Our running engine – the aerobic fitness
Without saying, it is every runner’s dream achieve his dream PB-smashing target race timing.
Running fast is therefore the conduit to arrive at the coveted goal.
The intuitive thing to do is to train fast and run faster in order to chase that timing.
Is that a wise strategy to adopt?
The truth is that running fast all the time sets the body up for injuries.
Fast running demands more muscle mass and introduces taxing physiologic stress that cannot be sustained daily.
It also requires the runner to generate high levels of forces that hinge critically on proper stability and control to preserve alignment while minimizing fatigue.
Instead of running fast all the time, a more sensible strategy is to build a bigger engine, that is, build your aerobic capacity.
It is done so by doing easy running for 80% of the time.
Easy running builds your aerobic fitness while hard, fast running fine-tunes that engine.
It is more important to build a big engine than to fine-tune a small one.
Herein lies the beauty of Easy running; It transforms your aerobic fitness quietly and subtly, without you realizing the renewal taking place.
• improves the running efficiency and economy
• increases mitochondrial and capillary density
• improves your ability to burn fat
• increases your resistant to fatigue
Steady, easy running allows time for the runner to perfect his form, with the neuromuscular coordination improving with each stride repeated thousands of times.
More mitochondrial and capillary density mean more oxygen delivered to those muscles which use them to propel the runner forward.
At an easy pace, the body also learns to use fat as a fuel resource to generate energy, allowing the runner to sustain a longer run at a given pace.
Quietly but surely, a runner’s engine is transformed, augmented over many consistent sessions of easy running.
Want to run fast? Easy does it.
Our spiritual engine – the Self
I have always likened the concept of building a runner’s engine to nurturing a Christ-like self in our spiritual walk.
Our walk with Christ is all about transforming the self through small successive renewals that come with each decision to think godly thoughts, obey biblical commands and soften our hearts towards the Spirit.
Just like how each session of easy run transforms the aerobic capacity to a higher level, every godly thought and deed transforms us into a creature more heavenly than before.
As C.S Lewis famously wrote in “Mere Christianity”,
“Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before.”
The Bible is on point about this priceless wisdom.
(ESV, Rom 12:22)
“Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
(NKJV, Pro 23:7)
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”
(ESV, Eph 4:22-24)
“To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on your new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Out of the self, your life flows.
You think, therefore you are.
Let us not stop at training our physical engine, let us also train our spiritual self to be pliable and receptive to Christ, to embrace His character as our own.
Engage your will to be diligent in spiritual discipline such as dwelling on the Word, consistently praying and choosing to act on what you know is right, even when your fleshly nature pulls you away from it.
Every time you choose Christ, you turn your self into a more heavenly creature who is in harmony with God.
To be this creature is to be a manifestation of love, joy, peace, power and knowledge.
Want a beautiful self? Just choose Christ.