Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
I Cor. 9:25-27I'm a runner.
Well, let's amend that to 'dedicated jogger.'
I'm not fast.
But I'm not too slow.
And I love to run for miles and miles.
I don't possess a lot of athletic skills, but I do have the ability to put my body into a repetitive motion and stay there. For a long time.
Which causes some issues.
Because that consistent, unchanging training can wreak havoc on joints and ligaments, even with good running shoes. And once the body adapts to the same pace and the same mileage, the fitness benefits of running begin to decrease.
Enter interval training.
It's a method of running that involves increasing and decreasing the speed at which you run in a way that forces the body to constantly be re-adapting to a new pace. It quickly increases stamina and strength because of the timed stresses it places on the runner.
And here's the part where I admit I don't like it all that much.
I get comfortable at a consistent pace. I don't have to think all that much. I don't have to watch the stop watch or the miles-per-hour meter on my treadmill.
Which is precisely why it can stunt my training and put undo strain on my joints and flexibility.
Kind of like what happens with my faith when I don't have to make the occasional climb, when I don't have to push the muscle of my faith to stay in the race and push myself to the next level.
I get the feeling that God believes in interval training. It may be why He allows some steep climbs to come our way from time to time.
It can be a jolt to our system, when we've been jogging along the paths of belief in a way that has become familiar and comfortable. We know where the errant pothole might be. We know how much further until the next curve.
But then our Heavenly Trainer takes over the treadmill dashboard. He hits the incline button and increases the speed. And we gasp at the effort and feel unfamiliar twinges and stretches as we try to keep up. And we wonder at what He's doing and why we've been bumped from our comfortable run.
He's making us stronger. He's making us faster. He's making us tenacious. He's making better runners of us.
Even when the burn of exertion leaves us feeling depleted, even when the pace makes us wonder how much further we can go.
He's making better runners of us.
Which will make the finish line all the sweeter.