The word endurance has been on my mind quite a bit lately. I have never been one who is satisfied with staying at the same level with anything in life, and that includes running. I’m always thinking of ways to keep learning, growing, and expanding my horizons so that I can be as useful and as versatile as possible, regardless of what the task is. To be honest, the journey to expand is not always so pleasant. The average person doesn’t like doing homework or taking notes in class . . . much less taking a class PERIOD! If we want to keep improving ourselves in any area of life, let’s face it . . . we are going to have to work for it.
I’m still keeping up with 5K training, but I’m now only doing it twice a week. I’ve also added 10K training to my running schedule once a week. I’ve gone back to using my Zen Labs app when I do 10K training, and I’m now on week 14. I love the way the app works, because it builds endurance by gradually increasing the running time each week. Today, I walked for 5 minutes, and then I ran for 30 minutes before taking a 1-minute walking break, and then I ran again. By following the 10K running plan, I completed a 5K in less than 44 minutes . . . one of my best outside running times so far!
This whole journey has taught me so much about life in general. Do I always want to run? No! Hey . . . there are some days when I don’t even feel like leaving my house, but do you know what? There’s this thing called a treadmill located in my garage that I get to use on rainy days, so I have no reason why I can’t go for a run. I’ve also learned the hard way that if I don’t put in the work to keep my body in shape that I will pay for it later in life. Lack of exercise and eating everything in sight was part of what got me to 225 pounds a few years ago.
Building endurance is hard work. You endure a lot of sweat, tired and sore muscles, all kinds of weather issues, and a plethora of other things. There have been so many times when I didn’t think I could go for one more second, but I forced myself to push beyond the temptation. When the run was over, every inch of my body was dripping with perspiration. However, each drop of perspiration had a cleansing affect on me. I was able to thank God for allowing me to enjoy His magnificent creation while getting physically fit. I was able to thank Him for giving me the ability to run . . . even with severe clubbed feet! It builds my confidence every time I look at my running time on MapMyRun. It is a constant reminder to me that God can and WILL do amazing things in and through me. I just have to be willing to submit to the journey He chooses for me. I also have to understand that not everything God chooses for my life will be easy, but everything He has chosen will make me into the kind of woman He wants me to be.
Endurance is a large part of the Christian life as well. Before I go for my runs, I don’t like the idea of what I have to go through during those runs, but I do it because I know what it feels like to me when the run is over. It has a freeing affect that is a positive source for me. I also know the long-term advantages it has on my health. There are many things that happen in our Christian lives that we would never choose for ourselves, but God has chosen them for us because He already knows what the end result is . . . each circumstance makes us more like Christ, and He gets all of the glory!
Webster’s New World Dictionary defines endurance in this way: “The act, quality, or power of withstanding hardship or stress”. In II Timothy, the Apostle Paul advises Timothy in various areas of ministry. II Timothy 2:3 says, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” In the subsequent verses, Paul proceeds to list the areas with which Timothy may struggle. There’s no denying that our journey here on earth is difficult. We all face trials of many sorts . . . loss of jobs, loss of loved ones, terminal illnesses . . . but as long as we have breath in our bodies, we cannot give up no matter what! The end result for the Christian is in II Timothy 4:7&8:
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them that love his appearing.”
Endurance is one of the hardest ingredients in running, but just when I don’t think I can go one more step, God gives me the strength to go all the way to the end of my training. Endurance is also one of the hardest parts of life, but it is necessary to become more like Christ. As difficult as the process is, it’s such an amazing and humbling feeling when we reach the end of our trial, and we look back to see all that God did, and continues to do, in and through us . . . every single day.
Until next time . . . let’s keep on running!!