What Training for Marathon Has Taught Me About Faith
Back in March, I had the crazy idea to sign up for the New York City Marathon. I was in the crowd last year, and as I watched people of all ages and stages and walks of life run past, I was overwhelmed to the point of tears. What a remarkable show of energy, passion, community, and determination. In that moment, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
But knowing I wanted to be a part of it and *actually* training to run 26.2 miles are two different things entirely.
For context, I enjoy running. I probably ran once or twice a week before beginning marathon training earlier this summer. These past three months have been more transformational than I ever expected. As the weekly mile count climbs to the heavens, as my mental strength grows, as little injuries and sore joints and other obstacles get in the way, I’m constantly reminded of my goal: to cross the finish line, healthy and strong.
But what has surprised me the most (other than the simple fact that I actually still enjoy running) has been the ways in which this experience has modeled my journey of faith. For instance, along the way, I’ve been reminded of the importance of..
- Making a plan and sticking to it. I have a training plan that, for the most part, I’ve stuck to in order to get ready for the race. This means that, many times, I get up and run even when I don’t “feel like it.” If it’s rainy, I hit the road. If it’s cold or humid, I hit the road. I build my weekly schedule around my training needs, and I follow the plan. This has taught me so much about the importance of scheduling what’s most important, whether that’s prayer, exercise, time with friends, or even sleep.
- Community makes everything better. When I was just getting back into running longer miles, I ran every Friday morning with a group in DC. This changed everything. Instead of getting out and running on my own motivation, I knew people would be waiting for me at the starting line. I also wrangled a good friend and her boyfriend to join me on my first few longer runs – my friend rode her bike and carried our waters and snacks. It was fun because we were all in it together! And it made the miles fly by.
- Asking for help. It’s my first marathon, and I have friends who have done a whole boatload of them already. I made it a habit early on to ask for help. I asked about equipment, gummies, water packs, shoes, you name it. My friend Mary suggested that I try listening to audio books on long runs to make the time go faster, and that’s probably been one of the best pieces of advice I’ve received ever! I’m not in it alone, and there are many people who have been in it longer (and do it better) than me.
- It’s okay to make a mistake and/or rest. Wow, this one has been the hardest lesson and the biggest learning for me. Training the human body to run this many miles takes a toll. I’ve struggled with a sore elbow, and right now my left foot has been achey and tight. This weekend I had a cold that prevented me from hitting my long run. It’s incredibly frustrating to need to “slow down” or take time off to heal, but this process has shown me how important it is to trust the process and release control. I can’t do it all, but I can do my best.
If you’ve run a marathon, and you have any advice or encouragement (or prayers!) for me, please share them. I’m also in the final stretch of fundraising for my entry (I’m just about halfway to my $2600 goal!) and if you’re feeling generous, I’d love any support you’re able to give here!
What we’re loving lately
Dig to the Roots Homily with Fr. Mike Schmitz
This podcast is fireeeee. He talks about how there are so many “good” things that we root into in our lives (family, work, relationships, etc.) but that God needs to teach us detachment and freedom sometimes through letting go of even good things. Give it a listen!
What I’m reading lately
I’m back in the groove of reading, and here’s what’s on the list:
- East of Eden by John Steinbeck – a stunning, creative retelling of Adam and Eve with phenomenal character development (and it takes place in the Salinas Valley in California!)
- The Four Cardinal Virtues by Joseph Pieper – I’m continuing my virtue challenge, and focusing on “justice” this month! This book is super dense, but I’m learning a lot and it’s very applicable!
- Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid – I’ve read her other three books over the past year or so and they’re just scrumptious. This is my current long-run audio book and it makes me extra excited to get out and run so I can hear what happens next!
- For the special intentions of our community
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Jane was born in Australia, raised in California, and is overjoyed to now call NYC home. She graduated from UCSB with degrees in Political Science and Communication and spent the past two years working in criminal justice reform. She is currently an MBA student at NYU Stern, focusing on entrepreneurship and strategy.