Top 5 Lessons from my first Marathon

Last week I ran my first marathon. 

My goal was to finish in under 5 hours. I finished at 4:34:32, or an average pace of 10:27 per mile. Here are my top 5 lessons from the Marathon: 

1. Take incremental steps by setting achievable goals and hitting them first. Then move on to bigger goals next. 

Confidence comes from keeping our word to ourselves. If we set a goal that’s unattainable, we are likely to give up because it’s too hard. 

So if you’re not a runner yet and dream of running a marathon, start with a goal of running a 5K. Then move up to a 10K, then a half-marathon, and finally a marathon. This was the path that I took over several years. 

By the time the marathon came around I built a solid identity as a “runner” and had built the confidence I needed to run a full marathon. 

Same goes for sales: I didn’t crack 7 figures until my 14th year in sales. Once I hit this, 7 figures became my new standard. 

2. Get a mentor and follow their playbook. This will strengthen your belief in hitting your goal and make it nearly inevitable. 

I found Hal Higdon as a coach and followed his novice marathon runner training plan. The plan was 18 weeks long, required training 5 days/week, and gave me the exact miles to run each day. 

Same goes for sales. Find a mentor who has achieved the results that you want, find out what they do, and follow it as closely as possible 

3. Take a step back to remove anything blocking your vision. 

During one of my early runs, a gnat flew into my eye and was stuck under my eyelid. I could barely see. I had to stop the run to go to the restroom and flush out my eye. Once I did, I could see clearly and had an amazing run. 

In sales and in life, sometimes we have things clouding our vision which we need to clear out before we can clearly see. It might be tending to our relationship, our mental health, our sleep, or anything that’s getting in the way of performing our best. The key is to take a step back to address what’s needed so we can take 10 steps forward. 

4. Sit with the pain, rather than running away

During one brutal 8 mile run in Yosemite, the weather was 90 degrees with high humidity. I had dozens of gnats flying around my head the entire run. Rather than helplessly trying to swat them, I got used to them and sat with the pain. I wanted to quit so many times but didn’t. 

During the marathon, when my legs cramped up on mile 21 I thought to myself “this sure beats running with those gnats.” 

If we sit with pain, this can be a reference point to endure future pain, as well as help us cultivate gratitude for what we have.  

So rather than running away from a tough situation, sit with it and dig deep so you can learn the lesson and come out stronger than ever. 

5. Go with the flow and be flexible

My race day didn’t go as planned. I hardly slept the night before and my family was sick so they couldn’t be there with me. 

Instead of ruminating which could have ruined my performance, I embraced the challenge directly and had my best run ever!  I’m also planning to run the LA Marathon next so my family can be there this time. 

Life will never go exactly as planned, so don’t get attached to your expectations or you will surely be disappointed.


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