I can’t emphasize enough the importance of training when it comes to running. My very first race was a 12k, and unfortunately, I wasn’t too prepared for it. To be honest, I had just started running a few weeks prior to the race. I made it through, but it was incredibly painful. I was sore for days, and I’m pretty sure I pulled a muscle (or two). Needless to say, I will never try to do that again!
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Not only do we need to be prepared, but knowing how to train can affect your outcome as well.
For one thing, it is important to start slowly. If you jump right into hardcore training, you’ll most likely end up injured. You will also burn out and grow tired of running if it becomes too difficult to keep up with your goals.
In our walk with God, training is essential. Our “training” is the time and effort we put into studying and learning about Him and His Word. Not only do we need to be prepared to “preach the word of God” as Paul stated in 2 Timothy, but we also need to be able to defend ourselves against attacks from the enemy. When tempted by Satan in the desert, Jesus used Scripture as His defense. We are called to follow His example, but how can we do that effectively if we don’t know His Word?
Knowing God’s Word helps us to remain faithful and to not be deceived by false messages. The Bible is very clear that deception is one of the enemy’s most used plays against believers. We can use Scripture to test all that we see and hear, and we can trust it as our source of truth. (2 Timothy 3:15-17)
So how do we train as believers?
- We spend time in God’s Word, and we learn all that we can. Going to church once a week and hearing a 30-40 minute sermon isn’t enough. That’s like trying to run a marathon, yet only going for a 2-3 mile jog once a week. We need to be better prepared than that. We need to be prepared to go the distance and to face the hills and challenges that come our way. And we need to run with endurance as we speed towards the finish line, the return of our King.
- Just like training for an upcoming race, start slow and set attainable goals. If you aren’t much of a reader, setting a goal to read 5-6 chapters a day of the Bible may be like trying to run 5-6 miles a day when you are just starting out. When I first started running after having my second daughter, I started with one of those “couch-5k” programs and did it twice as slowly as they recommended. I wanted to make sure I didn’t push myself so hard that I set myself up for failure. Going slowly allowed me the time to develop a love for running. Instead of dreading my early morning runs, I actually look forward to them. It has been challenging, yes, but it has never been so difficult that I wanted to quit.
I can say from experience that reading God’s Word is addictive. The more you learn about Him, the more you will want to know. Set reading goals that you know you can achieve, and set aside specific times of the day to spend time with Him so that your goals don’t get lost in the business of life.
When things get tough, remember one thing: we run for an eternal prize, one that will never fade away.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.