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.