Don’t Try Harder, Bring Jesus

The other day I was out doing a workout on one of my favorite paths here near Stanford called Sawyer Camp. Sawyer Camp is a lightening-fast path that I have spent the last decade running grueling tempo runs on. I recorded a workout I ran here in “Running with Joy” during my buildup for the 2010 Boston Marathon. Sawyer Camp is one of my favorite places to workout because it is where I first broke through as a professional runner when my average tempo run pace improved from 4:55 per mile to 4:35 per mile for an 8 miles.

Breakthrough is an amazing thing to experience. The feeling of reaching a level you have always dreamed of experiencing is deeply satisfying. I train for years and years with the expectation of achieving such breakthrough. The only problem with experiencing breakthrough is that it is extremely addictive because its satisfaction, though deeply gratifying at the time, doesn‘t last long before you are wanting to get to a higher level.

I believe that just because the feeling of breakthrough is not lasting it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t go after breakthrough. I believe that as David experienced breakthrough and even named a place after breakthrough (Baal Perazim meaning Lord of the breakthrough…2 Samuel 5:20) it is something we should always be going after. God is the author of breakthrough and as His creation and His sons and daughters He wants us to taste breakthrough. While He doesn’t want breakthrough to determine our joy He does want us to experience breakthrough in our lives.

One of my favorite things about running is going after breakthrough. I love tweaking workouts, nutrition, rest, therapy, ect to do my part in going after breakthrough. However, I have learned after years and years of effort the best way to go after breakthrough is not to try harder, it’s to bring Jesus.

Facing a big workout, the temptation is always to think I just need to try harder than ever before. Don’t get me wrong I believe God wants us to bring 100% of what’s inside of us to every workout, which has an entirely more powerful meaning when we realize all that is inside of us. As a runner who has received the free gift of an adoption as a son of God through the sacrifice of Jesus, the most powerful thing that I have in me to bring to workouts and races is Jesus (Col. 1:27). Therefore, if I want to taste breakthrough, I just have to bring Jesus, who lives in me.

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  1. Dale Liff
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 4:02 am | Permalink

    So instead of the saying “Bring It!” it should be “Bring Him!”
    Thanks for the encouragement brother! I’ve been struggling with injuries for most of 2010, but I know that He can bring healing and restore the joy that I find in running.
    Merry Christmas to you and Sarah!

  2. Taylor
    Posted January 7, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Hey Ryan, just came across this site. Love your insight man, it’s very encouraging coming from an athlete of your stature. It is often hard to approach running with humility and joy and easy to make it a vain and conceited effort. Thanks for being real about it, means a lot.
    How involved are you with World Vision? I play music with a few artists who represent World Vision and would be interested in getting involved on the running side too.


  3. Posted January 20, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    What a great resource!

  4. Posted January 24, 2011 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Superb blog post, I have book marked this internet site so ideally I’ll see much more on this subject in the foreseeable future!

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