For a marathoner, nothing is more important than endurance. That's why we do long runs, as I did today on the treadmill (still too cold to run outdoors).
To do a long run every 7-10 days, you have to be persistent, organized, disciplined, goal-oriented, and committed. I want to remind everybody that I am a back-of-the-packer marathoner. But that doesn't mean I don't have dreams. Nothing is impossible, but everything takes time. That's why I run by the minute/hour, not by the distance.
Speed is the wrong priority for novice runners like me. Speed will only increase your chance of injury and -- worse -- burnout. A minute has no pace. You just run/walk. And you do it for pleasure, not for pain.
To get healthier and maybe even faster, you have to do a lot of your runs at a slow pace. Before my first marathon of 2022, I will work up to a 4 hour long run. The idea is to get used to the stress of having to lift your feet up and down nearly 8,000 times per hour.
Psalm 84:5-7 says:
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca (Weeping), they make it a place of springs. They go from strength to strength.
Is the life of faith really different from the life of the marathoner? It's the same stuff everyone endures in one way or another. God does not whisk us at once to glory. We go on living in a hurting and fractured world. Yet we come to understand that even suffering is a gift because of the transforming power of Christ. The very time when we feel so weak is an opportunity for us to put our faith in him. We press on because our perseverance is really his, and it is in his strength that we live and move and have our being.
Bring on the long run!