“No training seems pleasant at the time. In fact, it seems painful. But later on it produces a harvest of godliness and peace. It does that for those who have been trained by it. So lift your sagging arms. Strengthen your weak knees” -Hebrews 12:11-12
Do you experience the “runners high” on most of your runs? Sometimes I wonder if it is an urban legend designed to trick people into running! It is described as “a state of euphoria while running.” This elusive feeling is not something I feel while I train almost every day and after having logged thousands of miles.
Maybe it’s about expectations?
I don’t question whether it exists but whether you are supposed to feel it while you are running. I believe most of us find running hard and that we feel good afterwards rather than during a run. After a run I am usually more focused, relaxed, patient and just feel good that I have accomplished something on my own! Is that the “runner’s high”? If so, then great!
There is something fulfilling about completing something on our own without the help of a computer, a car, or other technology. It’s just you, the Lord, the earth, and an internal goal to finish as you prepare for that race, try to lose weight, clear your mind, or other reasons that motivate each of us. Ultimately we end up being healthier physically, mentally, and spiritually.
I see many similarities to this and living a Christian life. How many of us would say we have seen an amazing miracle or experienced the Holy Spirit in a way that transformed our life? If you did, do you think your faith would remain at that level for the remainder of your life? Even those who have had incredible spiritual encounters, including the Disciples, were known to question their belief in our Lord, to doubt, and to fail to live according to His Word. Although I have experienced wonderful things that I believe the Lord has done for me, sometimes it’s not until afterwards that I can fully appreciate how truly blessed I am.
It is no surprise that it requires hard work to live a spiritually and physically healthy life. As we may pray daily, there are no guarantees our prayers will be answered as expected. While we may follow a specific training plan, we can not always expect the results we have planned. Regardless of the outcome, we must work hard to take care of our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. This is a real challenge in a society where we are often too busy to stop and pray outside of Sunday services, too tired to exercise, or too quick to choose the unhealthy snack. We must understand that it takes discipline to practice our faith and to live a healthy life.
Running can truly be a blessing that allows one to strengthen their faith by praying before, during, and/or after a run as well as reflecting on life and our Lord while putting one foot in front of the other.
While the runner’s high may be elusive to many, the benefits you can receive by exercising and praying regularly are not!