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. 


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.

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.


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!


December 10, 2010Read: Galatians 6

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." --Galatians 6:9

So there I was, packing up the truck to head back home. The marathon had long since ended, and Loretta was getting herself ready to leave. As I looked across the parking lot, I saw a few runners walking back from the venue. They literally looked like they'd been through a battle. I then went to check-out of the hotel and was surrounded by marathoners; medals hanging from each neck and numbers across their chests.

But you know what was interesting? I knew they had just run the race, not because of the medals and numbers, but by the familiar limp. Loretta had it too. She could hardly move. When we went into town to eat a few hours later, I saw people who either had no trouble walking or who barely had the strength to stand. Battle tested.  If you ran the race, it showed in your walk.


Not sure about you, but I could stand to limp a lot more each day, amen?


PRAYFIT WEEK IN REVIEW A look back at a week's worth of healthy living tips

WORKOUT: 10 minutes to a stronger lower back and core

FITNESS TIP: How to keep a better fitness journal for faster results

RECIPE: Orange-Chocolate Cookies

PRAYFIT 2.0: Find out how PrayFit just got stronger in the fitness-and-nutrition department

>> HELP PRAYFIT BECOME A BESTSELLER! As many of you know, “PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days” from Regal Books, is due to start shipping to mailboxes December 6. And in the month of January, you can find us on display tables at Barnes & Noble. With your help, we believe that “PrayFit” has the muscle to be a bestseller. So pick up a copy or order a few for gifts — help us spread the gospel of faith and fitness as we approach 2011! A portion of each book sold will go to support mission trips abroad.


September 2, 2010Read: Matthew 16

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” –Matthew 16:25

I recently watched a documentary about the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, also known as Easy Company — arguably one of the most elite group of soldiers of World War II. Those who didn’t lose their lives shared their stories of bravery, battles and brotherhood, the likes of which had this weak shell of a writer in a flood of tears.

But prior to D-Day and long before the beaches of Omaha, the group of men who would come to be known as the angels from the sky had to first prove their readiness. After months of testing and training, only those left standing were given their wings. Interestingly, while their worries were few, the one common fear they all had was whether their chutes would open correctly — as they were responsible for packing their own parachute the day before each jump.

Please forgive the comparison, but if you and I were responsible for providing a safe landing from our fall, we’d live in fear too. But since God’s love reaches lower than our worst mistakes and higher than our greatest accomplishments, we have a green light to stand up, hook up and jump.

Which reminds me, once those boys boarded the plane, despite it all, they couldn’t wait to hit the ground and fight. That took uncommon valor. But when Jesus took our place on the cross, that took a miracle of love and grace.


3 STEPS TO A BETTER STRIDE Protect your feet, run easier and conserve energy with these tips

I’ll leave more testimonials to the avid runners, but in grad school, we spent semesters studying the mechanics of a running stride. Pretty detailed stuff. Maybe that’s why I headed to the weight room. But if you feel you’re running inefficiently and a bit out of control, your entire body could need adjusting. Your best plan should be to have an experienced runner or fitness professional examine your gait. Have them watch you and give you credible advice. A few things he or she will be looking for are:

Foot Plant One of the most important phases of running mechanics is the position of your foot when it lands on the ground. When your foot strikes the ground it will land toes first, ball of the foot first, flat footed or heel first. Many runners make the mistake of reaching out in front of their body and landing heel first. Your most efficient foot plant is one in which your foot lands directly under your hips or your center of gravity. You may land on the ball of your foot or flat footed. The ideal landing position is slightly toward the outside edge of your foot, just behind your little toe.

Arms The main purpose of an arm swing is to provide balance and coordination with the legs. The arms should hang loose and relaxed, close to the body. Avoid excessive movement. You want to avoid any tenseness in the shoulders. Also, allowing your arms to cross in front of your body even slightly can cause excessive and unnecessary twisting of your spine, forcing you to work harder — futher incentive to keep them close to your sides.