Maintaining the Balance.

14 Jun

When I trained for my first triathlon back in 2009, I went all in. In addition to three workouts of each discipline a week, I was doing two days of full-body strength training. I still remember one night when I did a workout consisting of: 6 mile bike, 2 mile run, 6 mile bike, 2 mile run. While it got me into great shape and I was running faster than ever before, after that race was over, I realized that it was just too much.

I had started making frozen pizzas and macaroni and cheese for dinner, stopped cleaning my house and reading books, and felt exhausted constantly. So I cut my training back to two of each discipline a week and no weight training. It was amazing the difference it made in my energy levels, specifically dropping the weight training. I was slower in my second triathlon but I had recovered my life and my sanity.

So that’s where my philosophy of endurance training comes from. I am not willing to sacrifice my life just to be a little faster. I need time to relax. I want to eat homemade meals. I like a clean house. I want to spend time with my husband and pooches. I need time with God every day.

But I also realize that with a longer distance comes longer training times. If I want to race an Olympic distance, I have to train for one.

Like almost everything in life, there must be a balance.

After thinking about this quite a bit over the past couple of weeks and getting Travis’ blessing for me to spend more hours training (I want to make sure that my training isn’t going to be a sore spot in our marriage), I have decided to commit to training for the longer distance – with a caveat: I have to keep my priorities straight.

And those priorities (in order) are:

1. God (daily time in the Word, prayer)

2. Husband

3. Church / Fellowship

4. Job

5. Taking care of our dogs

6. Taking care of my home (cooking, cleaning, laundry)

7. Triathlon training

At times, I have felt guilty for spending so much time training. Should I spend this time helping others? Being less selfish? Should I give the money that I spend on race fees to homeless kids in Africa? That’s my never-good-enough fears kicking in. But I believe that God has given me my love and passion for endurance sports and that when people do things that they thoroughly enjoy, they showcase the glory of God because they are living according to how they were created. So I do believe that I can glorify God and train for triathlons.

But like I said earlier, there must be a balance. That balance can be summed up in two words: God first.

As I discovered earlier this year when I was unemployed, walking in fellowship with God makes all the other things in life fall into their proper places and gives everything the balance its supposed to have. Since I started back to work full-time, I have been letting training usurp my time with God. And I noticed things unraveling. I was dealing with the same problems I had been dealing with a year ago; struggling with materialism, jealousy, and anger; and feeling far from God.

No more!

I am committing to a daily 30 minutes (at least) with God and if I have to skip a workout to make that happen, so be it. Triathlons are transient; God is eternal.

Practically, I am planning my daily time with God to be in the morning, when I am most alert and in need of a reminder of eternity. I think I will still be able to fit in my whole workout (when I’m just doing one discipline) or part of my workout (when I’m doing more than one) in the morning as well. But I might be switching to night workouts anyway because Travis has agreed to do a triathlon! We haven’t decided on a race yet but it will be in August or September. I’m very excited to be able to share this passion of mine with him and to have a new training partner!

I am also going to start listening to sermons and worship music while I run and bike. I used to do this all the time but lately have been listening to Lady Gaga instead (total extremes, huh?).

I am planning on giving a training update every Monday (so that I don’t inundate this blog with training updates) and while I’m doing that, I’m also going to give a spiritual update. How is my relationship with God? Am I growing in being a servant to others and being a light in the workplace? Or am I sliding easily into worldliness, thinking only of new clothes, fitness goals, and vanity? Working in a secular environment is definitely a challenge – to both keep myself from being pulled into the worldly mentality of expensive things, big houses and nice cars as well as be bold in sharing the truth of the gospel. But I have found that its much easier to rise to that challenge when I’m reminding myself of truth daily by reading the Bible.

So that’s my training (and life) philosophy. We’ll see if I can handle the Olympic time commitment!

2 Responses to “Maintaining the Balance.”

  1. B. in the Know June 14, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    That is intense – but a good reminder of truth. Fighting for time with the Lord is more important than anything else because He is eternal. Thanks for the reminder – encouraged to see another sister fighting.
    Much love,
    B

  2. Lisa June 14, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    This is why I love your blog – even though I’m a pretty new reader. I talk about putting God first, but it can be tough -even scary – to actually do it when you feel like it will cause you to run out of time for the day-to-day things. It’s so good to read about your thoughts and be reminded of what I need to be focused on too.

    God’s blessings to you as you work with getting the balance you need!

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