Reflections on the Run #6: Rest, Recovery, and the Paschal Pattern of Life

It’s been a bit quiet around Rev.Run lately. Most of my sermons these past few weeks have been from an outline instead of a manuscript, so there’s really nothing to post homiletically. With a bustling church and school there is never a dull moment, and part of the challenge of this vocation is discerning priorities and sticking to them. Most days I love what I get to do, and feel honored to be invited into people’s lives and walk with them through the joys and sorrows of life.

That may sound a bit platitudinous, so let me tell you what that looks like for this priest on the run. It looks like waking up very early to log an 18 mile long run before heading to the church to officiate a funeral for a mother who died too young. It also means going to visit a young couple that got married at the church a few years ago as they adjust to their new life with a newborn. Life and death often go in tandem like that.

Life and death are part of the paschal pattern of life. It is, I think, part of what Jesus meant when he said “Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose it for my sake will find themselves saved.” It’s not unlike the pattern in marathon training of exertion and rest. It’s not just about nailing those hard workouts. Recovery and rest are essential to successful distance running.

In my marathon training I am currently in the process of tapering for my race on Sunday. After running 50+ miles per week for months, it is now time to pull back and recover effectively for the 26.2 ordeal. In some ways it is quite nice to have some extra time. I can focus on getting a little more sleep instead of waking up at 5:30 to train. Last night I watched a clever ¢99 rental from iTunes with my wife (who always falls asleep on the couch) instead of retiring early. But there is also a lot of excess energy that is starting to get pent up. Energy I hope to funnel into those long miles on Sunday.

Too much exertion in training can lead to injury and burnout. Too much rest can lead to loss of fitness. Here’s hoping that paschal pattern leads to a race well run.

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