In This Issue  
Home    |    About Us    |    Meet Debbie    |    Meet Friends    |    Prayer    |    Contact Us
Share Print this page Print Email to a friendEmail

< Back to Dreams & Goals

Try, Train and Triumph!

My Friend Debbie Lessons from a Successful Amateur Runner: Couch to 8K

     Running a race is a goal that not only can prepare you for running but can also share some interesting and valuable insights for our spiritual lives. I recently ran an 8K and learned several lessons I will share with you here.

     My mom and sister drove in to Virginia Beach from Cincinnati to cheer me on. The 8K was successful, and I met my three goals of finishing the 8K, running the entire way and having fun.

     Let me provide some background. In the fall, a friend was regularly running two-plus miles as part of her weekly exercise program. Since she had this distance down pat, I encouraged her to train for the Shamrock 8K, which is held in Virginia Beach in March. I had run it in the Spring of 2007 and really enjoyed it and thought she would too. Her response was, "I will if you do." OK. I could do that. This particular run had a training schedule on the Web. I pulled the schedule down and started using it. However, very shortly after I began training, I hurt my foot so I stopped running. I did not run or do any training from late fall up to the New Year.

     When January arrived, I pulled the schedule back down. I was determined to follow it, do what it said and run the race. As I looked over the full 11-week schedule, I was immediately surprised that the two days before the run day - the big day - the day I was working for - were listed as rest days. I decided even in January, I wasn't going to rest. I was going to run at least one of those days before the race so that I would be fully prepared. My mind couldn't conceive that resting the two days prior to the run would help me accomplish my goals in any way.

     The two rest days prior to the run day was only one oddity in my initial schedule review. A few other oddities were that two days each week were listed as cross-training days, one day a week was listed as a rest day, each week there was one run that was a maximum and another that took me back down to a lower level. The written instructions clearly told me to run as much as I could without exhausting myself, and at no point in the 11 weeks did the schedule indicate I was to run 8K until the day of the race.

     These were anomalies I couldn't mentally reconcile as I set out to prepare for the race. However, each of these has provided a key in understanding spiritual truths in my walk of faith and in leadership over this training period. I am very glad I decided to follow the training schedule provided. As I look back, it was designed to help me build endurance and speed without damaging me, the amateur runner. No, I didn't run either of the two days prior to the race. I rested as the schedule indicated. Here are eight of those lessons and truths.

Lesson 1: Listen to the experts.

     I have to admit that making the decision to follow the schedule provided by the experts was one of the best decisions I made. While I didn't understand the schedule, I had confidence that the ones who posted it somehow knew what they were doing and what would work best for me and the countless others preparing for this recreational event.

Lesson 2: Start small.

     On Jan. 6, my personal official training start date, the schedule called for me to MOVE for 15 minutes. The instructions were for me to walk/run for 15 minutes in whatever combination I could, without exhausting myself. So that day, all I remember was that I couldn't even run for two minutes straight. Nonetheless, I followed the instructions and used some walk/run combination and MOVED for 15 minutes. The message and point here is start small, do what you can and keep moving. There was no mention of speed and no mention of distance at this time.

Lesson 3: Don't exhaust yourself.

     "Don't exhaust yourself - ever." What? Don't push myself as far as I can? Who ever heard of that when pressing into something new? Don't you want to push to see where the limits are? Isn't that the way to do it?" But there it was in black and white, "Don't exhaust yourself, ever." Through the training methods, my body created new time and distance limits without me ever once in 11 weeks of training work to the point of exhaustion.

My Friend Debbie Lesson 4: Cross train twice a week.

Two times a week the schedule called for me to do something other than run. How could doing something other than running help me run better? I didn't understand it, but again I tried to follow it. OK, I really didn't start the cross-train part until about seven weeks into the training when a friend and challenger told me that she was getting faster and was convinced it was a result of her cross-training. That got my attention, so I started cross training too. It worked! Doing something other than running two days a week was strengthening me as a runner. Now let me talk this out. We really do get into ruts. We think that doing the same thing over and over without a change makes us better, even best at that thing. What if leaders took two days a week to do something other than what they are normally doing? Would it strengthen them as leaders? I'm convinced the cross training will work!

Lesson 5: Rest.

Each week one day was listed as a rest day. No running, no cross training, just rest. I've been an advocate, even lobbyist, for a weekly day of rest most of my life in Christ, so I was glad to see this. Having a day of rest built into an official sports training program tells me there really is a health benefit to this, and that somehow, resting strengthens and assists my physical endurance levels.

Lesson 6: We need the peaks and valleys.

     A closer look at the schedule showed an overall incremental increase, but it also demonstrated a peak and valley each week. No two weeks were the same, and each had a maximum day and a minimum day. There were several occasions when I could have run longer than the schedule indicated, but I didn't. While part of me wanted to keep going, part of me said to myself, "The schedule only has this much - it must be for a reason - I better stop." Somehow the ebb and flow, the up and down, the peaks and valleys strengthened and prepared me. I was amazed at how quickly my nearing-50, out-of-shape, and overweight body responded to the training. Physical endurance and breathing increased far more quickly than I would have guessed.

Lesson 7: Throwing off what hinders us makes us better runners.

     I had to change my lifestyle and make a way to actually do the training on the schedule. By the end of the training, I was running more than an hour straight. I had to plan for this, make some sacrifices and be willing to get rid of the hindrances. This included changing eating habits, saying "no" to some activities and not indulging in others.

Lesson 8: Don't stop, persevere.

     As I talked to others who had done it, who had run 8K or 10K races, following training programs in which they hadn't run the full distance until the actual race, I asked, "How do you do it when you haven't ever done it before?" The answer was the same, "Just keep running - don't stop." I laughed. It sounded silly, but it was true: don't stop, keep running and persevere.

     There is no question that there are more lessons. These are the ones that have been burning in my heart. More than 7,000 runners finished the Shamrock 8K on March 21, 2009. I was one of them. I know my life will be different because I tried, trained and triumphed.

1 Cor. 9:24-25 (NIV) "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever."

Heb. 12:1 (NIV) "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."

Copyright © 2008-2015 Diane Wiater, Ph.D.

Reader Comments...
2009-07-21 10:45:32
"Great article, great accomplishment, and a wonderful lesson. You never cease to amaze me. "
        - Channing
2009-05-28 12:38:18
"You go girl! I am so proud of you. That is a HUGE accomplishment. Loved how the physical lessons are in direct correlation with spiritual lessons God teaches us. "
        - Brenda

Post Your Comment...

First Name
Last Name
e-mail   (We will not re-distribute your e-mail.)

Share on Facebook Share
Print this page Print This Page
Email to a friendEmail Article to a Friend

< Back to Dreams & Goals

More Great Articles

My Friend Debbie - Turn Old Man Winter Into A Breath of Fresh AirHome & Hospitality

Turn Old Man Winter Into A Breath of Fresh Air
My Friend Debbie - Chicken and Rice CasseroleKitchen Keeper Recipes

Chicken and Rice Casserole
My Friend Debbie - Corolla, NC with GirlfriendsTravel

Corolla, NC with Girlfriends