I just returned from Hong Kong where I participated in the Associated Sisters in Asia Women's Conference. The theme for the conference was Ye Are The Temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16). Classes were taught about spirituality, physical and emotional health. I thought I would share the outline of this particular class..."Spiritual Lessons a Marathon Has Taught Me" by Michelle Lowry. Michelle is an American woman living in Hong Kong. She is a professional and competitive marathoner. She is currently the second fastest woman in Hong Kong.
Her talk is a parable about our spiritual journey through training and running a marathon. In case you didn't know (which I am sure you did) but a marathon is 26.2 loooooonnnnnnngggggg miles!
Before The Race- Training Principles~
- Build Your Base- For running you run daily adding gradual mileage weekly. You cannot revisit an old base. Run-Stretch-Sleep are the basics as your base. Your spiritual base is prayer-scriptures-commandments. These should be daily with gradual progression.
- Add Workouts- Adding other exercise like swimming, the elliptical, etc will increase physical health and endurance. Pushing ourselves a little more help us to grow. Temple attendance, magnifying calling, service all help increase our spiritual health and endurance. Your coach is Heavenly Father. The best coach relationship is based on trusting his training techniques. When you have a question it is important to ask your coach.
- Training Cycles- If you train at too quick a progression it will lead to fatigue, injury and burnout. Make goals that help you progress a little more each week. President Hinckley said, "we all can try a little harder." Add a little bit to your scripture study, etc.
- Prioritizing Efforts- Make the most of your workouts by choosing what is the good choice, the better choice, the best choice. Ask yourself daily, "How would this day best be spent?"
- Assemble a Support Group- Don't expect one person to relieve all of your needs. Runners have a coach (Heavenly Father), a running partner (our Savior), family and friends to encourage us (ward members, visiting teachers, Bishop).
- Fuel- Carbo load a few days before the marathon. Eat an energy induced breakfast. Hydrate before, during and after the race. Use gel packs during for endurance energy. Fill your lamp! Develop spiritual reserves, as well as fuel along the journey with scriptures, prayer, humility (especially during a trial).
- You Can't Run Harder Than You Physically Can- Mosiah 4:27 "...for it is not requisite that a man should run bfaster than he has strength."
- Don't Trust Appearances- We all know that just because someone has the cutest running outfit, the perfect body and the swankiest shoes it does not mean they are the best runner. But somehow we tell ourselves this in our head. Judge the way God judges. We are not at church, or anywhere for that matter, to measure ourselves to one another.
- Race Against The Clock- The only runner you are competing against is yourself. You may want to try achieving a personal best. There is no trophy for making it to heaven first.
- Keep Goals In Mind- Perfection is only available through Jesus Christ. Period.
- Be A Member of Someone Else's Support Team- When we focus on others it puts our own trials into perspective.
- Practice Caring- The first part of your run, you are energized and rested. The end of your run you are anticipating the finish. It is in the middle where you have to practice caring and push ahead rather than back down. In small trials practice Christlike attributes so they are practiced during big trials.
- Make Peace With The Process- Rely on the peace you felt at the end of each run and you were successful. Channel that peace as you get discouraged. A story was told about how she was running a race to qualify for the olympic team. It would be her last chance to try to qualify. During the race, a large portion was run under an overpass therefore her GPS training watch did not work. She had to set her pace based on her feeling. She learned that she missed the qualifying time by just seconds because she slowed down during that time. She was incredibly disappointed. She had to go find peace in the process. Being prepared and in good form does not guarantee us not "breaking our bow" like Nephi. The way we handle it is the challenge.
- Rely On Your Coach- Athlete's should gain info and seek advice. Trust should always be there. Heavenly Father in the perfect coach.
- Celebrating The Accomplishments- Proclaim and celebrate every run, no matter how small. Stop and say, "I did it!" Never end with coulda, shoulda, woulda. All things are possible, including hard things, through our Savior Jesus Christ.
Something to think about during your next long run!