"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

ROCC Run For God - Hit the Wall? (Week 4)

There is absolutely no place I would rather spend my Monday evenings than with our RFG study group. So, when the unexpected prevents my attendance, well, it's a bummer to say the least.  But thanks to a willing and wonderful substitute teacher, (my lovely better half for those that couldn't make it last night), the class went off without a hitch. In fact, the first study to end on time since early in season one!

Thank you C, and thanks to all that helped to lead the run and topical interaction. I can't wait to hear how everyone is doing with the increased run time and any thoughts about week 4 material.  Below I have provided the slide set, along with a few comments (remember, you can click on a slide to enlarge it). I have also included a video of Ryan Hall. This is not the interview shown in class, but a similar introduction to America's premier marathoner and runner of faith. If you have any questions, please let me know.

The ROCC 5K on May 11th is not only a time to celebrate your Run For God "graduation", but is an opportunity to raise funds, and awareness, for the Winston-Salem Samaritan Ministries.  You can see a brief overview of the various work that SM provides for downtown W-S within these slides. In addition, our race is partnering with WBFJ as they highlight the Samaritan Ministries as their 'Minsitry of the Month' in March. If you want to learn more,click here: The Samaritan Ministries

Ryan Hall is arguably the greatest American Marathoner in the history of the sport.  Bursting on the scene in 2007 with an American Half-Marathon record (59:43) in one of his first half competitions, Ryan has defined the idea of running with a purpose. An unconventional approach to training, (he hasn't used a coach to date), Ryan has routinely referred to running as his opportunity to praise God and worship.  Ryan finished 10th in the Beijing Olympic Marathon in '08, then in 2011 set an "unofficial" American record (2:04:58) with a 4th place finish in Boston (unofficial because it is a point-to-point race with negative elevation).  In the 2012 London Olympics, Hall had to withdraw early due to a hamstring injury, the first DNF of his pro career.

One of the many charitable organizations that Ryan supports is his own 'The Hall Steps Foundation.' He and his wife Sara (an elite middle distance and cross country athlete herself) founded the organization to fight poverty through better health.  The HSF has assisted several West African hospital construction and clean water projects over the past few years. Most recently, the Halls teamed with 2012 Boston winner, Wesley Korir, to complete a children's hospital in Kenya.  Wesley is well known for always purchasing two, foot long tuna subway sandwiches before every marathon.  One he eats and one he gives away to someone in need on the way to the race. It was his Boston winnings, along the Hall's gift, that helped to complete the project.

The Ryan Hall Story - 2008 Olympian from joshcox on GodTube.

Did you know the most common reason that marathoners "hit the wall" somewhere around mile 20, is because of improper fueling.  The body depletes its normal level of glycogen (the glucose molecule that acts as back-up energy, or reserve, for the muscles of the body) as it burns through 2500 - 3000 calories. Without proper replenishment to offset this loss of glycogen, the muscles practically stop, or hit the wall. In the early days of running this was common.  But as replenishment aids like gels and gummies have improved, along with proper carb-loading and pre-race nutrition, most runners can complete the marathon without ever running into that darn wall. 

Now, think about how we hit the spiritual wall. Doesn't it seem like it really comes down to improper fueling.  We are fed through our time in scripture, through our worship and our fellowship.  As we ignore proper nutrition, we begin to deplete the stored "energy" that was built up through this time with God and other believers.  At some point that wall just stops us in our tracks. We begin to question our desire, and our ability, to go on.  We struggle through the pain and the discomfort that the spiritual wall requires that we face.  We are left with a decision to let the wall beat us, or to fight through and renew our commitment to pre-race nutrition moving forward.

By the way, what a great verse, huh? Fall down, get back up!

Stretching: A highly debatable topic among runners; when to stretch, how to stretch, what to stretch? All good questions with various answers.  What I would suggest is that there are some general guidelines regarding stretching that have been scientifically tested.  You should pay attention to these guidelines.  After that, you should know your body and understand the specific needs that you require from stretching, based on body type, physical history, adaptation to terrain or temperature or distance, on and on. 

There are a few rules to stretching that every runner should take seriously: 1) warm up first before you stretch (walk, walk and walk some more if necessary).  2) Don't bounce! In fact, you will be more interested in dynamic stretching than you will static stretching, which usually requires more reaching and grabbing, with a potential of bouncing the muscle.  3) Don't think that a 5 - 10 second stretch is really loosening muscles and preparing for a run.  You must be intentional and stretch for  several minutes, not seconds.

The two most important notes for me around stretching is to do more dynamic stretches; leg lifts, toy soldiers, calf lifts off the curb, etc. This, along with a good walk warm up, will prepare your muscles for a run.  Following the run is a good time to do more traditional stretching of hamstrings and quads. Secondly, core exercises really do help prevent injury and help you run better. I am a believer, if only I were more disciplined in this area. It works every time that I dedicate training to core.  Outside of that, know your body and do what you need to prevent pulls and tears.  


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