We have all heard this cliché I’m sure. I have also heard religious twist on this from my local bishop Metropolitan Alexious who said during a church banquet “Move while the Spirit is at work with you”. I try and approach my prayer life and church attendance with this cautionary note. I don’t plan missed church services for example because I know that unplanned obstacles present themselves often enough. The church calendar provides necessary benchmarks and a map for this journey called life.
Likewise my running/training follows similar patterns. Every aspect of life should reflect one’s faith and being an Orthodox Christian should necessitate this life style or orthopraxis. I have a fluid training schedule generally speaking. When training for a marathon there are benchmarks that are kept to prevent inadequate preparation. But most weeks and months I have loose guidelines for training. I don’t worry much about speed runs, long runs or tempo runs. Splits don’t dominate the run. Speed work happens on days I don’t have a lot of time to run or when I don’t want to run more than three or four miles. I run longer runs when I feel like going it easy or need more time to reflect or focus. There is that natural ebb and flow in the workout.
Here’s the first of two rules: run when I can. If I am able then my training is to run daily. I know that stuff happens for example last week I was quite ill for four days no run. Then yesterday I was stung by a hornet and my hand is the size of a balloon it doesn’t seem like I will be able to run today. So planned rest days are not part of my training because they are inevitable. This week with the low mileage would be like the week you taper slightly to build up and rest. What should not be tolerated is an inclination toward laziness: “I don’t feel like running or I feel like going to church”.
When I ‘document my training’, (rule two) it enables me to objectively note and track my training. I can then set mileage or time goals and monitor the well known necessary training components. It gives me perspective. Why run? Why train? Because it is the most concrete way that I can practice what I reach. It suits me well I am physically fit and mentally strong. I am not a person who is ailing.
Most importantly ,it is the most efficient way for me put into practice Biblical principles because let’s be honest it is not easy to run consistently for years. It’s not like pulling teeth but it takes effort, time, commitment, perseverance, dedication, diligence and stamina. One note on stamina it’s not really the physical type that newbies or non runners may think of it’s the type that keeps you running when you want to stop. Our running the race for the crown of glory demands these qualities if we are to finish. It provides practice for the very qualities which prepare us for the war we are waging.