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How Training for A Marathon Is Like Running A Good Business

By Amanda Sides on Jun 10, 2016

I ran my first marathon in June 2015, and one thing I will say is this: 26.2 miles gives you a lot of time to think. And believe me, you want to be thinking about anything but the discomfort.

The training process and the race itself provided life lesson after life lesson for me, and I found a lot of gems that I can apply to business.

Getting started is the hardest part.

I'm not proud of this, but I debated for two months about whether or not I should do a marathon. Such a big commitment! So much pain! My official start-training date came and went. Finally, my boyfriend said, "I don't think you'll regret it." Oh. Of course I wouldn't. So I started training a week after I originally intended to, and you know what? It was running, just like I've run before. The miles started adding up to distances I'd never tried before, but after I was in the rhythm of training, I just did it. No complaints.

Okay, very few complaints. 

A plan makes it possible.

There was no question about what I had to do each day: my running plan was entirely written out, so all I had to do was check the day's date and the mileage number beside it, and I hit the road. There was no room for debate. I followed the plan.

Bad days don't mean bad outcomes.

I remember the day I came home from an eight-mile run wanting to cry and truly questioning whether or not I had it in me to run 26.2. But my race was great, and in getting there I had lots of other super-successful and super-lame training runs. Not every day will be your best day, but it doesn't mean you're going to fail.

Trust your training.

Even the bad runs were adding up, and on race day I reminded myself to trust my training. I had put in the miles. They were there for me.

Every experience you've had has given you some little tool with which to tackle the next.

You get to define success — so you can't fail.

I had a dozen goals for my marathon: everything from my time to not having to stop to go to the bathroom along the way (success on both counts!). Even by trying, I knew I was doing something most people will never do. If the only thing I learned was that I should never run another marathon, that would have been valuable, but as it turned out, I learned that I can do it (and I want to do another).


What has running or any other sport taught you about good business?

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