Training wheels

I started running several years ago. It was hard. The running, of course, but also the keeping running. Until I learned, in a couple of long stretches, the value of running every day. I didn’t have to think, I just had to run.

Until that didn’t work. The first time because I switched to marathon training, the second time when my knee hurt too much.

I rehabbed my knee, discovered that it was arthritis (rather than a tear or something worse), and was clear to run. At least my body was. My brain was not so good about being ready to run. And I was choosing to not go back to “run every day.”

Finally, I turned to a tool I’ve used before. I started putting X and O on the downstairs bathroom mirror. X for a run of any length. O for a day without a run. My informal rule was no more than two O in a row.

I started the week after Christmas. I erased the chart April 28. It’s not because it takes 28 days to make a habit. The research on that is sketchy. It’s because going running doesn’t need the training wheels of a check mark.

The X and O, the completed chart, are never exactly the point. You don’t build cardio endurance by making an X with a dry-erase marker. And technically, running isn’t the point.

But I want to be healthier. Running is the simplest (not easiest) way for me to pursue that.

Every Sunday, at the end of the prayer after the message, I thank God for giving us training wheels for talking with him. And I say to him the words we know as “The Lord’s Prayer.” (Read more here)

The words themselves are not magic. And there are no points for the number of times we say them.

But I want to be healthier. Sometimes, that prayer is the simplest (not easiest) way for me to pursue that.

Tomorrow starts a new month. I’ll be running, though not making Xs. And I’ll be talking with God.

Join me.