Monday, May 02, 2005

Random Thoughts on Training.......................... by Dr. Mat & Track: #1

Every race is not a P.R. Day,
yet everyday is key to having PR Days.
Consistency is the key!

Every runner, on race day hopes to have a “PR Day.” PR stands for “personal record.” This means that you run the race faster than you have run it before, or at least for the present season. If a runner’s training is well planned, their times should progressively get faster and faster as the season continues. However, there are several factors that play into this happening or not. We will discuss some of these factors over the next couple of days and their application to spiritual formation

Though it has been stated that achieving a PR is a goal, there is much more that goes into a race than merely the finish-line. In fact, it is that “much more” that determines what happens at the finish-line and how fast one reaches it. Moreover, it is the practices and training times that precede the race that will ultimately determine what one is even capable of doing on Race Day.

Consistency is the key. In consistency, muscle memory is developed. When I was in college, during practice, I didn’t even need a watch to tell how long I had been running. With great accuracy, I could tell you how long I had been running, how far I had run, and at what pace (mph) I had been averaging. Several teammates and I used to make a game of this during practice. We would periodically ask, “how long have we been running?” and before another would look at their stopwatch, I would give an answer. Someone would then check their stopwatch and see the actual time. During the heat of training, I could usually get within 60 seconds of the actual time. How? Your body begins to develop what sports psychologist call “muscle memory.” My muscles could simply “feel” the pace we were running. I had timed myself at various paces so many times that my muscles learned what various paces felt like. (For example: 5:00 minute mile pace, 5:20 minute mile pace, 5:40 minute mile pace, etc.)

There is another side to the “muscle memory,” that also has direct applicability to our spirituality. Muscles begin to deteriorate within 72 hours of not being worked out. In other words, if one goes three days without working out, they will feel the digression when they hit the trails on that third day. This is why it is often advised to at least go for a 20:00 light run, even on the day after a big race. This is just enough to keep your muscles at strength, while allowing for them to rest and recuperate from the race.

After 72 hours, if one gets out of their training rhythm, training begins to be everything but enjoyable. It is always challenging once you get out of sync with your training rhythm. It’s hard, your mind fights going, your body resists, you’d rather stay in bed!

It is the same with spiritual practices such as prayer and the Word. Have you ever noticed, the more consistently you read, the more relevant, desirous, and applicable Scripture seems to your life? And, the less you read, and the more sporadic you read, the less and less Scripture seems to be relevant, desirous, and applicable to your life, as well as your current circumstances. It is the same with prayer. The more one prays, the more they become conditioned to hear the voice of God, His direction, and see His involvement in even the minuscule moments of the daily. There grows an expectancy and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s moving and involvement. However, when we get out of sync and don’t pray, prayer seems less and less significant, we are less expectant, less sensitive, and we begin to develop a greater dependence upon our selves and our own strength.

The daily is supremely significant to continual growth and spiritual formation. It is the daily that adequately prepares us for the day. Consistency is the key?
"Run in such a way that you may obtain it."
(1 Corinthians 9:24)


Jenni said...

I've recently been so amazed at how personal the Lord is. In this training mode we're in no one else can do the work. It is up to the individual to make the training happen. Others can encourage and give us cheers and advice but it is only the one running that can actually build up strength. I love that Lord is gracious enough to discipline us. In training there's a large amount of discipline not only with time and energy but without the vision of the goal of the kingdom of heaven there's no end to the race. Endurance is key in all of this especially when your training needs more weight and push. PUSH- pray until something happens. Leaning on God without feeling Him is difficult but if you train and gain the knowledge of him the vision of the end of the race is clear. Praise God for training and not just putting us into battle without preparation.

dailyjoy said...

When I use to train for 5k's and triathlons I would push myself hard but not as hard as my friend. He is a weight lifter and lifts weights until his leg muscles give out from exhaustion. He pushes himself beyond what his body wants to handle. By doing so he breaks down the muscles so that they can rebuild themselves stronger.

Yesterday while listening to the sermon I realized that my training as a Christian was reflective of my physical training. I trained every day but just hard enough to complete the event. By finishing the race I received a sense of accomplishment. I was satisfied and proud of myself. The finish was worth the effort. But would I say the same if I had winning as my goal? Would coming in first in the Sunburst be worth all the hard work and sacrifices I would have to make?

God wants us to train for the prize. He wants us to train hard enough our soul is broken down. As our soul breaks down and we push ourselves past our comfort zone the same thing happens as it does in weight lifting. New muscle is built. The new muscle is not soulish muscle but spirit muscle.

I don't want to just train enough each day to have a comfortable, satisfying relationship with God. I want to train with intention, with knowledge that if I don't train hard enough to break down my soul each day I will not build the spirit muscles I need to win the prize.

I will never win the sunburst. The goal is not worth the effort and sacrifice to me. But I pray that I do win the race God has set before me because I know the prize is worth any cost.

ck Jobe said...

Training our eyes to see.... See what? For me it is the nature around me. Somehow the colors and scents draw me into what I think must be the heart of God. With so much business around sometimes the sunset or leaves blowing in the breeze seem to get unoticed and I think that a message from God is unoticed as well. I think that Adam must have really had a sense of who God was and what he felt like, and what he smelled like, and maybe what he looked like when he was in that perfect garden.
Even though most of us live in the city surrounded by buildings and much distraction, I think we need to take time to look at the original creations of God around us that could be reflecting the very things we are searching so hard to find from God.