Do you remember the Friends episode when Phoebe and Rachel go running together through Central Park? Once they started to jog, Phoebe started swinging her arms and moving her legs uncontrollably down the path. All Rachel could do was just stop and stare. Most importantly, it got everyone’s attention.
I have noticed that every runner has a particular style while running. My style includes must haves such as comfortable running clothes (layers during cold/wicking shirt, shorts during warm), several Gu packs for longer runs, GPS watch or app, and my favorite running tracks on my ipod shuffle. The less I have to wear during my run, the better. I usually start off my pace rather slow until I warm up. Since I have bought the proper running shoes, I’ve noticed I concentrate a little more on my strike in the beginning, so I probably have “Phoebe moments” just starting out. Once I am well into several miles, during cold weather, I shed a couple of layers, adjust my running tracks (according to my BPM) and my breathing gets in control. It is then that I feel like I am running tall and feeling great. Sometimes I catch myself looking at the ground instead of staring straight ahead on longer stretches for my sanity. There are moments during my long runs when I reach a point where my legs ache and become weak. This is where the Gu and running tracks do the trick. It provides me with enough energy to continue in my pursuit.
Bill Bowerman, former coach of the University of Oregon, said we should all “Run Tall.” This would probably sum up the style of many of the long distance great runners. Coaches tell us to run standing up fairly straight, not leaning forward, twisted to one side, or tilting backwards (or rapidly moving our arms and legs uncontrollably, lol). We should be looking ahead at where you are going, not staring at your feet or the ground. (Oops!)
The bible, too, has called us to run the race with style. To run the race with style, we need to get in the proper form by strengthening the hands, and strengthening our knees. The bible tells us to shake off all weariness, to be firm and strong (Job 4:3-4; Isaiah 35:3) and help one another to do so. We are to make straight paths for our feet, watch out for the pitfalls that can hinder us in our pursuit such as, not allowing God’s grace to help us in our race and by allowing bitterness to become a stumbling block.
As we run this “race”, the words of the apostle Paul are appropriate…”Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we run for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
The most important question we can ask ourselves as we run this race is “Am I running with style in such a way as to obtain the imperishable crown?”