Thursday, April 16, 2009

Moving the Set Point

In the world of body metabolism (as I understand it), the set point is a weight where your body tends to stabilize in the absence of external modifying factors such as increased activity or increased/decreased caloric intake. In layman's terms, it is the weight that feels normal. I think that there is also a set point in running (and perhaps other activities as well). For a while, 3-4 miles seems like just the right distance. But I found that if I go 6-8 for just a few days, then 3-4 no longer feels normal. It feels too short. After just a few days of 6+, then 5-7 seems more like normal--the new 3-5.

Although I had to tap out of the Fargo Marathon, it has not been the end of running for the season. I have three half marathons in the next four weeks (including the 1/2 at Fargo) that I was already registered for. Since I had an almost 10 mile run last Saturday, I feel pretty good about the upcoming races. A half marathon training set point is starting to feel pretty normal.

While running the other day, I began to wonder whether there are set points in other life experiences--like praying. At first, to sit and pray for 5 minutes feels like forever. But is there a breakthrough point, moving that 5 minutes to 10 , then 10 to 20, that makes 5 seem too short? And if so, how can we best encourage each other to re-set our spiritual set points? What will it take to convince us that it is worth the extra effort? Maybe we need a bigger goal than what we were pursuing when 5 minutes was enough?

If you are only running a 5k, then there is not really a training need to run 6-8 miles. But when the goal changes to a half marathon, then the training that needs to happen to support the new goal must increase. What is a spiritual goal that is worthy of pursuing that will drive attaining a new set point?

Press on!