Tuesday, May 9, 2023

The Hard Days

One of the common misunderstandings about training is that we are supposed to do it with the things that we're good at so that we become even better at them. We think about training as "the best of times" - whatever you're already good at, you just get better. Whatever is already easy for you just becomes a ton easier. That's why it's so easy for so many to say they don't need to train; they can already do this with their eyes closed. 

On their best days, it's so easy.

But you don't train for your best days. 

You train for your worst ones. 

You train for the days that are hard. The days that don't go the way that you planned. You train for the times when you aren't so naturally sure of yourself, when you have questions about whether you can or whether you can't. 

When I woke up on race morning, it wasn't the race morning I wanted. My body didn't feel strong. My stomach was unsettled from the previous night's meal (it happens sometimes, right?). I hadn't slept well. If you're making a checklist of all the things you want before you run 13.1 miles, I had almost none of them. As I laced up my running shoes, I wasn't sure if I would even get started, let alone make it the whole way. 

And if this had been the first day that I had tried to run, I wouldn't have. Plain and simple. I wouldn't have. 

But I've been training for this. I've been running on days just like this, and I've been running on better days, and I've been running on worse days. I've been lacing up these shoes and putting in the miles for months before race morning. So at the time when I most needed to know that I could, I already knew it. I had already been doing it. 

What kind of day I was having didn't matter. 

This is the problem that a lot of Christians run into. They aren't praying. They aren't reading their Bible. They aren't singing worship songs. They aren't going to church. Then, they wake up one morning and it's not the morning they wanted, and they don't know how to do that stuff. 

They go flipping through their Bible, desperately searching for encouragement. They bow their heads and fold their hands, but they don't know what to stay or even how to start. They turn on the radio, flip to the local worship channel, but they don't know the words and they can't get their hearts locked in on them. (Sometimes, the words just seem to make the pain worse.) They show up to church on Sunday, but they don't remember what to do once they get there. 

They're trying to make it through the hard days without any training. And why? Because on the good days, it hasn't seemed necessary. 

On good days, I know I can run a good pace. I never have to do it to prove it to myself. I can feel it in my bones; I know it's there. 

On good days, I know God is good. I don't have to have the evidence; I can feel it in my bones. I know He's there. 

But we don't train for the good days. And that's precisely why we train at all - because hard days are coming. 

Are you ready for them? 

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