|Kerry and I before heading out for a morning run.|
“It’s an honor to be on the U.S. Olympic team a third time. The race started great, and then got tough as we whittled it down to the final few. We were talking to each other, saying, ‘Let’s work together to get on the team.'”- Meb Keflezighi, Winner of the men’s 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon
Do you have a running partner? Who is it that creates a safe place for you to vent and process? Who can you trust to share what’s really going on inside? Who are you accountable to? Got somebody? Good. Don’t have anyone? Why not?
Psychologists in the US have stated that the benefits of having a training partner while running also include making you smarter as you run and talk more areas of the brain are stimulated.
I have been running since my college years and in that time I have logged hundreds of hours running through streets, tracks, trails (even through 4 states) with just me, myself and I. As for good company, I never really thought of a running companion, other than my lab or my ipod. After meeting my neighbor, Kerry, I have discovered that having a partner to run with makes the time much more enjoyable. She challenges me to go further and even get up a little earlier.
The accountability a partner brings makes me better and pushes me farther, which means, in the long run, I’ll progress in my training and continue to stay in shape. Not only do we have a lot in common, but we were training for the same race. Although Kerry is not continuing with me to the marathon, she continues to motivate me and provide encouragement during my training. She even continues to run along side with me throughout the week when her schedule permits. She even has agreed to sometimes run with me during the last leg of my long run. Now that’s encouraging.
Just like runners who train to reach physical goals, we need spiritual training partners to provide encouragement, pacing, and motivation for our spiritual goals.
The spiritual race I run is very similar to the physical one. I enjoy the run once I get moving, but sometimes I need a little extra motivation to get out of bed or a partner that runs a little faster to push me harder. I have recently found a spiritual running buddy in my husband, though, I need to keep up. Our spiritual walk together is quite the reflection of our past runs together. Many times we did not get to train together because someone had to stay home and watch our children, and our paces were different. We do challenge each other to get out of bed and sometimes we pull or push the other along making us stronger.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
One thing we have found in this race my husband and I run together is that without the sharing the same objective, we have a hard time choosing a path or even going in the same direction. Our ultimate objective is to live our lives for Jesus. This objective keeps us going the same direction even when our training is not necessarily together.
Whether running with a partner or running alone, we must commit to the race. God has a calling on our lives and the new year gives us an opportunity to recommit to the race to get out of bed and hit the pavement. Let’s join and run the race God has set out before us.