The importance of a strong core has been the topic of several running articles I've read lately. In fact, it is also the focus of the weekly training discussion on the Pacific Northwest Marathon Facebook page. Psalm 139:14 says, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Part of that wonder is the over 600 large and small skeletal muscles that keep our bodies working smoothly. When they are all performing as intended, our bodies are not only more efficient and balanced, but we are also much less likely to get injured. However, what happens if some of those muscles become weak or inactive? We lose efficiency, other muscles have to take up the slack and we are more likely to experience pain or injury. Sometimes, muscles get weak due to inactivity, like if we spend much of our day in a seated position. When we then go for a run, sometimes those inactive muscles don't join the party, forcing others muscles to work harder. Yesterday I was talking about core strength with one of our team members and he said, "we were talking during our run about the importance of activating our glutes, but I don't even know what that means! How am I supposed to activate my glutes?" For those who are interested, you can find a link to an article about lazy gluteus' on the PNW Marathon Facebook page, but I won't even try to explain it here. I do see a direct correlation between a strong physical core and a strong spiritual core. In 1 Corinthians chapter 12, the Apostle Paul writes about the body of believers, "Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all it's many parts form one body so it is with the body of Christ.... the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable....if one part suffers, the other parts suffer with it ....now you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it." As with our physical body, if parts of the body of Christ are "weak or inactive" the whole body suffers. Just like our physical body, the body of believers becomes less effective when all of the parts aren't engaged. So how do we make sure that no part of the body is devalued or ignored? Paul also wrote, "There should be no division in the body but that it's parts should have equal concern for each other." Equal concern. When we give attention to all, sharing words of encouragement, we are helping to maintain a healthy body of believers. If you would like to work on developing a strong physical core as well as contributing to a strong, healthy body of believers, I invite you to join us for a training run//walk this week. On Wednesday we will meet at noon at Clearwater Trail (just east of 42nd street off of Jasper road). On Saturday we will meet at 8 am at Alton Baker Park and on Sunday we will meet at 3 pm at Clearwater trail. (Don't forget to move your clock forward one hour on Saturday night!) Have a great week!