Core training:

It’s about more than just the act of running. Strengthening the core doesn’t look like running but it’s imperative.

Serious runners learn that to run at their peak they must do more than just run.  There is much that goes into being a successful runner and in articles to come; we’ll talk about some of ideas pertaining to that topic.  For this time, however, the topic is strengthening the core.

Those who are not runners may already be asking, “What is strengthening the core?”  The concept behind this is that to run well, the entire body needs to be in shape, not just the parts that outwardly appear to be doing the work.  The causal observer might think that runners simply need strong leg muscles and good lung capacity.  And, while that is true, it is far from being the only or even the main thing that contributes to becoming a successful runner.  There are certain areas of muscles that contribute in a very necessary way to a runner’s success and if they are not attended to, he may run well some of the time and may feel fit, but the runner has really fallen far short of his potential.  He may even set himself up for injuries and have a more difficult time coming back from them, simply because he neglected the core.

The core is basically the area around the abdomen; the back and stomach muscles.  These muscles are central to a runner achieving his potential.  As you may guess, working these areas doesn’t appear much like running.  It’s not; it includes lifting weights and doing stomach crunches among other, not always appealing exercises.  However, if the runner is serious about wanting to reach his peak, about reaching his stride, he will not only tackle these core exercises, but will make them a central part of his running life. No one observes this part of the runner’s regimen. Such discipline is not always easy; in fact, sometimes it is a struggle, but the runner is always better for it.
As youth workers, are we paying attention to our core?  If you’ve been reading these postings, by now you know the direction we’re heading … It’s so easy to go through the motions of what is good ministry. Certainly, we should all be striving to give God our best.  We have studied good youth ministry, good teaching ministry, good pastoral ministry, etc.  We should be offering God our best in these. Still, could we be more effective if we took the time to strengthen our core?
Take time for personal Bible study and prayer.  Try to hook into a Bible study once in a while in which you are not the leader, but a participant.  Try to create opportunities for worship in which you are free to be part of the worship.  Make this regular and intentional.

You are a leader in ministry, but to be at your best you need to make strengthening your core, your faith, a priority and a regular part of your life.  Being a runner takes discipline and knowledge in many areas.  When the runner embraces the difficult, he is better able to hit his stride and not only run to his potential, but also enjoy the experience.