One mile short of the Full Distance

I’m back on the running again. Training for another half marathon (the Reading Half Marathon at the beginning of March this year). I noticed something about training schedules. Whether training for a half or full marathon, training schedules never ask the trainee to run the actual distance of the race until race day itself.

So if you were running your first long distance race, you don’t actually know 100% whether or not your body is able to run the full distance. A half marathon is 13.1 miles, and you only ever get asked to run 12 miles in your training, why is that?

I’m not an expert so I have no certain answer. But one thing I do know is that the last mile you run in a race like that is mainly psychologically demanding, not physically. Your body takes no extra strain in that last mile, but it takes a load of determination and perseverance to just keep going to get you over that finish line.

There’s an element of risk in that first time you run a long distance race having not completed the full amount of miles in your training. Can you run that far? Can your body cope with the extra mile? It requires you to take the risk, trust the one who designed your training schedule.

I love the scene in 1 Samuel 14 with Jonathan and his armour bearer. Deciding whether to go and fight the Philistines, Jonathan makes the final call to go for it with an almost throw-away ponder of ‘perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf‘. It’s like he was feeling and saying ‘who knows what will happen, maybe we’ll win, maybe we’ll lose‘. Jonathan was already a warrior, he had been in previous battles, had been through similar occasions, but just needed to take a step of risk and go for it. And he did. And he won.

I’ve got some ideas I’d like to try this year. Some of them in my realm of things I’ve trained in but not tried the ‘full distance’ yet. I’m going to give these things a try and perhaps God will show up and do great things through me. Let’s see what happens.

Got anything you want to try?

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