Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mental Training for Running



One of the hardest things for me (or anyone?) about long distance running is staying mentally focused and not becoming bored. There are a lot of ways to keep from getting bored and to make the time go by quickly. Running on scenic trails, listening to something on an ipod, running with a friend you can chat with, etc, are all helpful. However, scenic trails are not always available, nor is a friend who is willing to run long distances always available. When it comes to the ipod, it can provide some entertainment, but passively listening to something does not fully engage your mind in the way a conversation with a friend does.

I have found that by far the best method of making time go by quickly and enjoyably on a long run is quoting chapters of the Bible from memory. I find that quoting chapters that I know very well works best because if I try to quote chapters that I am a little shaky on, the mental strain tires me out and leaves me with less energy for running. Quoting chapters from the Bible that are well known to me provides the perfect balance of engaging my mind enough to keep me from getting bored without overly straining my mind and making running difficult.

Plus, let's face it - it's hard to justify spending hours per week running when life is already so busy with church, work, family, etc. However, when running time also doubles as a time to meditate on God's word and sharpen up memorized passages, it becomes easier to stay motivated and carve out the time necessary to go running. When I go running, I am also working on Bible memory which is important to me as a preacher and as a Christian in general. When I sit down to memorize the Bible or review a chapter, I am also training my mind for future runs. The more chapters I have down pat, the further I will be able to run, and the less I will have to keep repeating the same chapters over and over again which would eventually become boring.

Why run? Because in my opinion running is the single best and easiest way to improve your health and fitness. It requires little or no equipment and can be done virtually anytime, anywhere. Why memorize the Bible? Because God has promised us that if we meditate upon the word of God day and night, whatsoever we do shall prosper. Combining the two is the ultimate in mind-body-spirit exercise.

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." - Isaiah 40:31

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anderson, looking at your pic, noticing you are running bare foot. Is that a heath benefit to run without shoes? Thank you much, Rosita (When our feet are of touching the earth without shoes or such, it is considered a good thing for the body). :) It is a tremendous way to memorize of the Scriptures/chapters of the Bibles!

Anonymous said...

Sir, Pastor Anderson, just a note to of an email I written you a couple or so weeks ago about your latest post. "Mental Training for Running." If I written anything that was not proper sir, please forgive me. I meant well, by asking of the purpose of running with no shoes, if it was a health benefit for you? I just want you to understand this. Thank you for all you do for the glory of the Lord. John 3:30. Blessings, in the Name of Jesus. rosita

Gary R. Peterson said...

I would add that running requires discipline and perseverance, virtues that carry over into other areas of one's Christian life. I have to say that when I saw the picture I thought "Yowtch!" Running barefoot through suburban streets and sidewalks looks painful (and dangerous if your sidewalks are as strewn with rocks and other sharp debris like ours in Omaha). Here's wishing you the best as you build up a healthy mind in a healthy body. -- Gary in Omaha

Anonymous said...

Running barefoot on concrete will cause serious problems and flat feet.

Anonymous said...

Saying of being bare footed is not cause of flat feet. No way, all of us were born bare footed, being real here that it is healthy to be bare footed. Bare foot strengthens muscles of the entire foot. Best thing for all of us to do is remove our shoes and be bare footed as much as we possibly can and when we are able. *Be careful of areas of ground of being safe where ever we walk, run. Need more facts of that running bare footed on concrete causes serious problems and flat feet. (?) rosita

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