The Importance of Fuel – Running Life Lesson #13

The Importance of Fuel – Running Life Lesson #13

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The fatigue was undeniable.  There was no energy left and my body slowly began to shut down like a computer shutting down key components during sleep mode.  There was nothing I could do, but to accept the inevitable.  I was toast and my run was finished.

I was excited to get in a solid 18-20 mile long run, my last long run before my first marathon less than a month away.  I was eager to get started and felt great for the first 10 miles.  This was a dress rehearsal for me.  I had my water, my energy gels, Endurlyte pills, and iPod with my carefully selected playlist.  I was ready, or so I thought.

My workout called for 15 miles at a steady pace with the last three miles at race pace.  By the time I reached mile 15 I literally could not run at my race pace, in fact I walked the last half mile with my legs cramping more with every step.  It was painful and nothing I ever experienced in my running career.  I was frustrated and confused.  I was in top shape!  What was the problem?

I worked a full day before my run.  I started at 5:00 am so I could get my work finished before I hit the road.  Everything was on track except for one major variable, I forgot to eat!  As I recounted what I ate before I started the long run that afternoon, I realized that I only consumed 400 calories the whole day.  A major oversight since I was going to burn 2,000+ calories in my workout.  I started my run in a caloric deficit and was amazed that my body allowed me to run as far as I did.  To make matters worse, it was very hot and I was coming off an injury.

That night I paid for my mistake.  My legs cramped late into the evening and it was hard to sleep.  A few days later my legs were still sore and recovering and I had to stop another workout short because of a quad strain, all related to my lack of proper eating before my long run a few days earlier.  I will NEVER make that mistake again.

I was arrogant that day and didn’t take the time to properly prepare myself for a grueling long run.  I took my health for granted and did not respect the workout.  I sometimes find myself approaching life like that, especially in my long term relationships.

Relationships like your body in a long 20 mile run must be nurtured.  You cannot just jump into a relationship and start grinding it out, just like you can’t just put on a pair of running shoes and hammer out 20 miles without proper preparation and care.  Here are some things to think about when it comes to long lasting and fruitful relationships:

  1. Respect the relationship.  Seems easy, but we tend to discount those that we have known for a long time and take it for granted.  Take stock of those that are close to you and take time to thank them for their friendship.
  2. Plan the relationship.  In order for me to complete a 20 mile run I must plan my water stops by placing water bottles on various spots along my route.  I must carry energy gels with me along with the proper amount of electrolytes to get me through the run.  If you want a relationship to last and be of value for the long term, then you must plan that as well.  Be intentional in your relationships.  Make a phone call, plan a lunch, send a note, and remember a birthday or anniversary.
  3. Fuel the relationship.  I missed this point big time on my last long run and I paid for it.  Don’t do that in your relationships.  Love is the fuel of any relationship.  It comes in many forms, but boils down to one simple principle, take your eyes off yourself, and serve the other person.  When you love people by serving them, then you are living life the way God intended and will guarantee long and fulfilling relationships.

Don’t “bonk” in a relationship like I did in my long run!  What are you doing to fuel the relationships that mean the most to you?

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