Stick To The Programme

Race Day is now only two weeks away and today was my last long run before the marathon itself. As I’ve mentioned in recent weeks my times have improved considerably over the last month to the extent that this morning I was running a minute per mile faster than my projected race pace. I am of course delighted with this and can only put it down to having finally overcome the virus which struck me down during the summer.

With two weeks to go I now enter the stage of my training plan known as the taper. This is where you reduce your mileage and focus on rest and recovery so that you reach the start line refreshed, healthy and injury free. All the hard work has been done and it is now just a matter of keeping your body and mind ticking over until the big day itself. And having run over 130 miles during the last three weeks I should be looking forward to this enforced scaling down of my training schedule.

Marathon runners, however, have a love/hate relationship with the taper. It is difficult to adjust to a regime of lower mileage when you have been pounding the roads for the better part of three months. The mind starts to play tricks on you. Will I lose my fitness? Am I putting on weight? Have I peaked too soon? All these thoughts have assaulted me during previous tapers and I no doubt will entertain them all over again in the coming days.

Part of me wishes the race was tomorrow but the logical part of my brain reminds me that I need this period of winding down in order to be fully wound up come race day. The taper is just as important as the 20 mile long run. At this stage of the journey I have come too far only to blow it all by overtraining and arriving at the start line tired and jaded. For the next two weeks less is more. I need to relax, have faith in the plan and be patient.

Unfortunately relaxation and patience are not two of my strongest characteristics. So I’ll fret and I’ll worry over the next two weeks. Which I know is ridiculous as I have been through this six times before and on each occasion the taper worked and I arrived at the start line in the best shape I could possibly be in. It all comes down to a lack of faith. In myself and in the training plan which has never let me down before and won’t let me down this time either if I would only stop stressing and wise up.

I’m a bit like that when it comes to my spiritual training plan. I know that God has a plan for my life but I become restless and frustrated when things don’t go as I feel they should be going. I get angry, sulk or feel sorry for myself as I watch my life meander along. I want everything yesterday rather than accept that God knows best and allow the plan to be revealed in His time and not my own. My lack of faith unsettles me. It is selfish and disobedient. I should know better.

God has never let me down before and has dragged me out of some almighty self inflicted messes along the way. So I just have to bite my lip and accept that He knows best no matter how much it pains me at times. Just like I need to bite my lip and accept this taper period for what it is; all part of a bigger plan designed to benefit me in the long run. My short sightedness needs to see beyond the here and now and appreciate the bigger picture. Be it 26.2 miles in a fortnight or the rest of my life as a follower of Jesus I just need to stick to the programme.

Jeremiah 29:11 – ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’

Are you a patient person? Or do you struggle?

Are you good at sticking to plans?

22 thoughts on “Stick To The Programme

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  1. Jeremiah 29:11 is my life verse! 🙂

    I am far from a patient person. I know it’s something I need to work on but the struggle is real! LOL

    I also have a hard time sticking to plans. Again, another thing I need to work on!

    Great blog post, as usual! Good luck in the race!

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  2. Patience is definitely not my strong suit. I often joke that I wish God would give me patience, and give it to me right now! But, over the years, ever so slowly, God has enabled me with patience, mostly in the seasons for which I needed it most.

    Now plans, you’ve hit the nail on the head there. I am a planner by nature, in all my years in Corporate Communications, I’ve executed countless plans. I can plan and organize the stuffing out of things, but I also have learned that with planning must come flexibility. That’s because God doesn’t follow my plans, I follow His.

    Take the time, don’t stress, enjoy the taper. Looking forward to reading about, and hopefully seeing photos, of the run. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” (1 Corinthians 9:24, ESV) And, no matter how well you run in the upcoming marathon, you’ve already won the ultimate prize!

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  3. Patience it not my virtue but thanking God He has all the patience, and He is helping me get better :):) I am good at planning and sticking to it. I’ve also learned my plans are just that, mine. God might and quite often does have other plans. His plans are always the better ones, even though I don’t always understand :):)

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  4. Trusting God isn’t easy especially with someone like me who likes to be in control of things. It’s difficult to totally take my hands off the wheel and allow Him lead. However I am getting better at this. I beat myself up when I fall short though because my impatience creeps in. Killing the flesh and allowing the spirit lead isn’t a one off event. It’s a life long journey. Thanks for this.

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  5. I like how you share your struggles. I can certainly relate. My lack of perfect faith bothers me too.

    I’ve never heard of the taper before, but it does make sense. We also need to rest in God and give him our worries.

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  6. Patient?? That is one thing i am certainly not. Its a bad trait of mine as i am impatient to be fully recovered, something that i know takes time. I would like to think in response to the second question that i do stick to plans to a certain degree. Family and work placed plans i stick to rigidly. However going back to the recovery the plan that was set for me by my doctors and dieticians has been very much the opposite. I start with the best intentions but of course “the voice” pipes up and sticks a massive spanner in the works.

    I am full of admiration for you doing this marathon i wish you all the luck in the world, you are going to smash it. As doctors have told me it is important to look after your body and same can be said for you as you countdown to the big day. Good luck and well written as ever.

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  7. Patience is a virtue to which I continue to aspire. I love how you liken your patience issues with tapering to your patience in your spiritual walk. My prayer for you is that with every mile you run, your patience in the spirit grows exponentially!!!! Happy Marathoning!

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  8. I don’t know if this makes me a patient person or not, but I noticed many years ago that life has a way of working itself out. What I tend to worry about is whether or not I’m hindering my own progress in some way or another.

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  9. I know what you mean…sometimes relaxing and tapering is harder than running 20 miles. Most people don’t understand this and think we are more than a little crazy. Best wishes on the marathon. It sounds like it will go well for you.

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