running

The Race With Grace

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." --Colossians 3:23-24

Read: Colossians 3

At The WallHer face said it all. As Loretta finished the Nike Women's Half Marathon this weekend, exhaustion met joy and mission met accomplishment. Now, I don't mean to over-dramatize the moment, but I think Paul was on to something when he talked about the Christian life as a race -- a race that believers are called to run with endurance and never aimlessly. Over the last few years, we've written entries after marathons, many of which are among my favorites. And with the week's race being almost over, I thought it appropriate for today.

For some of you, the week was steep. The phone never rang, the e-mail didn't arrive, or your health didn't cooperate. For others, everything was downhill, and you could do no wrong. Either way, I think our dear friend Sandie Powell said it best when she said, "The amazing thing is that He is as proud of our attempt (to run) as he is in our finish." And she's right. Did Loretta win the D.C. Half Marathon last weekend? Well, maybe only in my eyes, but my eyes are the only ones that mattered. She wasn't the fastest, but she gave it all she had and there was no doubt where she was headed...straight to me.

I want to live like that, don't you? I want everything I do and say, how I treat my health and how I love others to show the world that I'm on a road that leads to the only One that matters. From start to finish, I'm in this race with grace. And after the uphills, the downhills and even the pitfalls, when mission meets accomplishment -- not ours, His -- I want my face to say it all.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. Fresh off the D.C. Half Marathon, there may be a couple of race-themed entries next week. In the pic above, Letta has just found her name on the Nike wall. Neat moment...

"The amazing thing is that He is as proud of our attempt (to run) as he is in our finish." --Sandie Powell

PRAYFIT DIET: CARB SWAPS Making simple switches can help you to slow down digestion and boost your health

When it comes to the age-old struggle between white rice and brown rice, which one comes out on top? In The PrayFit Diet, we take to answering this question and others like it.

While white rice is not necessarily bad for you, it can be higher on the glycemic index -- meaning a higher spike in blood sugar -- which is not ideal for weight loss. But provided you are not dousing it in butter and other calorie-rich sauces, you're not doing too bad for yourself. However, since eating two servings or more per week of brown rice has been shown to decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 16 percent or more, brown rice holds the edge.

>> To get more healthy-living carb swaps like this, pick up a copy of The PrayFit Diet today!

I Run...

We needed a little good news in the Peña home and last night we got some. Loretta, the runner in the family, got a much-anticipated e-mail from the New York City Marathon Organizing Committee. They wrote simply, "Congratulations, Loretta! You're in." Indeed, come November, my wife will be running the five boroughs. And I, of course, will be perched at my usual spot, the finish line. Neat thing, along with her email, she was given the chance to claim her "I Run" badge. Some of the options are:

I Run...For Life. I Run...Because I can. I Run...For the love of it. I Run...For the race of a lifetime. I Run...For everyone who can't.

If there were a badge for all of the above, I think she'd wear it.

Well if you're like me, you may not be planning on running the NYC Marathon, but you walk your block, you lift weights, or maybe you swim laps, all in order to keep yourself in the race -- a race that Paul urged us to run with persistence and endurance. Guys, the Biblical truth is that you can do everything God wants you to do. I wonder if they could fit that on a badge.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Whether you're an avid runner or not, what does your badge say? Talk to me. And if you can guess what my badge would say, I'll send you a complimentary signed copy of my new book.

PRAYFIT PRAYER JpegBOOKS & BONUSES: As you read here on Monday, we're excited to be rolling out our second book, "The PrayFit Diet," on April 8. But for those that pick up a copy early, spoils await. Order here before the official release date and receive a pair of bonus downloads:

Starter's Guide: Featuring a breakdown of the perfectly balanced 33-day PrayFit Diet, this guide also includes your first week's shopping list and seven days of detailed meal plans.

The PrayFit Prayer: One of the most widely shared posts in PrayFit history is now available as a downloadable, high-res PDF poster. The PrayFit Prayer, seen here, reminds us of our ultimate motivations for health.

Order your copy today and share the link with your social media networks!

Chasing Josh

The American record holder in the 50K sits down with PrayFit to chat faith, running JoshJosh Cox is one of the world's best at putting one foot in front of the other for unseemly distances. A native of San Diego (Calif), Cox set the American record in the 50K (31.05 miles) in 2011 with a time of 2 hours, 43 minutes and 45 seconds, smashing his own previous U.S. record in the process. Over his career, he's encountered adversity both on and off the course, all of it setting him on the path the Lord had in store for him the entire time. Now, this father and husband -- he and his wife welcomed a son, Asher Legend, in 2011 -- dishes on what's made him so successful, both in running and in his walk.

“Jimmy and the PrayFit team embody the words Paul penned to Timothy, ‘For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.’ (1 Tim. 4:8) Their daily devotional feeds my spirit and inspires my sweat!” --Josh Cox, elite ultramarathoner, American record holder in the 50K

Josh Cox Height: 6'0" Weight: 147–156 Hometown: San Diego, CA Residence: Mammoth Lakes, CA Family: Wife, Carrie; Sons, Asher Legend, Joshua Tristan Armor Race Highlights: 2011: PF Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, 1st. 2010: Boston Athletic Association 5K, 1st; Comrades Marathon, 180th; Moeben Ultra 25K, 1st; Malibu Half Marathon, 1st; Zappos.com Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, 1st.

PRAYFIT: As one of the world's premier long distance runners, you spend a lot of time running solo. Where does your mind wander during a long run?

JOSH COX: Fortunately, I train with an amazing group, the Mammoth Track Club. I’ve heard it said that we become the average of our five closest friends, so I try to keep fast company! Having workout partners works wonders for accountability. Being surrounded by talented individuals who share a common vision and a common goal always reaps rewards. It’s like what Solomon said, “As iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

With that said, running is a solitary sport, even when training in a group. Growing up, I was a soccer player -- I loved the game but in order to really practice I needed others. With running, all I needed was an alarm clock and open road. I still love that about the sport. Running is my alone time, my thinking time, my praying time, my creative time, my time away from the calls, social networks, and the business of life. Running has always served as my daily reset button. You could say it’s my therapist. And by mile three I usually have amazing clarity.

PF: How has your faith played in to your life as an athlete? How has it affected your perspective?

JC: I’ve been blessed with longevity. I’m now in my 14th year in the sport. My perspective during that time has done a 180. When I qualified for my first Olympic Trials in ‘99 it was all about the teams, titles and records. Sure, I’d thank God after races and talk about Him in interviews but it was mainly words. Don’t get me wrong, I believed what I was saying but what was I really doing? Was giving interviews really God’s big commission for my life?

Then came 2005, a horrible year. If I live a thousand years it will be tough to top my terrible 2005. I experienced spiritual oppression beyond my worst nightmares, I was in a bad relationship, lost $60,000 in an investment...I could have been a case study for Murphy’s Law. As bad as that year was, when November came, things got worse. The doctor delivered the news: my dad had stage four cancer and seven months to live. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My dad and I didn’t have the best relationship; I knew I needed to be by his side.

A month later my brother and I were living in a hotel room next to my dad near MD Anderson Cancer Hospital in Houston. Suddenly, running, and everything else in my life, didn’t seem as important as being there for my dad. Talk about a reset button.

My dad had it all: looks, charisma, made millions in business, had a big house, convertible Mercedes, the works. But in the end he had a mountain of regrets: putting work first, not spending more time with the family, failed relationships with his children and his divorce from my mom after 34 years of marriage. My dad opened up and our relationship was restored on this side of eternity. It’s tough to put an old head on young shoulders but those months with my dad did just that. I was holding his hand and looking in his eyes when he took his last breath that July. In the aftermath I did a lot of soul searching. Did running matter? Why was I spending my life trying to lower my time on a clock? What’s the end game? A medal? A contract? A record? A team?

I nearly retired from running and went to seminary full-time; I even took some classes. Being willing to give it up was where God wanted me all along, when I came back to sport in 2007, things were totally different. Sure, I still had the drive to win and set records but I knew their proper place. My performance was no longer the verdict on me. The reality is, titles are forgotten and records are on loan but when we use our platform to do God’s work we impact lives, outlive our life, and leave a lasting legacy. That’s winning.

PF: Lots of people run. Very few people run well. What's your best, most basic advice for achieving a proper stride on a long run?

JC: With regards to form, we want everything going forward and back -- any lateral movement is wasted energy. A midfoot strike is what we’re after because it keeps the body over the foot at impact and allows the knee to act as a shock absorber. Heel striking is braking –- it slows you down and beats the body up. But frankly, for most of us, the issue isn’t form, it’s about having the discipline to get the run in. The key is to lace up the shoes and get out the door. The first step is the best step -- it’s where intent meets action. Some folks workout when they feel like it. The key to success is doing what needs to be done even when you don’t feel like it.

The first step is the best step -- it’s where intent meets action.

PF: Should distance runners only run steady paces for long distances, or is there some value in sprint intervals?

JC: Long slow distance makes long slow runners. If you want to run fast you need to run fast. Every good running program should have three key components each week:

• Intervals (400 meter sprints, with recovery in between): 3-8 miles • Tempo Runs (your goal race pace): 4-18 miles • Long Runs: 12-26 miles

The idea is to get efficient at goal race pace. Faster intervals will allow you to relax at this pace. The tempo run is when you run your goal race pace, and long runs give you the strength. All have their place in training. Run your hard days hard and easy days easy. "Stress + Rest" is the formula.

PF: With such a busy training schedule and a new baby, how do you find time to get into your bible?

JC: I’ve had loads of regrets in my life but I’ve never spent time in the Word or gone for a run and said, "That was a waste of time." It’s just like working out -- if you want to get it in you have to make it an important appointment worth keeping. I also download podcasts, books and sermons to my iPod and listen to them on my easy days.

PF: You do a ton of work for charities. Can you describe your involvement in charity and give us a bit about how people can help out?

JC: Faith is something to be lived, not sat around and talked about. I want my walk to back up my talk. I want my deeds to align with my creeds. I want to live out what I believe. Oftentimes, the church (meaning the believers in the church) is caught up in catering to others in their building, when being a Christian is so much more than going to Sunday School and Bible studies, it’s remembering the poor, remembering the oppressed, helping the widow, being the hands and feet of Christ, these are things we’re called to do.

Faith is something to be lived, not sat around and talked about. I want my walk to back up my talk. I want my deeds to align with my creeds.

Ghandi said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” The way we be like Christ, the way we follow Christ, is to serve as He served. My goal in athletics, and life, is to pursue my passions and use my gifts to serve. Anyone can use a gift for personal gain; the key to success is making your gift valuable to someone else. Asking, "How can I help?" and delivering on that question will open dozens of doors. The more you serve others, the more impact you make. The most influential folks in history –- those with statues and streets bearing their names –- are those who used their gifts and passions to serve mankind. If you want to have long, lasting, real success, find a way to use your aptitudes to serve others. Help someone reach their potential; in helping them reach theirs, you'll reach your own.

I’ve partnered with Team World Vision for years. World Vision is one of the world’s largest NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) -- they empower the indigenous people and give them the tools and support to pull themselves out of extreme poverty. They’re giving folks a fishing pole rather than the fish. No one does more life changing work on the ground. This year we’re partnering with Lopez Lomong, a former Sudanese Lost Boy and U.S. Olympian to bring clean water to his homeland. Fifty dollars provides clean drinking water for one person...for a lifetime. Few things are as rewarding as bringing clean water to a child in need. Folks can get involved or donate here, no amount is too small: Click here to support Josh's efforts for South Sudan

This year I’m beginning a partnership with Stand Up To Cancer. This is passion of mine for obvious reasons. We hope to do some fundraising around an effort of mine in the fall.

>> For more on Josh Cox, visit his official website at www.joshcox.com. You can also join his social networks here: Twitter - JoshCoxRun Facebook - Josh Cox YouTube - JC

 

Distance Yourself

"He who walks with the wise grows wise, but he who walks with fools suffers harm." --Proverbs 13:20

Read: Proverbs 13

Leading up to her third marathon, my wife had a simple plan: find her pacer and stay close to him or her no matter what. See, most marathon organizations provide the runners with all sorts of tools and techniques to help them through the grueling course -- from seminars on stride, tactics for tackling hills, and perhaps most notably, they offer the runners a pacer.

A pacer is a man or woman capable of finishing the race at an exact time. And when I say exact, I mean exactly that. Kevin (pictured here) ran through the finish line at three hours and 35 minutes -- just what he was asked he'd do. Now, Kevin didn't know who was counting on his pace. All he knew was that someone would be relying on his experience, strength and endurance to help them along their way toward their goal.

In our daily pursuit of spiritual and physical stewardship, we all need pacesetters. People who God places in our lives to help us stay the course. Not only that but God may, in fact, bless us with the privilege of being that for someone else, and it's an honor we can't take lightly. Like Kevin, we may or may not know who is, but someone is depending on us to know the way and show the way. So let's take inventory. Who are we running with? And more importantly, who's setting the pace? Is he or she helping us make Godly choices when it comes to our life and health? Are we helping them with theirs?

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. Kevin was a little surprised when I asked him for a photo. Perhaps it's typical for the pacers to be invisible after a race. But I had to ask him to stop, especially when I read the back of his shirt. "Distance Yourself" it said. Wow. Perfect for our verse of the day. Thanks for inspiring us Kevin. We want to keep up.

TWITTER QUESTION: Yoga

Yesterday on Twitter I was asked if I thought yoga was a conducive form of exercise for the Christian. It's not the first time I've been asked the question, but I've never addressed it here. So, for the fitness section today, we're talking yoga.

My first true experience with yoga came not too long ago. I wanted to improve my core strength, flexibility as well as pelvic floor issues in the weeks and months leading up to my spine surgery. Now, mind you, this is a former heavy-lifting, chalk-flying, barbell-hoisting (you get the picture) kind of guy, so I definitely felt like a fish out of water.

I started at home with a beginner's DVD on core and flexibility. It was good, tough and I felt like I was getting stronger. So I decided to take it up a notch and buy a membership to a local studio. With mat in hand, I marched myself into class. My first class. And here's where my thoughts on yoga kinda begin.

The first thing the instructor did after we were all in place was to begin a chant. I'm not sure what language it was in -- I really didn't care. all I know is that I started talking to the Lord; and fast. I hope I don’t offend anyone by saying this, but it was offending my spirit. The instructor continued to chant and I remember going so far as to say the Our Father. True story. Anything I could say to the Lord in my mind to help me drown out what I knew wasn't being said to Him. Alas, before the chant was over, I quietly and discreetly rolled up my mat and left. They didn't miss me.

Now, I tried a few other classes that month, the ones without any hint of chanting, and I enjoyed the instructors and classes and I know I was improving physically. Then came the surgery and almost three months later, here we are.

All of that to say this: The Lord sees the heart, and if something’s not right, you know it. He knows it. Trust me, there’s enough going on in weight rooms to fill a dozen entries, so I’m not trying to single out yoga as something that nobody should do. I think the physical benefits of yoga are outstanding! But me, personally, I would rather do yoga with other Christians and listening to Christian music if I have the choice. Speaking of, I do know of some amazing and wonderful Christian yoga experts, some of which I’ll be speaking alongside in September at the International Christian Wellness Conference, and I’m thrilled.

And it’s not to say that I won’t try yoga classes in a limited way as I recover from surgery, but here it is: Any teachings intended to infect the heart and mind that aren’t biblical shouldn’t be anywhere near the Christian. And if I can avoid those situations, I will. I know that sounds narrow-minded, but we’re on a narrow road. My health is a means of praise and my center is Jesus.

Want to be part of the PrayFit Twittersphere? Follow us by clicking here!

We Are The Crowd

"Jesus stopped and said, 'Call him.' So they called to the blind man, 'Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you!' Throwing his cloak aside, he leaped to his feet and came to Jesus."--Mark 10:49-50

Read: Mark 10

No need to adjust your computer screen, that’s indeed the same verse as yesterday's entry. But I just had to go back to it. Ever since we posted last night, I haven’t been able to get a particular thought out of my head: The crowd knew something. Read the verse again.

Typically, we focus on either the blind man, Bartimaeus or, of course, Jesus. But the crowd's response has bugged me for nearly 24 hours. The crowd is…us. Why? Because they knew something. They knew what Jesus had the power to do in the blind man's life. Otherwise, they wouldn't have reacted as if the beggar had just won the lottery!

Read it again. Of all the thousand voices that were clamoring for Jesus to hear, that of a blind beggar behind all the others sitting on the side of the road found the ear of Jesus, and the crowd knew what that meant. Can't you just see them pause, their wide eyes, open mouths, and then their whiplash reactions as they run to the one who's number had just been called?

You and I stand among those who need to heed the call. Read the verse again (last time, I promise). Isn't Jesus calling everyone? Didn't He die for all the world? And if we've been saved and healed…aren't we the crowd who knows?

–Jimmy Peña

Question: Who in your life needs to know what you know?

GYM TIP: There's more than one way to use a treadmill. A recent study found that those who pedaled backward on treadmills and elliptical machines gained greater quadriceps and hamstring strength and had greater aerobic capacity than those who went forward. Click here for more.

bg-speaking-engagementsPeña to be Honored by UT Tyler Alumni Association: Next Friday (March 22), the University of Texas at Tyler Alumni Association will recognize five graduates at its Alumni Gala. Among those being honored will be PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña, who earned a master of science in clinical exercise physiology from UT Tyler in 1998. "It’s easy to think of Heaven on days like this," he said. "We’ve accepted an invitation we don’t deserve, to celebrate a reward we didn’t earn." Click here to read more.

Run With Me

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." --Hebrews 12:1

Read: Hebrews 12

As you may have read on some of the posts, I love to run. And while I’m no elite runner, I simply enjoy competing against myself and always try to beat my best times. Before my last race (a half marathon), I told Jimmy, “Even if I beat it by one second I’ll be happy.” Well, on mile No. 9, I began to fatigue and I knew by my watch that I was at risk of not running my best race. At that moment, someone ran up beside me and asked me what time I was shooting for. I told him I wanted to beat 1:57. He said “Okay let’s do it. That's the pace I want to keep."

We pushed each other through miles 10, 11 and 12. At mile 13, I yelled to my new friend “Let’s go, we’re almost there!” As I crossed the finish, I heard Jimmy call my name and first thing I asked him was, “What was my time?” Jimmy was set up to receive texts alerts so he knew right away. He looked up at me and said with a smile, "1:56!" I was so happy. I beat my time, and yes, it was by one second! At that very moment, my new friend and running partner ran up to me and gave me a big, sweaty hug. He told me this was his first race ever, and he simply wanted to get under the two-hour mark. He was ecstatic that he was able to do it.

You know, I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. He picked me (of all the other runners) to help him in his first race. And in doing so, he helped me with mine. Maybe it's Jimmy rubbing off on me, but it was neat for a "run" to remind me of my "walk." In today’s verse it reads, “and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”  Well that’s my heart's desire. I hope in everything I say and do I’m running in such a way as to be like Christ, just in case someone wants to run with me.

–-Loretta Peña

Loretta is a graduate of California Lutheran University and lives in Woodland Hills with her husband -- PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña -- and their two pups, The Outlaw Ms. Josey Whales and Queen Madeline. She loves the Lord, enjoys running, watching her beloved New York Yankees, all things Disney and sings a mean karaoke. 

Josh-snow3 TIPS TO A BETTER STRIDE

Looking for a more efficient, pain-free stride as you pursue your own running goals in 2013? Run down this no-nonsense checklist to start logging better runs today and feel free to share your own running tips in the comments section below.

RELATED: PrayFit endorser and American 50k record holder Josh Cox talks about life, running and faith. Click here for more.

He Moves In

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come." --2 Corinthians 5:17

Read: 2 Corinthians 5

Last year, I had the privilege of spending a week on the set of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. When it aired, I remembered the feeling I had when that family first answered the knock at the door, then came back a week later to a brand new house. Talk about gut-wrenching! Someone they never expected came into their world and freely gave them something they couldn't afford on their own. He saw where they lived and said you don't have to live here anymore.

As I stood and watched the process, I couldn't help but think of Jesus. Just like we did for that family, He knocks gently, anxiously awaiting our answer. But rather than calling for a wrecking ball, He does the unthinkable: He moves in. Instead of a hammer, He carries a suitcase. He gives us something we could never afford on our own -- Himself -- saying we don't have to live here anymore, alone.

–-Jimmy Peña

TRIVIA RESPONSE

Yesterday we had a question for runners: What burns a greater percentage of fat calories? High-intensity intervals or low-intensity/long runs? Today, we answer.

At a low intensity, the body will burn more fat relative to the total number of calories burned, so percentage-wise, low-intensity activity burns a higher percentage of fat calories. But take that same person and have him/her train at a high intensity, and they'll burn more total fat calories, even though as a percentage of the total, it's less.

And so it was Kelly who said it first and best when she commented, "I am a runner and the low-intensity, long runs are the fat burners as far as greater % of fat burned. However, at higher intensities you burn more total calories -- and more fat calories overall -- than you do at lower intensities."

Congrats, Kelly. Go ahead and email sales@prayfit.com and let us know what store item you'd like. Be sure to please indicate RUNNING TRIVIA in the subject line. And thank you to everyone for being on PrayFit each day and week. You bless us.

A Line In the Sand

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” --Colossians 3:23-24

Read: Colossians 3 My recent trip to the water reminded me just how much my wife and I love turtles, especially those sea turtles. My dad used to say to me, “Jimmy, turtles are great because to get anywhere they gotta stick their necks out.” Well, in case you don’t share our enthusiasm, let me share some turtle trivia.

First, they’re born on the beach, even though they were never meant for the sand. And once they hatch, they don’t stick around to watch the grass grow. No sir! No sightseeing for these guys. In order to avoid the predators like birds and crabs, they run to the water as fast as they can. They might be young, but they know enough to know they’re neither safe nor at home.

And neither are we. We’re born on foreign soil and all we need to do is make our way to safety. The good news? Jesus has already defeated our predator, and He drew a line in the sand for us to follow. All we have to do is stick our necks out and run.

–Jimmy Peña

Question: What lines in the sand have you drawn for yourself, physically and spiritually? Are you committed to being obedient in quiet times as well as honoring the body through better choices of food and activity? If you want to share, please do so in the comment section. Let us celebrate and pray with you.

Bonus Trivia Question for Runners: What burns a greater percentage of fat calories? High-intensity intervals or low-intensity/long runs? Think you know? Give us your answer and justification and we may send you some PrayFit gear!

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal Cinnamon rolls. Oatmeal. Two breakfast faves that sit on opposite ends of the healthy-living spectrum -- unless you combine the best of both worlds. This recipe gives you the rich flavor of a cinnamon roll with the craving-killing fiber of oatmeal, all in one perfect breakfast bowl.

>> Click here for the recipe!

The Race with Grace

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." --Colossians 3:23-24

Read: Colossians 3

Her face says it all. Exhaustion meets joy and mission meets accomplishment. Now, I don't mean to over-dramatize the moment but I think Paul was on to something when he talked about the Christian life as a race -- a race that believers are called to run with endurance, never aimlessly. Over the last few years, we've written entries after marathons, many of which are among my favorites. But this picture, taken mere seconds before she saw me, pretty much sums it up. And with the week's race being almost over, I thought it appropriate for today.

For some of you, the week was steep. The phone never rang, the e-mail didn't arrive, or your health didn't cooperate. For others, everything was downhill, and you could do no wrong. Either way, I think our dear friend Sandie Powell said it best when she said, "The amazing thing is that He is as proud of our attempt (to run) as he is in our finish." And she's right. Did Loretta win the marathon? Well, maybe only in my eyes, but my eyes are the only ones that mattered. She wasn't the fastest, but she gave it all she had, and there was no doubt where she was headed.

I want to live like that, don't you? Everything we do and say, how we treat health and how we love others to show the world that we're on a road that leads to the only One that matters. From start to finish, we're in this race with grace. And after the uphills, the downhills and even the pitfalls, when mission meets accomplishment -- not ours, His -- our face will say it all.

--Jimmy Peña

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Through Your Life

"For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord?" --Psalm 89:6

Read: Psalm 89

Yesterday I got the most humbling invitation. The Director of Alumni Relations e-mailed me and said that the Regional Alumni Selection Committee selected me as one of four Distinguished Alumni of The University of Texas at Tyler where I attended graduate school. Not only that but I've been invited to accept the award at the Alumni Awards Gala in March being held in our honor. Friends, family and former professors will be there to celebrate and reminisce with me. Part of their correspondence said, "Thank you for your talent, your accomplishments and for bringing attention and value to your alma mater through your life."

Now, I'm sure we'll be sharing details as it comes closer, and we're already praying for the opportunity to speak at a church while we're there, but let's go back to the end of that sentence. "Through your life." Not throughout my life, but through it -- within it, inside it. Reading it the first time was rough, but re-typing it was even tougher; talk about humbling and undeserved. In that moment, I wished I had been a better student.

It's easy to think of Heaven on days like this. We've accepted an invitation we don't deserve, to celebrate a reward we didn't earn. You know, if we're allowed to reminisce about earth as we sit at Heaven's table, I know for certain that I'll wish I had been a better Christian, a stronger witness, and a closer follower. What could I have done with my life, my words, my thoughts, and my health for the Lord? Oh, but grace. Thankfully like the old hymn says, we'll "turn our eyes upon Jesus and look full in His wonderful face. And the things on earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Someday, we may just find out what more we could have done with our lives and health for the cause of Christ. I want my list to be short. What changes will you make today to ensure that you are as able and capable physically to fulfill your purpose? Let us know in the comment section below.

TRAINING TIP: RUNNING

When you get in from a run, do your back, arches and everything else hurt? We share your pain, but hopefully not for long. With these easy tips to correct your stride, your runs may quickly become more enjoyable. And in delight, there is consistency.

>> Click here for three ways you can improve your stride today.

>> The Word is out...PrayFit's new, challenging at-home workout DVD is helping people build physical and spiritual muscle! Still one of Amazon's top new releases in faith, this workout is the perfect way to reclaim your health. Share the link below with others, or order yours today!

Life is a Run/Walk

"And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us." --Ephesians 5:2

Read: Ephesians 5

An author, speaker and member of the 1972 Olympic team, Jeff Galloway is a world-class runner. He broke the U.S. 10-mile record in 1973, and among his victories are the Honolulu, Atlanta and Boston Marathons. What's his best tip? Walk. That's right. In fact, Jeff says, "Thousands of time-goal-oriented veterans have improved by 10, 20, and over 30 minutes in marathons by taking walk breaks early and often to reach their goal in the race. You can easily spot these folks. They're the ones who are picking up speed during the last few miles when everyone else is slowing down."

Almost 18 years ago, I stood in the middle of a rain-soaked football field in Austin, Texas and watched Jeff's theory being tested. For weeks she'd verbalize her goal: "One time around the track without stopping." What did she do when she didn't make it? She walked. And when she caught her breath, she'd run again. As it turns out, long before my wife Loretta ever read a book by Jeff Galloway or listened to any of his seminars, she practiced what he preached. And I'll never forget the day she made it. We shouted for joy. (She eventually turned that one lap into 26.2 miles without stopping, several times a year.)

One time around the day. You may have just entered your cubicle, dropped the kids off at school or you're about to exercise. Whatever the case, the bible says we're to run the race and walk in love. So no matter what the world has stacked against you -- be encouraged -- it's a run/walk.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. You know, it was pretty neat for me to see Loretta meet her hero of the track. Just look at her sweet face. Do you see him giving her instruction? The moment made me think that when it comes to the faith, you and I have an opportunity to follow some heroes and maybe lead as one. So today, as you run your race, make it a point to stand in the middle of someone else's lap and shout for joy.

SUNDAY SERVICE WITH PRAYFIT

The subject of physical stewardship is not a message you're likely to hear in this Sunday's sermon. But perhaps it should be. With an increasing number of our fellow congregants and family members struggling with obesity-related health issues, it's worth noting that the Lord desires abundant health for us and that even though He looks at the heart, failing to take care of the bodies He created in His image amounts to a heart issue. PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña has spoken at churches across the country, imparting the message of our health as a means of praise. Could your service be next? Check out the video below, share it with your church leaders then contact us to find out how you can bring this message to your congregation!

>> Can't wait for a church visit? Why not start a small group? Click here to get your hands on PrayFit DVDs and books and use them as your curriculum!

Deeply Rooted

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. --Ephesians 3:17

Read: Ephesians 3

If there were ever any doubts that I was sentimental, yesterday's scene removed them. Looking over the wall at the construction site next door, my heart sank. Not at what they were about to build, but at what they had to remove to do so. For days, they've been laying the dirt for a massive new set of condos and shops, and they're almost done clearing the four football fields' worth of space. The last thing that needed to go was the foliage. For the 50-foot excavator, most of the weeds and bushes were no match. But at the top of the hill stood a very old, very strong tree. The trunk was easily 8-10 feet in diameter, and likely the first tree in the field many years ago, and thus, the last one out.

The massive excavator backed up for a running start and tore into it, ramming it over and over and over again, but it wouldn't budge. It just wasn't ready to go. Eventually, the breaking of the trunk sounded like thunder, because something so deeply rooted is not so easily moved.

Deeply rooted. If you're battling something physical today, and forces beyond or within your control work to tumble you, stand firm. Yeah, I'm sentimental, but just like my tree yesterday, you can say, "Not yet," because your health is something to protect. And spiritually, the more we love and trust Him, the deeper our faith grows. With Jesus in our hearts, we're His family tree and there's salvation in the soil; and from that you cannot be removed.

--Jimmy Peña

Q&A WITH ELITE ULTRAMARATHONER JOSH COX

When it comes to running, few in this country are better at it than ultramarathoner and PrayFit supporter Josh Cox. Today, you'll get to know Josh a bit better through this candid interview. In it, he discussed his father's battle with cancer, time at seminary and what it means to give back. He also chats about what it takes to achieve a better running stride and the best thing you can do to run faster race times.

>> Click here for the full interview.

“Jimmy and the PrayFit team embody the words Paul penned to Timothy, ‘For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.’ (1 Tim. 4:8) Their daily devotional feeds my spirit and inspires my sweat!” –-Josh Cox, elite ultramarathoner, American record holder in the 50K

>> Click here to read the endorsements from other PrayFit supporters.

The Lord Never Panics

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” --Isaiah 55:9

Read: Isaiah 55

Things on the ground look pretty small from 35,000 feet. I know, because that’s where this entry was written. Halfway through a five-hour trip cross country, the flight attendant announced, “If there is a physician on board, please come to the back of the aircraft.” She repeated it three times.

Immediately two young men, including a man sitting in my row, jumped from their seats and rushed to help. The rest of us simply sat and watched as a huddle formed in the back of the plane. After maybe a minute, a gray-haired man from the front of the plane walked passed us, almost casually, to join the effort. It wasn't long before the man from my row returned to his seat and explained that a young lady had suffered a panic attack.

Curious, I asked him if he was a physician. “No," he said. “There was only one doctor among us back there. Two of us were firemen, but only one doctor -- an older man. When he showed up, we all stepped back to let him work.”

(Get me a laptop, stat.)

In life, panic attacks, and the world responds with all sorts of solutions. But like today, I know I can’t run to the rescue. Only God can. Isn't it assuring to know that He is never rattled or stressed? He's always in control and is never late. He is never surprised and has never slept. He's sovereign over your house, my house and The White House. And the problems that find us, even at 35,000 feet, are well under His.

Now I think I’ll sit back and relax. We still have a ways to go.

--Jimmy Peña

INTERVALS: METABOLISM BOOSTER

Looking for a more efficient way to burn fat? We'll say it again: high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the best method of cardio for maximizing fat and weight loss. Interspersing max- or near-max efforts with less intense bouts of recovery simply challenges your body in a way that traditional, steady-state training does not.

A study published in the American Journal of Physiology sheds some light on another way that HIIT burns more body fat.

"Researchers reported that six weeks of HIIT increased the amount of special proteins in muscle that are responsible for carrying fat into the mitochondria (where fat is burned away for fuel) by up to 50 percent," says Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days." "Having more of these proteins in muscle means that more fat can be burned up for fuel during workouts and when resting."

Try these PrayFit-crafted HIIT workouts to start building a stronger, more efficient body. And remember -- intensity is relative. Just give your best effort during the intervals. Everyone has a best -- this type of workout has you seek it repeatedly. And while most think "running" when it comes to cardio, you can perform your favorite aerobic activity in its place. Speedwalking, heavy bag work, jump rope or cycling are all perfectly acceptable substitutes for any HIIT running program you encounter. Simply apply the same training protocols to get greater benefits.

WORKOUT: TREADMILL HIIT

WORKOUT: HIIT PARADE

Of Gifts and Gratitude

"If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it." --John 15:6

Read: 1 Corinthians 12

Anyone who is blessed enough to be around children for any length of time knows that you often end up with the strangest collection of gifts. My girls are no different. Much to the dismay of our community groundskeeper, Mya and Ella are intent upon picking every flower that they see, always with a single plan in mind -- to brighten someone else's day with a makeshift, yet heartfelt bouquet.

This gesture, which holds great meaning to the girls, is quickly lost on us grown-ups. We accept the flowers with a showy smile and a nod, only to set them down in the moments to follow. We carry on with our business, leaving petals to wilt and whither from neglect. It is only when Mya and Ella return to inquire about the condition of their floral good tidings that we are suddenly forced to ponder the true value of their gift. Put plainly, the flowers matter to them because they probably carefully selected each one with me and Wendy in mind, and no explanation can soothe the heartbreak of our apparent ingratitude.

Our bodies are exquisite and unparalleled works of art. Formed from the dirt in His own garden, each for a unique purpose. And like flowers handed to you by a child, they were given to us with an expectation of continued care. How we express gratitude for our bodies doesn't just matter to us. It matters, perhaps more than we'll ever know, to the One who gifted them in the first place.

--Eric Velazquez

SPRINT TIP: INTERVALS American ultramarathoner Josh Cox recently dropped some truth on the PrayFit Nation: "Long slow distance makes long slow runners. If you want to run fast you need to run fast." Cox recommended that intervals should be part of your program each week if your goal is to build speed. But intervals also help you burn fat faster and workouts are shorter to boot. For the next few weeks, try this simple interval scheme to start getting leaner -- and faster.

Week 1: After a two-minute jog to warm-up, sprint at top speed for 10 seconds, then walk for 50 seconds. Repeat this until you have completed 10 sprints. Perform this workout on two, non-consecutive days.

Week 2: After a two-minute jog to warm-up, sprint at top speed for 11 seconds, then walk for 49 seconds. Repeat this until you have completed 11 sprints. Perform this workout on two, non-consecutive days.

Week 3: After a two-minute jog to warm-up, sprint at top speed for 12 seconds, then walk for 48 seconds. Repeat this until you have completed 12 sprints. Perform this workout on two, non-consecutive days.

Week 4: After a two-minute jog to warm-up, sprint at top speed for 13 seconds, then walk for 47 seconds. Repeat this until you have completed 13 sprints. Perform this workout on two, non-consecutive days.

Week 5: After a two-minute jog to warm-up, sprint at top speed for 14 seconds, then walk for 46 seconds. Repeat this until you have completed 14 sprints. Perform this workout on two, non-consecutive days.

You're essentially working in one-minute increments, adding one second to your sprint and eliminating a second from your recovery time each week. By challenging your body with greater intensity each week, you are paving the way for better improvement in body composition as well as sprint efficiency.

RUNNERS FORUM Walk, jog or sprint your way into the growing discussion on the forums Are you a runner? You have a 5K coming up? Maybe you're just interested in running and don't know where to begin? Whatever the case, it's time to surround yourself with a community of like-minded individuals. This thread on the PrayFit forums is dedicated to those who prefer to get fit by running. So dive into the discussion to encourage one another, to share experiences or to pick up some tips.

>> RUNNERS FORUM - CLICK HERE

It's a Run/Walk

"And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us." --Ephesians 5:2

Read: Ephesians 5

An author, speaker and member of the 1972 Olympic team, Jeff Galloway is a world-class runner. He broke the U.S. 10-mile record in 1973, and among his victories are the Honolulu, Atlanta and Boston Marathons. What's his best tip? Walk. That's right. In fact, Jeff says, "Thousands of time-goal-oriented veterans have improved by 10, 20, and over 30 minutes in marathons by taking walk breaks early and often to reach their goal in the race. You can easily spot these folks. They're the ones who are picking up speed during the last few miles when everyone else is slowing down."

Seventeen years ago, I stood in the middle of a rain-soaked football field in Austin, Texas and watched Jeff's theory being tested. For weeks she'd verbalize her goal: "One time around the track without stopping." What did she do when she didn't make it? She walked. And when she caught her breath, she'd run again. Turns out that long before my wife Loretta ever read a book by Jeff Galloway or listened to any of his seminars, she practiced what he preached. And I'll never forget the day she made it. We shouted for joy. (She eventually turned that one lap into 26.2 miles without stopping, several times a year.)

One time around the day. You may have just entered your cubicle, dropped the kids off at school or you're about to exercise. Whatever the case, the bible says we're to run the race and walk in love. So no matter what the world has stacked against you -- be encouraged -- it's a run/walk.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. You know, it was pretty neat for me to see Loretta meet her hero of the track. Do you see him giving her instruction? The moment made me think that when it comes to the faith, you and I have an opportunity to follow some heroes and maybe lead as one. So today, as you run your race, make it a point to stand in the middle of someone else's lap and shout for joy.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Shoulders & Legs

Many of our workouts are geared for the living room, but for those of you that are gym-goers, this one's for you. An odd combo you may not be used to involves training legs with shoulders. But we think you'll enjoy it as much as we do. You're going to hit legs first then attack shoulders. The top-to-bottom approach is so satisfying we think it just might become one of your go-to routines for two areas of your body that are important for different reasons.

With your shoulders, greater muscle tone goes a long way toward defining your torso's silhouette, giving the appearance of a smaller waist. But regular training of your shoulders is also a great way to bolster your resistance against injuries that can spring up suddenly with these complex, yet delicate joints. And training your legs intensely not only has tremendous athletic benefits -- those who are stronger on the squat tend to perform better on sprint and agility drills -- but these large muscles help your body to burn more total calories, both during and after your workouts.

Try this routine and post your responses in the comments below or at our forums.

Legs Squat (Smith or free-weight) - 4 x 6,8,10,12 Leg Press - 4 x 8,10,12,15 Romanian Deadlift - 4 x 10,12,15,20 Jump Squats - 4 x 20

Shoulders Overhead Press - 4 x 6,8,10,12 Upright Row - 4 x 8,10,12,15 Dumbbell Lateral Raise - 4 x 10,12,15,20

--Prior to training, perform a dynamic warm-up to raise your internal body temperature and to prepare your joints for the work ahead. Try 5-10 minutes of running in place, jumping jacks and jump rope, for example. Then, do a few light sets of the first exercise for each bodypart before your "working" sets.

NOTE: You'll notice that, on most exercises, the target number oreps increase with each successive set. This is called a reverse pyramid. This allows you to lift the heaviest weight early in the set, when your strength levels are highest. Then, as you fatigue, you can lower the weight to allow for more reps, which recruit additional muscle fibers and provide additional blood flow. This also adds volume to the workout, meaning more calories burned during your time in the gym. For each rep range listed, select a weight that brings about failure at that number. Failure is the point at which you can no longer complete clean repetitions on your own.

EXERCISE DESCRIPTIONS: To see some of these moves in action, visit exrx.net, one of the web's largest resources for exercise demos.

Soreness in a Sermon

"I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." --Philippians 3:14

Read: Philippians 3

Yesterday's sermon reminded me of Saturday's workout. The guest speaker said to us, "I know who I am, and I know what I must do." He was referring to his thoughts the moment he came to know Christ 15 years ago. He then listed a handful of biblical examples who met that same conclusion once they met Jesus.

Saturday, I took my training outdoors. Over the last few months, I've had to modify my workouts and I decided to hit the local high school football field for some shuttle runs, snake intervals, and bear crawls. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that my 40-year-old body is reminding me today why I'm not in high school anymore. I even had to use my cap as a yard marker. I'd place it just ahead of the next goal line to help me keep track of where it was I was running on each interval.

Soreness, in a sermon. Seems it's a good reminder of Paul's urgency in Philippians. Our daily objectives of better health, stronger families and daily excellence are all yard markers to help us keep track of where it is we're running. And here we are at an interval -- an up and back sprint through yet another day. Off to work, school, the gym. Line, by line, by line; to and fro we go. But if we remember who we are in Christ, then we know what we must do for Him. Everything we strive for should point toward the goal that lies just ahead. Kinda neat, but each time I reached for my cap, I read what describes our prize of heaven--"Glory."

--Jimmy Peña

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO THE PRAYFIT 33 One year ago today (August 27), we filmed our first DVD, the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge with Lionsgate Entertainment in order to provide you with a fabulous, in-home resource to getting healthier for all the right reasons.

With 33 days of bodyweight-driven workouts and inspiring messages from founder Jimmy Peña, this DVD has been the bedrock of change for many who have chosen to believe one fundamental truth: that it is important to care for the body that carries the soul.

>> To view the trailer or to order, click here.

Have a PrayFit 33 success story? Send it to us today at info@prayfit.com!

Taking Names

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." --Colossians 3:17

Read: Colossians 3

Kirani James made history this week by winning the first-ever Olympic medal -- fittingly, a gold -- for the small, island-nation of Grenada. And despite the magnitude of the moment, James will perhaps be best remembered for another minute but meaningful gesture earlier in the Games.

In the semifinals of the grueling 400-meter race, James cruised to an easy victory, setting himself up as the probable gold medalist in a very competitive field. Instead of soaking up the moment, he immediately sought out the last-place finisher and double amputee, South Africa's Oscar Pistorius -- the first-ever double leg amputee to compete in the Olympics. After putting himself some 44 seconds away from an extraordinary and unprecedented accomplishment, his first instinct was to celebrate someone else's. In a touching show of sportsmanship and respect, James immediately sought out Pistorius, embraced him, then asked him to trade name bibs.

James, at just 19, knows that the accolades are fast-fleeting and that this race was less about opponents vanquished than it was about glorifying the man who ran beside him. We too run our race, hustling through our daily to-dos of work, family, exercise and more -- only we carry the name of the Lord with us right out of the blocks, each stride a measured yet telling indicator of who we really are and who we're running for. And even when we are outpaced, like Pistorius, we should be so blessed that those in neighboring lanes would take such interest in the name we are wearing.

--Eric Velazquez 

SUNDAY SERVICE WITH PRAYFIT

The subject of physical stewardship is not a message you're likely to hear in this Sunday's sermon. But perhaps it should be. With an increasing number of our fellow congregants and family members struggling with obesity-related health issues, it's worth noting that the Lord desires abundant health for us and that even though He looks at the heart, failing to take care of the bodies He created in His image amounts to a heart issue. PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña has spoken at churches across the country imparting the message of our health as a means of praise. Could your service be next? Check out the video below, share it with your church leaders then contact us to find out how you can bring this message to your congregation!

>> Can't wait for a church visit? Why not start a small group? Click here to get your hands on PrayFit DVDs and books and use them as your curriculum!

The Race with Grace

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." --Colossians 3:23-24

Read: Colossians 3

Her face says it all. Exhaustion meets joy and mission meets accomplishment. Now, I don't mean to over-dramatize the moment but I think Paul was on to something when he talked about the Christian life as a race -- a race that believers are called to run with endurance, never aimlessly. Over the last few years, we've written entries after marathons, many of which are among my favorites. But this picture, taken mere seconds before she saw me, pretty much sums it up. And with the week's race being almost over, I thought it appropriate for today.

For some of you, the week was steep. The phone never rang, the e-mail didn't arrive, or your health didn't cooperate. For others, everything was downhill, and you could do no wrong. Either way, I think our dear friend Sandie Powell said it best in the comment section yesterday when she said, "The amazing thing is that He is as proud of our attempt (to run) as he is in our finish." And she's right. Did Loretta win the marathon? Well, maybe only in my eyes, but my eyes are the only ones that mattered. She wasn't the fastest, but she gave it all she had, and there was no doubt where she was headed.

I want to live like that, don't you? I want everything I do and say, how I treat my health and how I love others to show the world that I'm on a road that leads to the only One that matters. From start to finish, I'm in this race with grace. And after the uphills, the downhills and even the pitfalls, when mission meets accomplishment -- not ours, His -- I want my face to say it all.

--Jimmy Peña

SIGN UP FOR THE DAILY! Nearly 10,000 people have chosen to receive the PrayFit Daily in their inboxes each morning. If you haven't signed up for this free service already, simply go to our homepage and look for the box pictured here. Click, type, send -- it could be the most rewarding 30 seconds you spend on the computer this morning! And if you want to help us go viral with this sign-up drive, you can do so by sending friends this link:

SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/cSd8tp

Worth the Hurt

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." --Philippians 1:21

Read: Philippians 1

Standing amidst the growing crowd at the finish line, you could feel the anticipation as runners began coming in. The elite were sprinting through in record time, while the majority of warriors were still battling the elements along the course. A lot of the people I stood near weren't real sure when to expect their loved ones, but because of my Master's degree, I was confident I could predict Loretta's pace and arrival time. (Well, that and because of my nifty marathon GPS that Loretta installed on my iPhone.)

It was awesome. I knew where she started, her pace, her location and when to expect her. Not only did I have the best seat in the house, but I was locked in on her, and she knew it and ran with confidence.

Isn't it comforting to know that the good Lord knows our beginning, our today and our tomorrow? Like so many of us, are you struggling in business, with your health or at school? Let's remind each other that each step is one closer. Each step is gain. He's got the best seat in the house and He's locked in on us. And did you see the bottom of my marathon GPS? Our race is worth the hurt; especially when we consider who we're running to and for.

--Jimmy Peña

WRITE THIS WAY

Learning the finer points of effective journaling can make the difference in reaching your fitness goals

Accountability -- a singular concept that can define  you as a person. It can also determine just how healthy and fit you can become, which is why keeping a detailed fitness journal is a must. And while there are no hard-and-fast rules for journaling, there are a few things that you can and should keep track of in order to maximize your progress.

1 EXERCISES/ACTIVITIES: If you have taken the time to dedicate yourself to an exercise program, it should have some structure. Keep a careful and consistent list of which exercises or activities you are performing on a workout-to-workout basis so that you can have a gauge on what is and is not working for you. If you're in the gym, scribble down the exercises you perform. If you're hitting the trail, note the route you took. Swimming? What stroke did you work on today?

2 VOLUME/INTENSITY: Think distance, sets, reps, time and weight. Dutifully charting each of these variables will not only give you a baseline by which to set future goals but it can also prevent overtraining.

3 FEEL: It's important for you to journal how you feel, both at the start and conclusion of physical activity. How good  (or bad) you feel can point you to other key factors, such as what you've eaten, how you've slept or other emotional stresses that can play into your progress (or lack thereof).

Again, workout journaling can be very subjective. For a look at how some other PrayFit members are building accountability, visit our forums by clicking here.

NEW JOURNALS Here's a look at some of our newest members keeping journals >> Hoopcoach

>> Amosqueda66

>> Mikkirobinson

Distance Yourself

"He who walks with the wise grows wise, but he who walks with fools suffers harm." --Proverbs 13:20

Read: Proverbs 13

Leading up to her third marathon, my wife had a simple plan: find her pacer and stay close to him or her no matter what. See, most marathon organizations provide the runners with all sorts of tools and techniques to help them through the grueling course -- from seminars on stride, tactics for tackling hills, and perhaps most notably, they offer the runners a pacer.

A pacer is a man or woman capable of finishing the race at an exact time. And when I say exact, I mean exactly that. Kevin (pictured here) ran through the finish line at 3 hours and 35 minutes -- just what he was asked he'd do. Now, Kevin didn't know who was counting on his pace. All he knew was that someone would be relying on his experience, strength and endurance to help them along their way toward their goal.

In our daily pursuit of spiritual and physical stewardship, we all need pacesetters. People who God places in our lives to help us stay the course. Not only that but God may, in fact, bless us with the privilege of being that for someone else, and it's an honor we can't take lightly. Like Kevin, we may or may not know who is, but someone is depending on us to know the way and show the way. So let's take inventory. Who are we running with? And more importantly, who's setting the pace? Is he or she helping us make Godly choices when it comes to our life and health? Are we helping them with theirs?

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. Kevin was a little surprised when I asked him for a photo. Perhaps it's typical for the pacers to be invisible after a race. But I had to ask him to stop, especially when I read the back of his shirt. "Distance Yourself" it said. Wow. Perfect for our verse of the day. Thanks for inspiring us Kevin. We want to keep up.

WORKOUT: RUNNER'S RESOURCES

Some may think that running is simply a matter of putting one foot in front of the other. To others, no performance tip is insignificant. In either case, running is an activity that can be improved upon, provided that you have the proper coaching. Build a stronger stride, better endurance, a leaner physique and a runner's heart by bookmarking some of these trusted resources on the web. Enjoy your runs this week and remember to post your distances to your workout journal on the PrayFit forums.

MarathonRookie.com: Tips for novices looking to enter half- or full-distance marathons

Runner's World Magazine: From shoe selection to race day decorum, the authoritative source for all things running

Jeff Galloway.com: Practical training tips from one of the industry's top coaches

Mapmyrun.com: Track your distance runs with this easy-to-use mapping tool

Josh Cox: Christian ultramarathon runner, TV personality, author and believer