Why Running a Business is Like Running a Marathon
Each year in America more than half a million people lace up their running shoes and set out to complete a 26.2 mile course. The average runner completes this challenge in four to five hours. When you set out to run for four to five hours there are strategies and tips you can use to help you complete the race successfully. Not only do these strategies help you run a race, but they can help you be successful in business as well. During my time training for the Ultra Marathon, I used many of these tactics to find success.
Before the race ever begins, runners spend countless hours training and preparing for their marathon. What they do on race day looks impressive because of how they showed up in the months preceding race day. Running a business is much like this. The end product and/or service can look impressive because of all the work preparing for your business. Commit to regularly putting in the behind-the-scenes work on your business so that what customers see is a polished finished product.
Along the course there are a number of hydration stations. They are strategically placed to help runners hydrate and refuel at critical points in the race. This helps prevent runners from running out of energy and crashing. The same is true when you are running a business. It is important to strategically schedule self-care and professional growth opportunities to keep you energized and fueled for the work at hand. Just like for a runner it’s important to plan this strategically rather than realize after the fact that you should have been taking time for self-care and learning new skills.
One service most marathons offer is a pace runner. If you want to complete the race in a certain amount of time it helps to calculate what your pace per mile needs to be and then you can track with the pace runner for that time. Following the pace runner allows you to settle into a good running rhythm. This is also beneficial in business. Look ahead and figure out where you want to be in 3-months, 6-months, 12-months and then work backwards to determine the pace you need to set to reach those goals. Then settle into a rhythm of daily working towards those goals in smaller increments. This allows you to conserve energy for when you need to make a big push or meet a goal. This also allows you to operate with margin which leaves you time to take on unexpected projects or spend time dreaming and planning for your business.
There are many lessons in the business world to be learned from the half a million people who set out each year to run the many miles of a marathon they choose!