Why running a marathon is like running a business

In 2009, I took the brave (or foolish, depending on how you look at it) to tick one more task off the bucket list and entered myself into the London Marathon.

Now , I am not a runner by any stretch of the imagination and I am more built for Prosecco than speed, so it was not a natural feat for me to undertake. It also didn’t help that three days before the race, I was told that I was at risk of being made redundant from my job as a City lawyer.

Undeterred by this small set back, I ran the marathon in just under 6 hours, beating Katie Price and Peter Andre but also picked up a knee injury half way through the race. I was pleased to have finished and still consider it as one of my greatest achievements (plus I raised over £2,000 for The Gorilla Organisation) but I would never do it again.

A lot has happened since then (including losing my job as a lawyer on the Tuesday after the marathon), setting up my own businesses and when I sit here watching this year’s race, it has got me thinking about how running a marathon is a lot like running a business:-

  • Preparation is key!

Most people start training for a marathon at least one year before the event and this principle should also be applied before you start your business. You need to do your research to avoid (business) injury and burnout. I only started to prepare six weeks before the marathon, hence sustaining an injury which ultimately hampered my performance on the day.

  • Support

I am one of those people who thinks they can do everything on their own but the reality is I cannot! Having a supportive network around you will only help you achieve your goals and recognising this early on will help you get there quicker.

  • Positive Mental Attitude

Easier said than done, especially when you have a strong inner critic like mine! I remember hitting the proverbial wall coming over Tower Bridge when I realised I was only half way through the race and I could see other runners on their home straight. Mental health is a hot topic at the moment (and so it should be), so make sure you equip yourself with the tools to get you through the tough times.

  • Don’t worry about what other people are doing

There are always going to be faster runners than you, bigger and more successful businesses than yours – stick to your path, keep focused and you’ll get to the finish line.

  • Have fun!

It’s such a cliché these days, but if you are not passionate about your business , then it will be impossible to impart that onto your clients. When your business ceases to incorporate a sense of fun, it will be time to look to make changes.

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