I have a book called Marathon: The ultimate training guide. It’s by Hal Higdon. He’s 83.
At the back, in the appendix, are four training plans. Here’s what I know. You can get training plans for free through a simple web-search. They are for the self-directed, the independent, the learn it the hard way. But they are available.
In the the rest of the book, Hal talks about training for a marathon. It’s the soft stuff, the stories, the encouragement. He tells beginners that it will be hard, but to expect that. He says to ignore the purists. He describes what it will feel like to run consistently, the pains to expect, the joys to be found. He tells what it was like in the old days, before we knew better.
Hal’s been running for a long time. He’s been teaching for a long time, too. To read the book, you’d think that his way of coaching is to run with people. As you read the book, you discover that he’s learned a lot while running and coaching. For someone like me, who has never run a marathon, Hal’s book makes it seem possible to maybe think about it. I have this sense that he’d encourage me, that his book is for normal people like me rather than for elite athletes.
Marathon has got me thinking about following God. I’m thinking that giving people a schedule of activities is helpful. But so are the stories of the struggles. Stories like Hal’s about not finishing the first three marathon’s he tried. Which is a lot like Peter trying to understand Jesus and missing it the first few times. And just like Hal didn’t redefine a marathon as a distance of 26 yards and 385 feet, Peter kept conversing, kept learning, kept trying.