Growing Your Capacity

It’s that time of year again, I’m training for another race. This year, I’ll be running the Pittsburgh Half Marathon on May 1st. I am running for Light of Life Rescue Mission again. (I would love it if you would consider supporting me! Every dollar counts! You can donate here!)

As I’ve started my training, I am always surprised with how difficult it is to start training. Especially after I’ve done it before! Last May, I ran the Full Pittsburgh Marathon. A marathon is 26.2 miles.

As of this past weekend, I am having a hard time running 6 miles! During my difficult, but short run, I was thinking a lot about capacity. Here are some thoughts from my run:

Our bodies have the potential to run a full marathon, however, we have to grow our capacity to the point where our bodies can fulfill that potential. In the marathon world, this takes about 20 weeks of training. Within those 20 weeks, you have to consistently increase your mileage over time. As you increase your mileage, you increase your capacity to run further and to run faster. Eventually, you can run 26.2 miles.

I’m also surprised with how quickly you can lost the capacity you built. After the Pittsburgh marathon, I only run 1-2 times a week. In the fall, I barely run at all. When my training starts again in January, I have to start all over again because I stopped using the capacity I had built.

This leads me to two truths about capacity in your life:

  • In every area of your life, you have potential. Whether or not you fulfill your potential will largely be based on what you do to grow your capacity in that area.
  • If you do not continue to use the capacity you’ve built, you will start to lose it!

How can you grow and maintain your capacity? A few ways:

  • By Pushing Yourself to Go Further than You have Ever Gone Before – Growing your capacity can be painful. As I start to increase my mileage to the 15-20 mile range during marathon training, I always have one run that I can’t finish because it becomes so tough. However, I’ve found that in the weeks following this run, I’m able run further and faster than I thought possible. Why? Because I pushed through a barrier of impossibility.
    • Action: Evaluate every area of your life and determine what you can do to stretch yourself in that area.
  • By Getting a Coach or Mentor – We are all capable of far more than we realize. That is why we need coaches in mentors in our lives that can push us past our limits. I believe we need coaches and mentors in every area of our lives: Spiritual, relational, financial, physical, etc.
    • Action: Find mentors and coaches for every area of your life.
  • By Surrounding Yourself with Peers who will Push You – We also need friends who can challenge us, encourage us, and help us to keep going when times get tough. That’s why I am huge believer in Mastermind groups.
    • Action: Look at the people you’re surrounded by… are they bringing out the best in you? If not, find people who do.
  • By Doing Things You’ve Never Done Before – It’s been said that if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. Therefore, if you want to have results you’ve never had, you have to do thing you’ve never done before. When was the last time you did something for the first time? Too often we limit our growth simply because we get comfortable with what we think we’re capable. If you want to grow your capacity, try something you’ve never done before.
    • Action: What things have you always wanted to try, but you were afraid to? Make a list and go for it! See what happens.

If you’ll consistently do these four things, you’ll find your capacity growing and you will maintain that growth. My hope is that you will be intentional with your growth and that you and the world will be shocked at what you are capable of doing and being as a result of you growing your capacity.

Thoughts? Comment below!


  • What areas of your life do you need to grow your capacity?
  • What are you doing to grow your capacity?
  • What are you doing to maintain the capacity you’ve already built?
  • What do you need to do to grow your capacity.

Thoughts? Comment below! 

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2 Responses

  1. Relational capacity grows when I focus on my relationships with God, Wife, Children, then Friends. And I totally agree with you that

    Physical capacity grows by setting race goals like you shared here. I enjoy Spartan Races, which requires a mix of cardio and strength training.

    Mental capacity grows in what I turn on AND what I turn off. Podcasts, books, TV and movies must build up! Guilty pleasures like Pitch Perfect have their place, but on the minority.

    Spiritual capacity obviously overlaps with my relational growth with God. However, going to church is only the beginning of this relationship. Serving, small groups, and devotionals make my capacity explode!

    I have a vision for each area of my life AND small goals that help lead me in that direction.

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