Training 101

In 2012 I read a book called Marathon by Hal Higdon with the intent that this book would teach me all I needed to know about running a marathon.  I remember looking at the appendix before the rest of the book, hoping there were some shortcuts and a training plan to which I could refer.  I assumed that all I needed to do was run. Simple right? Put one foot in front of the other—a little faster than walking.

One Saturday morning, I set out to run 40 km, thinking, “If I can run 40km today, then I’ll be able to run 42km on race day.  After 6.5 hours, I finally crawled up to my front porch, thankful to have completed the 40km.  When I woke up the following morning, my body told me in many ways that I was not ready to do a race in a few months.  After that run, I picked up Marathon and started with the introduction and slowly read through each chapter making notes and highlighting everything I could to learn how to complete a marathon.  I learned about proper nutrition and special running gels that are filled with carbohydrates and salt to fuel my body.  I learned about the importance of drinking enough fluids so I wouldn’t get dehydrated and cause harm to my body.  My eyes were opened to all of the tips Hal had in his book.  The day I ran 40km, I carried one bottle of Gatorade and graham crackers to eat.  Have you ever eaten graham crackers without water?  Not good.

I completed my first marathon in 4hrs 30min, and it was one of the most challenging things I had ever done in my life prior to doing a Half Ironman two years ago.  I remember having a ton of energy crossing the finish line and knew that if I did another marathon, I would need to find a coach who could train me to run faster.  I found a coach, and he taught me about interval workouts, slower recovery runs and helped mentally prepare me not to hit the wall during the race.  After a few attempts, I finally ran my best marathon on a sweltering day in Ottawa, Ontario, and everything my coach taught me came together and paid off.  I was so excited that I finished that marathon in 3hrs 21 min.

Leaders, did you know that two things are VITAL for all leadersWe should constantly be doing two things to ensure we are giving our all to our students.

1. Training 

When was the last time you attended a Precept Leadership Training Workshop? Did you attend a one or two-day Abraham, Jonah, or Philippians training workshop in past years to get your leadership qualification and then have not attended a training workshop since?  Training is vital as it is an opportunity to refresh your skills, to be coached and mentored in your leadership.  When I was training for my marathons, I used to get a lot of pain in my right leg due to tight muscles.  My running coach gave me a few tips that taught me about cadence, measuring foot speed. To take the strain off my hip, I needed to increase my foot speed.  This slight adjustment was so valuable to me as it removed the pain I was experiencing.  In Bible study leadership, we can get into patterns and habits that might not be effective in leading discussions.  It is a very good practice to refresh your training and keep learning from other leaders.  Peter’s last words in 2 Peter were an encouragement for believers to continue to grow.

2. Practice

The second valuable thing is practice.  We have all heard the saying “practice makes perfect”—It’s true; the more we teach, the more we learn about ourselves and how to engage our students in the study of God’s Word.  When I was training for the marathon, I was given a 16-week training plan from my coach.  I would run six days a week with different types of workouts to get stronger and race-ready.  The difference between a marathon and a team sport is that most team sports will play multiple games a week.  If the team doesn’t perform well, they can usually put it behind them after the game and start looking forward to the next game.  In a marathon, you have one chance to perform well; you have 16 weeks of practice to get ready for your race day.  In the 16 weeks of training, you try many different things you would never do on race day.  You try various drinks, running gels, shoes and clothes to find the best fit for race day.  In my 16 marathons, the only thing you cannot prepare for has ruined my race day – weather.  I ran 36km in the Chicago Marathon in the pouring rain.  You cannot practice weather!

Our new leadership workshops are designed to create an environment to practice new skills learned in training or to use the skills you have been developing over the years to teach a practice lesson where others can learn from your experience.

Leaders, I want to encourage you to refresh your skills in our workshops Remember, there is always an opportunity to grow and learn from each other.  Here are three workshops I want to highlight for you.



In the 2-day Planning and Leading Workshop, we teach you how to lead four different kinds of lessons.  We teach you how to lead an Old Testament History book, Prophecy book, and a New Testament letter.  We also teach you how to develop effective discussions without using the Leader Guide, how to ask good questions, and much more.  You need to complete four pre-workshop lessons before the 2-day workshop as our trainers model these discussions before giving practical tips.

Next Online Training:
December 2–3, 2021 at 9am–5pm ET


The Leadership Skills Development Workshop is a group study training workshop over 3 days.  Our trainers model a discussion from the book of Philippians using our training tools in how to lead effective discussions.  Students in the workshop are given the opportunity to prepare a lesson in Philippians and then lead the class with their peers.  This is a fantastic learning opportunity as leaders learn from each other and pick up some coaching tips from our experienced trainers.  Students must complete the Precept Upon Precept study of the book of Philippians prior to the 3-day workshop, so each trainer has well-prepared students to participate in a model class. This workshop can only run when we have groups of 6 participants as it is vital to have a good-sized group of people for class discussion in Philippians.

Next Online Training:
July 15–17, 2021 at 10am–6pm ET
November 11–13, 2021 at 9am–5pm ET


Leaders, are you ready to multiply?  Our 3-day Precept Upon Precept for New Leaders training workshop teaches students how to use the Precept Upon Precept Leader Guides properly.  Using the Precept Leadership Manual, we prepare new leaders with all the skills they need to get their first Bible study class up and running.

Students are required to complete the Precept Upon Precept study of the book of Mark before the workshop as this is the main text leaders will use to teach their practice lesson.  This 3-day workshop requires groups of six to run the workshop to ensure there is an appropriate amount of class discussion for those doing their practice lesson.

Next Online Training:
July 12–14, 2021 at 9am–5pm ET
October 14–16, 2021 at 9am–5pm ET

Precept continues to offer these training workshops regularly, and I want to encourage you to participate and sharpen your skills.  You will benefit from the time spent together in the Word of God and learn new skills.  Check out our website for more details on these workshops.  Join us for our Dig Deeper Summer Study Week, where we are offering two of these workshops.

Hope to see you in a training workshop soon!

Serving Him and you,

Mark Sheldrake, National Director

Check out upcoming online Training Workshops for you to establish yourself in His Word and make disciples. 


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