According to Greek legend, the first man to run a “marathon,” Pheidippides, dropped dead after he finished his 26.2-mile trot to tell the people of Athens of the victory against the Persians at the Battle of Marathon. So why would anyone want to take on this endeavor voluntarily? For some people, it’s about the physical challenge. For some, it’s about maintaining a fitness plan. For me, it was about learning what I am capable of and what it takes to achieve success.
Here are 3 business lessons I learned while marathon training:
1. You've Got to Give Things Up to Meet Your GoalsMarathon training comes with a lot of sacrifices. It means giving up lazy Saturday mornings, turning down champagne brunch invitations, and opting out of happy hours. It means sleeping and socializing less and dedicating more hours to the road. It means trading french fries for leafy greens. Sometimes you have to pass on things you love in order to meet your long-term goal, and knowing how and when to make the tough choices is a great skill.
2. Mind Over MatterThe marathon is the only distance race most people have to run on faith. When training for any shorter distance (a 5K, a 10K, or a half marathon), it is feasible to run the race distance while training. For a marathon, training typically culminates around the 20-mile mark, or 75% of the full distance, because any run that lasts longer than 3 hours significantly increases your risk for injury. When first time marathoners cross the start line, they have to believe they can do it.
3. The Power of PerseveranceWhen you train for a marathon you have to push through pain, suffer through bad weather, and overcome hardships. Your muscles will get sore. The rain will not hold out. You will have days where it feels like you haven’t been training at all. The important thing is that you keep getting out there. You have to keep trying, even when things are rough, even when things seem like they won’t get better. Hard work pays off. It’s as simple as that.
In Closing...Succeeding in the business world and crossing the marathon finish line are more closely related than you might initially think; they both require the ability to make sacrifices, believe in yourself, and overcome obstacles. And in business and running, it’s always fulfilling to celebrate a big win.