5 Important Life Lessons I’ve Learned Training for My First Marathon

When I started running last year, I could barely make it to the end of the road.

It had been 20 years + since I’d donned a pair of running shoes and after only 300m my eyes were watering, my lungs were burning and my legs had turned to jelly.

At that point, the Marathon wasn’t on the table. I just wanted some exercise and had, after many weeks of coaxing, agreed to go out on a Saturday jog morning with a mate.

A short 5K. Nothing hard. It would be fun!!!

I remember watching him run off as I heaved in huge gulps of air, thinking, ‘why oh why did I sacrifice my lie in for this?’

But thats what the mind does when confronted with something difficult. Something that takes you out of your comfort zone.

It says, why bother. You could be back in bed, tucked up with a nice cup of tea.

And if you let it have its way, you’ll find yourself back where you started. ‘At least you gave it a go,’ it’ll say. ‘It just wasn’t for you. No harm done.’

Yet, as I contemplate my first half marathon this weekend, I’ve discovered that the voice inside my head was wrong.

No harm done? Nothing noticeable maybe but harm certainly.

Because when you stop yourself from tapping your true potential, you stunt your growth and deny yourself the treasures of unexpected achievement.

So, for anyone who is thinking about taking on a big challenge in either their business or personal lives and are nervous about what lies ahead. Here are 5 important life lessons that my training has taught me.

I hope you find them useful.

Consistent Activity Garners Remarkable Results

At first, 5K seemed like a long way.

You then put it in the context of 26 miles (40K) and you get a brief, terrifying view of the enormity of what you’ve taken on.

It’s enough to send you running for the hills. But of course, you don’t attempt 26 miles from day one. Each time you go out, you go that little bit further. Push yourself that little bit harder. And little by little, you move towards your goal.

I’ve learnt that when you do something a little and often, especially the things you fear, you master that thing and what once seemed impossible becomes inevitable.

Form Mutually Beneficial Partnerships

Had I attempted the Marathon on my own, I would have given up yonks ago. It would have been too easy to call it a day.

Perhaps the first time it rained or the first muscle pull. Something would have stopped me in my tracks.

Having a running partner has given me the encouragement and support needed to stay focused and committed.

We now bounce of each other. Each of us pushing the other to break new ground, achieve new feats and move forward towards our goal.

We all need running partners in our lives. You don’t have to go it alone.

Build in Accountability

At first the running was just for fun. A chance to get fit and spend some time with a mate. However, even with the best intentions and a desire to lead a healthier life, it’s easy to give up.

I’ve been there so many times before. Building up good momentum at the gym only to let my training schedule slide and with it, all the good work I’d done.

By running the Marathon for charity, it’s no longer just about me. I’ve made a commitment to others. People that I don’t want to let down.

I’ve made myself accountable and by doing so built in the drive and determination to keep on going.

That Little Voice Doesn’t Know Jack

Each run is a battle of wits and willpower. Every step a choice between turning back and progressing towards the finishing line.

There have been many moments when I’ve wanted to quit. When the little voice in my head has said, enough’s enough buddy. You’re done.

And it would be so easy. I’m tired and hungry. Muscles are screaming and all I want to do is stop.

Yet I’ve found that even when I’m at my most tired, I have hidden reserves of energy that I never knew I could tap.

That the only limits are the ones that we impose on ourselves.

Every Ceiling becomes a Floor

We all have an idea of what we’re capable of and typically confine ourselves within the limits of what we believe that potential to be.

We then set our goals at these limits and hope that sometime in the future we’ll reach them.

Running has taught me that the opposite is true. My goals aren’t the end. They are a starting point. Each new distance transforming from the furthest I’ve ever run to the minimum manageable distance.

Goals are no longer the things that I can see in the distance that I hope one day I’ll reach.

They are merely the hurdles to my next big adventure.

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