10 life lessons I have learned marathon training

When you start working towards a new goal there will always be lessons you are forced to learn along the way. These lessons will come from both mistakes and progress and need to be reflected on equally.

If the goal is a new challenge, you will also be forced to do things you have never done before, putting yourself undoubtedly outside of your comfort zone. There are even more lessons you will learn about yourself in that place; how you react, how you face change, how you deal with new emotion, I could go on.

However when you start to reflect on those lessons, you can actually start to expand your comfort zone itself , and that is just as worthwhile as the challenge itself.

So here are the 10 things I think can apply to any new challenge that I’ve personally learned from my time preparing for marathons

1. Its okay to not do what everyone else is doing.

I spend the majority of my working week personal training clients, which means I spend the majority of my time amongst other personal trainers.

Do they run?

Absolutely not.

I work amongst a group of trainers that spend most of their training time strength training and the word endurance would be like a swear word to them. Do I need to strength train 5 times a week to be regarded as a personal trainer within that group?


Its good to be different. It can inspire others to step out and do something different too and that is essentially why I do the job I do!

2. You’ll never get anywhere by talking. It has to be followed up by action.

It’s easy to set your intention for the week ahead of when you’ll slot in the miles. But then the week happens. You get tired, you get hungry, there’s other things that need doing, there’s people you should see, etc. It’s easy to get caught up in other things and make excuses later. But nothing is going to happen if you don’t just get out and do it.

Stop thinking about, and just do it.

3. The why needs to be big enough.

Going back to my previous point of taking action, it’s the why that is going to keep you going.

Don’t just pick a goal in life that you think you should do, because you’re trying to please someone, you’re doing it because someone else is and you want to impress them, or you’re scared of sticking out in a crowd for doing something different.

Follow the goal that drives you the most inside. This why should be derived from your values and when you start to live in line with your values there’s nothing that will stop you.

There will be an upcoming post of how to find your values if you’re not sure, like many of us.

4. Get organised.

Give yourself the best chance of getting things done by planning. Factor every part of your week in, from the minute you wake up to the moment you go to bed, and find where sessions are going to fit best. That way all the hard work is done for you.

You just have to stick to it.

5. Headspace.

With any new challenge it’s going to consume your life. So take time to factor in alone time to gather thoughts and reflect on how things are going. Reflect on the good, the bad and the ugly, but also just allow time to clear your mind of everything that’s going on.

For me I find comfort in reading but it can be getting outside for a walk, baking, exercising - anything. Just make it something for you.

6. Listen to your body.

Don’t let those little niggles get put to the back of your mind. If you’re not addressing them, those small niggles will soon become huge ones.

If we look at the bigger picture small injuries and compensations cause more damage and more time off schedule down the track than if we had just addressed them in the first place. Prioritise everything, no matter how small.

7. Progress not perfection.

It’s so easy to get caught up on the things that aren’t going well, especially if you feel you’re not on track with the plan. Just remember every little step is a step further towards where you’re aiming, no matter how small.

8. Celebrate your successes.

Related to the previous point, knowing that every little win matters along the way make sure you affirm this in your mind with some sort of reward for your hard efforts!

9. Self Reflect.

Whether things are going well or not it is important to take moments to reflect along the way. Acknowledge what’s going well so you can repeat those steps again and again. But also reflect on what hasn’t gone well so you can think of a plan B if the same scenario arises again.

10. ‘There’s not enough hours in the day’ is not an excuse.

There is always time. It’s just about being smart.

Are there tasks that can be clubbed together?

For me I really like to make sure I’m ticking off learning and self-development each week. But I also need to walk my dog multiple times a day. So what do I do? I listen to the books I want to read in my headphones whilst walking the dog.

I always say you have exactly the same number of hours in the day as the highest achievers on the planet. They make it work, so therefore so can you.

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