Friday, November 25, 2011

Praying and Running.

I had a great 10 mile run this morning and even though it is the day after Thanksgiving I had an experience that I can truly be thankful for during that run. We are spending this Thanksgiving weekend with family in MI and even though many of us were participating in a Turkey Trot(5k race Thanksgiving morning) and even though I knew I would be running at least 1 or 2 other days while we were up here, I forgot to pack my polar running watch.

The watch gives me all of my stats in both real time and stores the results for analysis later. So while I am running I can keep an eye on my pace, heart rate, elapsed time etc. I have noticed lately that while I used to use my runs as a time to spend in prayerful contemplation, as my seriousness about competitive running grows the watch and stats are getting more and more of my attention during the run. I have noticed that run is no longer about the prayer, not even about the run. Rather the run has become about the stats. The pace, the distance, the aerobic output.

When I found distance running, I felt like God had drawn me to it to give me the time of solitude that I needed to grow in my relationship with Him through a deep prayer life. But, as I said for a while before this morning I had traded that time of prayer for a compulsion about my running stats. It had actually gotten to the point where I was beginning to feel like I was choosing running over prayer. And that didn't feel good at all.

But this morning I ran 10 miles with and average pace of 7:30. Given my hurt foot and going all out in a 5k yesterday, that is no better and no worse than I would have done had I obsessively watched my stats and ignored my Lord. As I write this post I can honestly say that I am thankful that I left my polar at home and re-discovered the time of quiet, prayerful contemplation during my run.

Oh yeah, this is where my run started and ended. The scene for me brings up all kinds of other things to be thankful for.


nm said...

When we lived in the country, on my morning walk, I would say the Rosary. Thanks for the reminder. Walking, running a good time for prayer

Brian Vinson said...

I run speed work once per week while I'm in training and not at all when I am in maintenance mode, and as long as I'm not running speed work, I don't pay that much attention to the Garmin. I, too, find great prayer time in distance running. Or I take the time to listen to sermon podcasts without being distracted. But there are days when I'm constantly looking at the watch, doing the math in my head...