIFE!
The Lord’s asking me to find joy and satisfaction with the less exciting things of life. The things I perceive as less effort but in reality are just less crisis and stress.
And I’m struggling why?
Because I’m crazy and what I call a closet adrenaline junkie. I’ve caught myself thinking up ways to create a crisis just so I can attack it and feel the adrenaline again. But then I asked the Lord to take those thoughts away! Haha.
I know not everyone shares this struggle, and I have put off sharing this post for weeks because I didn’t think it would be relevant for others to read. But the Lord keeps bringing this struggle back to mind and using it teach me, so I have to share.
This is one reason I love running. The Lord has used it so many times to teach me and speak to me. It’s not just the physical training that matters, it’s the inner heart training. What is that in your life? What are little life examples that God uses to speak to you?