Bought by the Blood

June 10, 2011

How To Train For A Half Marathon

I have been blogging less because I have been working out more and that working out is primarily in the form of running.  One of the great things about running is all of the correlations with it and the Christian life.  I want to use this blog to open up more with what God has taught me spiritually through running as well as practical tips for people who want to become runners.

The following question recently came to me: “I’ve been wanting to run a half marathon. I’m not a runner. Any advice on where to start, how to train, or what NOT to do? Any tip”

The famous running coach Hal Higdon in his novice half marathon plan believes that anyone wanting to run a half marathon should be able to run three miles three to four miles a week.  You can find out more about his plan here http://www.halhigdon.com/halfmarathon/novice.htm

The best place to start in terms of being able to run three miles three to four times a week is with the Couch To 5k Plan, also known as c25k.  You can find more information on that plan here http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml

Here is my list of do’s and don’ts from what I’ve learned in training for two half marathons and one full marathon.

DO:

  • Find a local running store where you can get a gait analysis and be fitted for the right kind of shoe.  A very few people are blessed with great biomechanics and can run in any shoe.  Others, like myself and the majority of runners out there, need to know what shoe type fits them best to help avoid injury.
  • Find accountability, it can either be in a running club, a friend to run with or an online running group such as Runner’s World Online It is so helpful to have people who will push you, encourage you and know what you are going through.
  • Find a training plan you can use as a guide.  No training plan has to be set in stone, feel free to take liberties.  Listen to your body if you need to take rest days then do that without feeling guilty.  If you feel good, go harder and longer then the plans call for with moderation.  If you are sore, tired, fatigued, then do modify the plan to allow your body to recover.
  • Run shorter races to get used to the race day excitement before the big half marathon.
  • Remember that 13.1 miles should not be considered half of anything.  http://teampikermi.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48&Itemid=54
  • Have fun!
  • Celebrate the little and the big milestones, such as running 5 miles without stopping or noticing yourself getting faster.
  • When it is hot and humid out, be sure to hydrate.
  • Keep a training log.  There are a ton of great online tools for keeping a training log.  Some of the most popular ones are dailymile.com mapmyrun.com runningahead.com A training log is helpful for seeing your progress and how far you’ve come.
  • Take the good days and the bad days with a grain of salt.  Not every day will be a perfect run where you feel like you are on cloud 9 and could run forever.  Different factors can cause a bad run.  Don’t fret over a bad run, just know they happen and keep moving forward.  Don’t let your best training run or your worst training run define you.  Remember, running is a gift from God.  He has blessed you with the ability to walk, run and do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). Running isn’t about you and what you can do and accomplish, it is about God and glorifying Him.  When it becomes more then that it becomes idolatry.

Don’t

  • Feel like you need all the most expensive and best gear and gadgets.  Some people will swear by performance shirts and their GPS watches.  Performance shirts are nice, but not necessary.  I have never used a GPS watch, but I’ve heard they can be beneficial.  The problem with GPS watches is that it teaches people to run by a certain pace, but not to run according to effort.
  • Overdo it.  The bulk of injuries happen to new runners who try to do to much to soon.  Whether that is too much mileage or too much speedwork.
  • Make running a chore or something you have to do.  Once you stop enjoying it or it becomes a burden, reevaluate why you are doing it.
  • Overcomplicate things.  Running in its simplest form is quiet simple, that is why the list of don’ts is so short.  All of the do’s are pretty basic, but are all things that are easy to forget.

I’ll leave you with a few quotes from Running Times that are helpful in terms of putting things in perspective.  The last quote I took a liberty to add my own words in parenthesis.

  • It’s not uncommon to go to bed thinking “Darn, I should have run today.” It’s not common to go to bed thinking. “I shouldn’t have run today.”
  • Something is always better than nothing. There will be days when some aspect of reality intrudes and you have to scrap your ideal-world training plan. That doesn’t make scrapping the whole affair the logical conclusion. A 4-miler is much closer to 10-miler then it is to 0 miles for the day.
  • Relax, it’s just running. Of course it can be the most intoxicating, captivating, meaningful part of your life. But it’s still just running. Nobody’s making you do it, and you’re not going to save the world (or your soul) doing it. So find what you enjoy about running, and then follow your bliss.

If you get the chance, I’d recommend the book, “Marathoning For Mortals” by John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield although I would not recommend the training plan in the book, this book is packed with a ton of great information for someone preparing to run their first half or full marathon.

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February 6, 2011

Redeeming Love

For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God…For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.
(Deuteronomy 4:24 & 31 ESV)

The fire of Yahweh as a jealous God is the fire of an exclusive commitment to this people that demands an exclusive commitment in return.  It is, in short, the fire of redeeming love that had brought them out of the fires of bondage and would therefore tolerate no rival…It was the fire of God’s jealousy that protected the strength of God’s mercy and covenant faithfulness to this people.  In rebellion and idolatry they would find the God of verse 24.  In return and obedience they would find the God of verse 31.  This is the same unchanged God, responding to a tragically unchangeable people.

– Christ Wright

July 8, 2009

Idol Factories

The Lord once called you ‘a green olive tree, beautiful with good fruit.’ But with the roar of a great tempest he will set fire to it, and its branches will be consumed. The Lord of hosts, who planted you, has decreed disaster against you, because of the evil that the house of Israel and the house of Judah have done, provoking me to anger by making offerings to Baal.” – Jeremiah 11:16-17

One of the greatest sins that we can commit is that of idolatry.  The first two sins listed in the ten commandment speak out against idolatry and the rest of the sins are listings of the overflow of an idolatrous heart. Idolatry is having something else as a functional god in our lives, that something else can be other things, other people, or even ourselves.  In Jeremiah’s time the primary idol of that time was Baal and Israel’s worship of Baal provoked God to anger.  No matter what idol we have in place of God, He views all idolatry as shocking, appalling and a cause for us to be utterly dismayed (Jeremiah 2:12).

Our glory is in having the one true and living God as our God.  If we turn from him to an idol, then we have no source of glory (Jeremiah 2:11).  All of our boasting and joy will be empty without Him.  God has made us beautiful, but because of sin that beauty has been marred and we need Christ imputed righteous to restore us to the beauty that God intends.  Our purpose is to bear good fruit for God, but no one does that without God.  If we are not fruit bearers, but instead weeds then God will set fire to us and we will burn up in the eternal torment of hell.

When we commit idolatry two evils are functioning in our lives.  First, we forsake the fountain of living waters and find no satisfaction in this life.  Idolatry is a slow and steady spiritual death as our souls cannot get the water that will nourish and refresh us.  Secondly, idolatry denies God glory and seeks to brings us to the point of a relentless pursuit after nothing.  The other gods that we worship besides the one true God are nothing, they have no worth and no value.  If you seek an idol, it will only leaving you wanting more and when you get to it you will never be filled up.  Going to an idol is similar to driving a car with an oil leak, it will eventually break and leave you stranded and in despair (Jeremiah 2:13).

July 7, 2009

Knowing God

But the Lord is the true God;
he is the living God and the everlasting King.
At his wrath the earth quakes,
and the nations cannot endure his indignation. – Jeremiah 10:10

The most important question that any person can ask themselves is, “Who is God?”  In Jeremiah we find three essential claims to our understanding of who God is.  The first thing we learn about God is He is the true God, there are other gods that will try to take his place, but they are idols which will one day crumble.  Idols such as money, sex, power, fame and other tools of satan and this world which seek to entice, but they are false gods and have no power or eternal worth.  Secondly, we learn that God is living, He is active and sovereign over this world.  Everything is directed by Him and being guided to an end point predetermined by Him where every knee on earth, above the earth and below the earth will bow down and worship Him (Philippians 2:10).  Lastly, in this verse we see that God is the everlasting King.  He rules over this world and He is majestic in holiness (Exodus 15:11), He is the King from which all kings draw their kingship.

The second most important question we can ask is how we can be made right with this God.  To quote Matthew Henry, “Sinners should be afraid.  They have an angry God above thenm a guilty conscience in them, and a yawning hell below them.”  If we are honest with ourselves we are aware that we do not treat this everlasting King with the reverence and adoration He deserves.  None of us seek Him as we should, we are not good and do not do good (Romans 3:11-12).  Therefore, we are all deserving of His wrath and if the earth quakes under His wrath, imagine the effect that His wrath will have on us.  It is a terrifying thought to think of the weeping and gnashing of teeth that we will endure.  We will not be able to endure the outpouring of His wrath on us, although we will not be able to endure it, we will wish for it to end and for our pitiful existence to end, but Hell is real and eternal. Because sin is an infinite offense against God, the punishment is infinite as well.

The way we are made right with God is not through anything that we can do.  We cannot earn His favor, but it must come by grace or mercy.  If we would be able to earn it, then that means that the offense is not infinite.  Since we cannot earn it that means that it comes to us as a free and undeserved gift (Romans 6:23).  The means of this free and undeserved gift is the cross on which Jesus died to redeem sinners. His work on the cross reconciles and brings us near to God because we can’t come near on our own (Hebrews 9:11-22). If we claim His blood as ours then He gives us robes of righteousness to wear, when God sees us wearing Christ righteousness He passes over our sin and sees us as objects of His love.  His wrath was spent on Christ on the cross so that we may be adopted as children of the everlasting King, the true and living God.

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