Why Run? Is it about the Body or the Soul?

I hope to answer these two questions in this spot.


Last year I was really struggling with the ‘what now’ question...

I had gone through my reversion 4 years previous to this point, in which, to use mathematical terms, was a rapid exponential type growth. I felt like I had gone through the “conversion checklist:” prayer life, confession, regular Mass attendance, good holy friends, etc. But it seemed that after years of growth I was beginning to taper and my exponential curve was now asymptotic and leveling off.

But I didn’t want my spiritual life, my relationship with God to taper, to falter, to plateau. I needed to do something about this.


It became clear that just like any other relationship I needed to choose to love, choose to try.

It also became clear that I was no longer in that honeymoon phase where there is that fast growth. It was no longer that sprint up the exponential curve, but rather a marathon of a climb towards Him in order to fight that plateau.

Yearning for this continued growth and knowing it was a marathon I was going to have to trudge out, it dawned on me. If I want this type of growth in my spiritual life, I might as well mirror it with my physical life as well. So, I bit the bullet and signed up for my first marathon.


I was worried though, that I would use this physical mirror as almost a crutch or a substitute for what I actually needed and wanted in my relationship with God. I vetted these concerns with my friends and we concluded that if I kept my mindset properly focused and always placed my pursuit of Him before my pursuit of the finish line, that this would indeed be a great opportunity for growth.

So, why run? For me I needed to involve my body in my continued pursuit of God. My prayer time increased in parallel with my training time. I learned to bring God into my runs and workouts. You have a lot of time during your 3-hour training runs to think and pray. I started to pray the Rosary at the beginning of my long runs, which helped me get my mind in the correct place. I would then offer up miles for people as a form of intercession. With these different intentional ways of bringing God along my runs, they then helped the random little “running thoughts” (if you have ever ran distance, you know exactly what I’m talking about) be focused on God and the little ways He works in our lives.


So, is it about the Body or the Soul? We are built as a body-soul composite, you can’t have one without the other. We need to involve our bodies in our prayer, your posture changes your mindset and attentiveness. What you do with your body affects your soul in very real ways. In running my marathon, I learned very tangibly how these two can build each other.



In His strength,

Paul McDonald