Wednesday, January 25, 2006


I may have said this before but it bears repeating, there are a lot of life lessons to be learned through running/training for a marathon. Today I was taught one about overtraining. Last week, as you all know (if you keep up with my blog), I got a cramp in my foot and was unable to complete my 20 mile run. I was really upset about it. I was also really dreading the run in the first place and in some ways I feel like my lack of excitement about running is what really caused the pain deep down. Anyway, after that debachal I went back to my two marathon training books and a section titled "overtraining" caught my eye. I started to read it. Instantly I related to its subject matter and was able to diagnose my downhill slope the last few weeks as a cause of overtraining. First of all I have to admit it was my own fault. I was pushing myself father than was necessary and my body wasnt ready for it. The original cycle of running a marathon, according to Jeff Galloway, is 5 minutes of running and 1 minute walk break, then 5 more minutes of running and 1 minute walk break and so on and so on until you have completed the marathon. At first, this art of pacing myself was priceless b/c I was so out of shape. But over time I started to feel like I could run more and walk less, so I did. Eventually I allowed myself to get to the stage where I would run 13 or 14 miles straight and then struggle to make it through whatever was left barely running at all. I was just excited to be able to run that long/far without stopping. What resulted however was a degeneration of my consistancy and pace as well me starting to dread long run days. I would get so down on myself if I couldnt run the entire time and eventually my body started to fight back. My mind's negative side started gaining momentum as my body and self esteem started to fall apart. Which, the books say is a result of overtraining. So in effort to offer me a solution to this downward spiral they emphasized the importance of walk breaks again. These walk breaks are to help you, not make you feel weaker or like you can't do it all at once. These walk breaks are little breaths of air, little moments of relief so that you can handle more that you ever believed possible. Trying to run it all at once, I couldn't do it. Trying to run it 5 minutes at a time- I can. Today-I did! TODAY I RE-RAN MY 20 MILES AND COMPLETED IT WITH FLYING COLORS!! Im so proud of myself. But the real reason I was able to do it was b/c I made the effort to rest a little bit here and a little bit there and soon enough, I was at the end of my task with a smile on my face.

If you haven't caught the life lesson in this running analogy then let me help you. Jesus asks us to BE STILL and know that He is God. Yet we often run our way through life thinking that if we pause for even a second, we wont be as "strong" as "capable" or "insert inner slander here." Truth is, we wear out quicker when we dont breathe once in awhile. We can't accomplish half as much as we are capable of if we are pushing too hard. We are fatigued and discouraged and cynical about the task before us. All we need to do is pace ourselves and that starts at the beginning continues through the middle and takes us to the end less painfully then it would be if we never "walked."

Everyone's "walk breaks" look different too. For some it's prayer, for some its surfing, for others it may be going to get coffee with a friend. Whatever your walk break may be, take it and take it every so often or you too are sure to feel overtrained which could possibly result in injury.


MOM said...

YEAH !!!!!!!! YA HOO !!!!!! I can't make the font BIG enough for my excitement. You are such an amazing example and we are blessed by your insights ...........
Congratulations !!!

Bethany said...

Man, Bethany- that's good! Thanks for the encouragement and I am SO EXCITED FOR YOU! Way to go on the 20 miles!

Becky said...

Congratulations, Bethany! I am so proud of you.

Randy Elrod said...

Awesome, Bethany. The walk breaks and other marathon lessons have enriched my life. There is something about the "pauses" in life and certainly in running. During my walk breaks, I notice the blue of the sky, the beauty of the day and I take time to meditate on beauty.


Locations of visitors to this page