I had an epiphany today. It didn’t come through JP2. It didn’t come through TOB. Not even through running itself. Well, not quite.
Here’s the story. My friend texted me last night. Her text was too funny, so I have to write it here word-for-word.
“I may need some tips/motivation/accountability for the Disney Run I agreed to in January…it was supposed to be 10k…but then the slots filed up and I somehow found myself signed up for a Half Marathon so…halp!”
I have never heard of someone accidentally signing up for a half marathon. It’s like a 21st century comedy of errors!
But after my initial bout of laughter, I realized how providential this request was. After all, I started this blog to explore how running and Catholicism are related. I also want to use my research to create a running training program for Catholic women that empowers them to reflect on their God-given strength, beauty and power. And here was a Catholic girlfriend who was asking me to help her train for a race.
God wasn’t letting me drag my feet any longer.
I’ve already created the exercise training plan. There are a lot of examples out there. I just cherry-picked and adjusted what I thought would work for her based on my own race experiences. I also just got a Track and Field Coaching Certificate from the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching, so I took some of their advice on training runners.
Overall, each week there will be: 3 days of running, 1 day of yoga, 1 day of strength training, 1 freebie day (cardio of choice, including the option of completing an additional run), and 1 rest day.
The more intense part – but also the most enjoyable part for me – is creating the spiritual training plan. Right now, I’m imagining three scripture passages and reflections a week, since there will be three required runs a week. I want to have a spiritual theme for each of the 12 weeks in the program.
Each theme will connect to the common feelings/thoughts/experiences of that point in the training. For example, I’m always really excited during the first week of my training. By the fifth week, though, I’m typically a little grumpier about running. But those thoughts and feelings totally connect to the spiritual life. If you’re Catholic, imagine how you feel about not eating meat on Fridays in the third week of Lent versus the first. (Granted, not eating meat on Friday sucks at any point in Lent. But I feel like it is even more annoying closer in the middle.)
As I was brainstorming the themes, I realized that 12 weeks could be broken into three months. THREE. So then of course I thought about how if my months were to have themes, they would be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Which of course makes sense, because the first month is the beginning – like God. The second month is the most difficult part of training, because your body is exhausted and you want to give up but you have to keep going to get to the other side – like Jesus. Then, finally, the joy and feeling of accomplishment in the last and final month – the Spirit.
You guys…training for a race is triunal!
And okay, not all training schedules are 12 weeks long. Some are less. Some are more. But most of the ones I’ve followed have been 12 weeks. And if I want to connect running with faith, 12 weeks is certainly the best format to do that.
So now I need to work on the best scriptures for each reflection before my friend starts her training in two weeks. And maybe I should think about creating a journal for my friend to use. And I need to think about whether I want to record the scripture for her to listen to during her runs, or just give them to her in a workbook. So much to think about!
I’m so glad she agreed to be a guinea pig for this program. I hope what I create is useful for her, and that she gives me constructive feedback to make the program even better for a wider audience.
Off to create now!