Life, Faith & Running
". . . let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
*Preface: this is satire. It is meant to make your laugh while also making a point or two. In addition, I realize there are many other aerobic activities that are just as “good” for you. I refer only to running because it is the one I know, love and enjoy. All aerobic sports are equal in my book. So too is every person walking on this earth. Whether you run or not, I love you, think you are a jewel, and believe that you are likely running a metaphorical race in some area of your life. More than that, I believe God made you uniquely and beautifully, in His image as a gift to the world.
"Humor is a gentle way to acknowledge human frailty." ~Anonymous
Let’s get this discussion started on the right foot by making it clear that taking up running may be hazardous to your life, health and relationships. By hazardous I mean, it may interrupt your normally scheduled life and we all know that interruptions are to be completely and 100% avoided because the stagnant life is where it is at. Changes can bring on stress and who wants more stress in their life?
But if that is not enough to convince you to throw those running shoes back in the closet and settle down with a bag of popcorn, the following is bound to convince you to stay put. In no particular order you will find my 10 reasons to avoid taking up running as a hobby to be full of the demotivation you might be looking for.
Running will require you to set some goals that can be measured.
Goals can be a big problem in life because they are always there motivating you to push one step further. These little or big pests can sometimes be the cause of breaking down old habits. A goal-oriented life can be a recipe for committing to hard work, dedication and determining measurable outcomes that evidence growth. All of these could be completely damaging to the ho-hum, go-with-the-flow life that presents itself as easier.
Running will cause you to have to orient some of your days around a plan.
Running can be a real tyrant, you know. She may demand of you to plan your week ahead of time, mapping out the days and times to set aside for spending time with her. She knows that a schedule is what will keep you hanging out with her, so she will be adamant that you make a plan and stick to it. And that you take into consideration the heat index, storm clouds or distance. Her plans will get you up early in the morning or take you places and distances you didn’t intend to or think you could go. Somehow she her plan-ahead ways will start infiltrating other areas of your life too. Sneaky, sneaky, right?
Running will make you hurt.
Seriously, avoid running at all costs because pain is inevitable and even though the saying is, “No pain no gain,” we all know that you certainly can find some gain by sitting around and doing nothing. Am I right, or am I right? I mean, think about how much you gain when your metabolism shuts down at 30, and you don’t even have to change anything about your lifestyle to put some gain in those jeans. Furthermore, when runners tell you the pain will go away after the first few weeks, don’t believe them. Because you know what I once heard a runner say after a marathon, “I only hurt for a couple days and then I was back to feeling close to 100%.” Runners are liars, straight-up. They blame it on the endorphins. Don’t buy it: They will tell you anything to lure you out on the road. Believe me. I know a few.
Running might get you lost.
Running has this way of allowing your mind and soul to wander to typically unvisited thoughts and ideas. Some people may call this daydreaming, but that doesn’t seem to fit when ones feet are moving. The better way to create space for mind and soul to escape the white noise of life is a long trip to the mountains. Back up all the things you need. Drive miles and miles. Sleep in a tent on the rocks of the ground. Then enjoy dancing with the mosquitoes while you try to sit and ponder--day dream, that is. On the other hand, running will want you to go multiple times a week, and to step foot out of your front door and go for a run in the nature that is already around you. Most dangerous for you with this aspect of running is that sometimes your mind just wanders to places it may not otherwise go, bringing you thoughts, insights or ideas that you didn’t plan on exploring. Entering the unknown without a plan or map can be the beginning of big dreams and visions, which will only set your life up for being more full and your soul being more at peace with working hard toward your goals. (Refer back to #1 to be reminded of the problems with goals.)
Running will introduce you to new friends.
Here is the problem with making new friends at any point in life, you will want to spend time with them. And that will really make a mess of your life because you will want to quit doing other things to spend time with your “runner” friends. And here is the real problem with “runner” friends, you might find yourself pouring your life out to them on a long run because you will likely run out of surface topics to discuss by mile three (I suppose you could commit to never running more than three miles with someone if you want to avoid this.) It is a dangerous way of living to be in friendship with people who know your deeper-self because it might propel you to get comfortable with who you really are, down there were no one usually sees. I am telling you, walk away slowly, now.
Running will make you hungry and tired.
Running requires energy. The main sources of energy for us humans are food and sleep. If you would rather avoid seeing food as fuel for life and a good sleeping schedule as essential, then running definitely isn’t for you. Running on a regular basis, and especially if you fall into the trap of wanting to improve, might cause you to turn the computer or TV off earlier than you want to so that you can get up earlier than you are used to. All of this may lead you to taking adjusting some lifelong habits. Plus, you’ll start being hungry for healthy food that helps you run better. It is super weird, when you run more you want to eat more healthy. This likely due to being more in-tune with your body. So, be careful, running might put you in-tune with healthy eat and sleeping. Wait, isn’t that balance? Isn’t that tabu these days?
Running will change your brain, with very little cost.
Most articles on the science of running and its effects on the brain like to highlight the benefits: brain growth, the brain aging more slowly, the boosting of recall and cognitive functions, and balanced brain chemistry. I mean there have to be easier ways to find these benefits than lacing up your shoes three times a week for 30-40 minutes? And practically speaking, running costs next to nothing**, which probably makes it of no value, right? You know that saying, "you get what you pay for.” (There is currently no research to support this age old adage, but I am sure it is up and coming.) So, if running is nearly free, what level of return on investment value can it really hold?
Running will require the “c” word to become a part of your life.
For real, the “c” word (commitment) is one that should be avoided because it can lead to all kinds of crazy things like motivation, the achievement of goals, mental and spiritual growth, running longer distances, and some semblance of rhythm to at least one area of your life. Which in turn might lead to rhythms in other areas of your life. Commitment can have a big domino effect. So, your first yes, might turn into a 1,000 more yes’s. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Running will take you places you didn’t intend on going.
Literally! You might end up traveling to parks, cities, states, or countries just to run a race or meet up with a group of friends. How ridiculous is that? Staying put sounds a lot less stressful than navigating the world on foot. Adventure is just as good when experienced second-hand, right? I mean it is so much cheaper and safer to experience the world via Youtube than in real life. So why waste the time, energy or money?
[Your]Running might inspire others.
There is always the option that people will dislike you because you make running look fun and easy. If that doesn’t hold you back, even worse is that if you start running and you have friends who use excuses like, “I am too old” or “I am too out of shape” to avoid running, but then see “out of shape” and “old” you running, you will have taken away the reasonableness of their excuses. Which could inspire them to lace up their shoes and join this dangerous sport of running. Nobody wants to be a stumbling block, right? Or they could talk smack behind your back, cause you know they aren’t going to dis you to your face. Your strength and determination will deter them from that for sure.
A note to the moms: If you take up running, you may find that each one of your kids works running and how they want to become "a runner like you" into your birthday, mother's day, and Christmas cards. This might be too sweet and enduring for you to handle. You're welcome for the, mom-to-mom warning: #teammoms.
"We live in an increasingly easily offended and humorless society. Don’t be swallowed up in the negativity." ~Ken Davis
As you can see, these 10 reasons to avoid taking up running provide plenty of motivation for closing that Amazon tab you had open to running shoes, blocking Runner’s World updates to your inbox, and just saying "no" to that friend who keeps asking you to join her on a run--because clearly she doesn’t have your best interests in mind. Robert Frost may be one of the most famous American poets and his words about the roads less traveled famous and inspiring, but there is no need to buy that when you can just keep driving the same one, predict what’s coming and enjoy always wondering what might have happened had you taken up running all those years ago when you thought you were old, but looking back realize you were young enough to be able.
Believe it or not, once you lay all the reasons not to run aside, and just start by taking one step, one minute or one mile at a time, you will no doubt be surprised at where you end up one month, one year or one lifetime from now. We have all got some kind of race to run--be it physical, spiritual, emotional or relational. All these races require some strength, grit and perseverance. All these races are fueled by one prayer, one praise and one Scripture at a time. And all of these races require us to show-up, lace-up, and start moving forward. God's got the finish line marked out, we simply need to keep running His direction.
*Running our races can will look a million different ways, I just happen to like to run mine literally and hope to inspire others to take a risk on running too.
**If you bought a pair of shoes for $150.00, and ran about three times per week, you would spend about $1.00 per run over the course of a year.
Her family and friends know her as, Jaci. She is the wife of a pastor, a mom of four, writing and communications education instructor, a visionary and an avid runner. As a firm believer in the power and effectiveness of the body of Christ united together to live out the Great Commission, she holds fast to this verse, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). Of equal importance to her are these words, "...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1).
Posts in the Run for Your Life, series: