The fans are great along a triathlon course. You’ll hear cheers from strangers. Words of encouragement are shouted. Volunteers at aid stations provide physical relief with water and ice. Additionally, one will see signs along the way. Some signs are posted in the ground, while others are held by fans, family, and supporters. Of all the signs, there was one common message. The sign simply read, “Trust the Training.”
Why such a sign?
One reason I needed to see that is because I didn’t know if I had done enough before the race. Sure I followed a training plan, sought advice from coaches, and talked with others who had completed the race. But I still had the lingering question in the back of my mind, “Am I really ready?”
My goal was to finish in about 6 hours and 30 minutes, but really, I just wanted to finish. I knew I could do each of the three parts of the event, but doing them back to back to back I had never done. So for me, I wondered if I was truly ready. Before the race I knew all the training would be put to the test. The hour had come. Would the training come through? Would it all pay off? Could I complete the course?
For others who had completed a triathlon of this distance before, they knew they could do complete the course, but they still had possible lingering doubts as well. Did they train enough to make their goal? Would all their hard work of preparation pay off when things got tough? Could they bike the hills fast enough? Would they have to walk the hills? Whatever it was, the unknown future was approaching.
So beginner or expert, both needed to take in the message, “Trust the training.” But why trust? It is because of the unknown future. No one knew exactly how hard things were going to get or how painful things may become. Nobody knew what time they would have. Even with goals, was their training enough?
That’s why for me, I needed to hear my wife tell me the night before, “You’re ready. Don’t worry. You’ve put in all the time and effort. You’re ready.” In other words, “Trust the training.”
All who competed put in hours of training each and every week for months leading up the event. It included early mornings, late nights, cold days, sweaty evenings. Multiple hour workouts when no one was around and when nobody was cheering was the norm for months. There was nutrition adjustments, schedule adjustments, family adjustments, and work adjustments. Enormous amounts of effort was needed to prepare for such an event. Equipment had to be purchased and coaching conversations had to happen. All this was part of the training. But the question remained the same, “Am I ready? Did I prepare enough?”
This question is unique to the athlete, not their coach. It is not the coach who personally asks this question, “Am I ready?” but the athlete. It is because the athlete is actually doing it. The coach will instruct the athlete, but he cannot perform for the athlete. That’s why the athlete needs the reminder, “Trust the Training.”
To the athlete who does trust…he tries.
He gets in the water and doesn’t give up. He gets on his bike and pedals hard for hours. He puts shoes on his tired legs and runs with burning muscles. The athlete who trusts the training will give it all he has. He believes that all the months of individual, cheerless workouts will finally pay off getting him across the finish line.
I trusted the training. I finished. My wife was right, I was ready.
I was ready because I followed a training plan. But it wasn’t my own. It was designed by a seasoned triathlete. Someone who had run the race before me. They knew what it would take. They knew how to prepare the athlete. So they designed a plan, that if followed, would get the athlete across the finish line accomplishing their goal.
In all areas of life, that’s why the Christian can trust, not just the training, but THE Trainer. The Christian knows there is only one Trainer…that being God. He sent His son Jesus ahead to run the race before us. Jesus knows the tests, challenges, trials, pain, and suffering that is faced in life, because He has already run that race. And so God trains us in life. He allows and plans events and circumstances in life in order to train us. He puts us in situations so that we will be ready.
He did that in the Old Testament for David. David killed bears and lions before killing Goliath. God trained David so that when Goliath was in front of him, he was ready.
God did that in the Old Testament for Esther. Esther was given a place of privilege as queen and a relationship with Mordecai as preparation. That is why she was in that place “for such a time as this.” God prepares His people. God trains His people.
The day Peter went from fisherman to follower, he had no idea he would one day be leader of the church.
A couple of years ago we found out a close family friend was diagnosed with a serious illness. It was heartbreaking news. Both the husband and wife have spent years in church, reading the Bible, and have been formally, theologically trained. As I thought about the message, “Trust the Training” and their situation, I thought, “This is what all those years of seminary have trained you for. All those years of Bible and theology have trained you for this moment.” A triathlon is nothing compared to the road they walked. But the message is the same. My wife and I will be cheering them along and encouraging them. We know they are ready. They can trust the training. They can trust the Trainer.