Well it’s a rest day and I just made coffee on a Sunday afternoon so I could feel like a real blogger – (I don’t normally make coffee in the afternoons). I’ve been doing quite a bit of solo thinking recently (20 miles on Saturday morning will allow for that) and I decided I would share a few things from this round of training for a full marathon.
Marathon training, and running in general, can be boring at times. I love it when people ask that question. Yes, of course it can be! Three hours on a Saturday morning running around my little town of middle class houses, hospitals, and street construction can be boring. And if it is not boring it is definitely routine. It is at times mundane. But it is not the kind of boring or mundane that leads to nothing. It eventually leads to something. It leads to growth.
There is growth from the mundane. The routine, the sameness, the over and over again… it eventually culminates. Not like a symphony culminates in a grandeur sound of perfectly matched pitches but in the way that practicing a dinner dish finally gets to the point where it is predictable. Not the same, mind you, each time might taste just a little different, but it’s always good.
Training is that way for a lot of us. It doesn’t lead to Olympic medals or World Championships (although the occasional personal best might feel that way). But one day you wake up to do the same three miles you’ve been doing for the past 2 months and it doesn’t take you as long. Or that pace you set out to hit for 400 meter repeats is suddenly a pace that doesn’t feel as hard. Or my personal favorite, that long run is “only” 6 miles, or 12 miles, or 18 miles. ONLY, that’s my favorite word to hear from the runners I coach. And its all due to the “over and over again” of practice, of routine, of your mind getting better at telling the voices to quite down and put your stinking shoes on to get out the door. We forget to look back and realize that those actions, in and of themselves used to be really hard.
I think the same is true in my non-running life. My husband and I have been married a little over a year and there is now a sense of security about knowing his routine and him knowing mine. Who makes the coffee in the morning and who gets the dog food ready before we leave for work. Its small things but its routine that makes the once hectic mornings easy and enjoyable and although we work at the same place that doesn’t stop the necessary routine kiss before we leave the front porch. Xoxo
I think it was on my first 20 mile run (yes, there were two of them this training cycle) that I started thinking about my relationship with the Lord over the past years. There have been moments of great vision and epiphany yes, but for the most part it’s a lot of doing the same things consistently. Its opening the Bible consistently (I would say every day but that would not be telling you the truth) and realizing that it does and has changed me. Perhaps I feel more convicted of sin, have more patience, or feel more loved. And the more consistent I am to spend time with Him, the easier it is to spend time with Him. Without even realizing it the simplicity of practice, of mundane at times (lets be honest), the sameness, not the out of the ordinary…has grown me. Being in routine with Him, like my relationship with my husband, makes our relationship secure and confident. And the faith and obedience He asks of me that once seemed impossible now feels as easy as that “only 10 mile long run”. Will there be seasons of set backs and momentous occasions? Of course there will be. But those moments will fall between the 98% of time spent in the process and I’m learning to embrace it as much as I have learned to embrace my three hours of solitude during my 20-mile long runs.
What things have you learned from long runs? I’d love to hear!