As a runner, it is important to never give up on the hills. Stay steady, maintain your form, and you will reach the top. The same is true in life.
Hill training can be very intimidating for the novice runner. Because I spend most of my time running indoors on a treadmill, I sometimes forget about hill training altogether. Training is essential, however, when it comes to tackling hills. Whether going uphill or downhill, both present a new set of challenges. And these challenges help us to grow as athletes – both mentally and physically.
When running any outdoor race, you will encounter hills. Sometimes the hills are short and steep, while other times they can be long, uphill stretches. Either way, they are difficult.
These types of “hills” are common in our lives as well. There are times when we are faced with a steep battle. We can see the top of the hill, but we are unsure of how we’re ever going to get there. Other times we are faced with long, yet steady climbs that seem to never end. These are the times when relying on God is crucial. With no end in sight, He is the only one that can give us the strength to continue.
It is important for a runner to properly train on hills. We will certainly encounter hills in just about any race, and we need to be prepared for them. In the same way, God uses the “hills” in our lives to build our faith and make us stronger in Him.
We train for the hills every time we choose to exercise our faith instead of living in fear – when we rely on Him to be our strength instead of relying on our own power. (And trust me… our God is super strong!)
When dealing with hills, many new runners focus on the uphill struggle. Going downhill, however, can bring about its own sets of challenges. While traveling downhill, it’s easy to get sloppy when it comes to posture and stride; and this is exactly what leads to injury.
Spiritually speaking, it’s easy to call on God for help only when we face uphill challenges. He is often forgotten, however, when things become “easy” again and we’re traveling downhill. We need to remember to be dependent on Him no matter what the circumstance.
Just as runners need to stay strong and maintain their posture when running downhill, we as Christians need to continually rely on God and His strength even when things are going well in our lives. The Bible calls us to endure and be thankful in both our challenges and our victories. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
So the next time you are faced with a challenging hill, remember to rely on God and His strength to get you to the top. We can rely on God’s promise that our uphill struggles will be worth it in the end. When running downhill, we can continue to “keep our form” in service and praise to God for all He has brought us through.
Keep your eyes on the prize and persevere to the end – no matter what hills and valleys you may encounter.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
**Photo by Jens Herrndorff.