So, this is sort of a post about running, but also a post about life. Now that I am running a lot, you all may have to be listening to a lot of drawn out analogies on how running is teaching me about life. I run really slowly, so in the course of 10 miles I have way too much time to think!
I am training for half marathon, which is coming up in just a few weeks. Last Saturday morning I ran 10 miles. This is, frankly, an amazing number of miles. I did not like to run when I started training, and that was just about six weeks ago, but now I love it.
When I started, I could run an easy three miles, but I did not like it and I did not do it often. I decided to do this race, and my husband printed out a training plan from the internet. In the past, I have been pessimistic about these sorts of things, thinking that there was no way that I could get up to that sort of mileage, but this time around I just decided, and it was a decision, not a feeling, to trust the plan. I do what the plan says, without thinking about it, and as long as I do so I trust that come Saturday I will be able to do whatever crazy long run is scheduled for me. The first long run was 4 miles, which seemed difficult at the time, but I have been able to add a mile or two each weekend. I am confident that if I continue to trust the plan I will be able to complete the 13.1 on November 20.
One of the reasons that it is often hard for me to trust a plan is that I think that my circumstances are unique, so the plan doesn’t really apply to me. This is just an excuse to try to take control and create my own plan, which is sometimes better but not always. In this case, I don’t know much about running, and I don’t have time to do a ton of research about the best plan. There may be better plans out there, but this is the plan that I am using.
Trusting the plan, and being optimistic about success, has completely changed my relationship with running. I am like an automaton, I just go out and run what I am supposed to run. I get to enjoy the scenery, and the run, because I am not the one doing the planning, and I am not thinking hard about any run beyond the one that I am doing right then. I am not thinking “this three mile run is stupid, because how is running three miles today going to get me ready to run 11 this weekend?” I don’t know, I don’t really need to know, I just do it, and so far I have been able to make all of my long runs pretty well. Then, when I set out on my long run, I just say “I know that this will be hard at the beginning and the end, but I also know that I can do it.”I can apply this to many other areas of my life, areas where I would do better to trust a simple plan. With big things, I need to trust that God has a plan and just do what I have to do each day. With little things, that can seem insurmountable, it helps to have a plan. A meal plan on a white board, for example, means that I don’t have to think too hard about what is for dinner and frees up some mental space. A plan for laundry is crucial to my mental health — all of the laundry is never done in our house, but if I can go to bed knowing that I did what I was supposed to do today, now, whether it is one load or sheets or whatever, I can have peace. I don’t do laundry on the weekends, and every Monday I am stressed about a pile of laundry that will never get under control. But I do two or three loads a day, and every thursday I am caught up. Every Friday I try to make sure that the kids have put away all the clean laundry that is hanging around the laundry room. Lather, rinse, repeat. Laundry does not have to be a crisis, I just have to remind myself to trust the plan. We homeschool a little bit everyday, most days, and by June my kids have always done a full year of school. Every time, I don’t know why, I freak out along the way and then I am surprised that the plan actually worked!
It is worth reflection. Are there areas in your life where you could use more trust, or where you need a plan? Who can help you create that plan? Without totally giving up your freedom or your wisdom, can you accept a plan that someone else made?