6 things marathon training taught me

Photo by Brian Erickson on Unsplash

One of the reasons I love to train for endurance events is learning so many things that can be adaptable to “normal life”. As one of my other passions is business, I tend to relate most things to that. Training for endurance races is like micro versions of the macro things you face in real life.

Life is like a marathon

Cliché, right?

We’re always looking for shortcuts, like losing a lot of weight in a few weeks, getting rich overnight, etc. While a very, VERY, small percentage of people might achieve those things — the majority will not. Understanding that the safest, most stable way of achieving things is by staying consistent over a long period of time.

Planning is key

In order to achieve things, you need to have a plan. You can’t train for an endurance race by going for a run when you feel like it, running a distance you feel like. Or I’m sure you can, but you get what I’m saying. You need to have a plan and a schedule.

The same goes for starting a business. You need to have a plan. You can’t say “I’m going to start a business” and just do what comes to mind.

So come up with a plan first, then execute. The more detailed your plan is, the better.

You need to do more than just the “one thing”

In order to run a marathon in the time you set out to do, you can’t just do one thing. Just running an easy pace every run won’t do it. Your workouts should consist of long easy runs, short and fast sprints, tempo runs, running hills, strength training, etc. Besides the actual workouts, you need to recover, fuel & hydrate properly, taper, etc.

When starting a business, you can’t just do the one thing “you do”. You need to take care of accounting, marketing, sales, the brand, employees, culture, etc. One person should absolutely not do all those things, but when starting out that might be the case. And still, understanding that it’s important to cover all those things and not just the one thing “you do”, is important.

You need to pace yourself

It’s easy to get in the flow when you’re motivated and driven. You might be so excited about the training that you put in a few extra workouts. Or you might feel so good early in the race that you go a little faster. These things might go south really quickly. It’s best to trust and follow the plan and preparations you’ve done.

Entrepreneurs are known for working a lot. A lot of work is required, and it’s easy to put in the time when you’re passionate about what you’re doing. But it’s important to pace yourself and keep some kind of work-life balance. There are periods when it’s necessary to go all-in and push hard, but long term you should make sure that you have some kind of balance.

Rest is golden

This kind of continues on the previous point. Instead of always working a little extra, you should sometimes rest instead. Also, actual sleep is so important. If you don’t sleep enough, you don’t recover and your next workouts will be affected by it. When you’re tired, it’s also more difficult to find motivation, your brain doesn’t work the same way, etc. You need sleep!

Enjoy

In order to succeed, you need to enjoy the process. You will be doing it for a long time. You probably won’t enjoy all aspects of it, but as long as the positive things outweigh the negative things — you’re winning. It might be difficult to be super excited when you’re going for a 3-hour run at 5 in the morning and it’s raining outside. Or to keep the pace in a race when you have 1/4 left of the race and your legs are hurting. You just have to remember why you started and think about all the positive things.

In business, you might not like accounting — but it’s needed for the business to run/succeed. Being your own boss and working whenever you want far outweigh the negatives. So enjoy it!

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Andreas Westerlund

Andreas Westerlund

Endurance athlete, digital nomad, nerd. Just a normal guy trying to figure out fitness, business, and life. https://www.andreaswesterlund.com