10 Lessons I've Learned from Running 6 Marathons [Podcast]

Earlier this month, I completed my 6th Marathon. I literally can’t believe that. I still don’t consider myself a runner. I have learned so many lessons about life and leadership through running marathons. I want to share those lessons with you in this month’s podcast. Whether you have never run a marathon, you plan to, or you have run 20+, I believe the lessons I have learned will add value to your life as a leader. Let’s jump right into this…



Lesson 1: You can do Anything

Lesson 2: The Key to Any Accomplishment is Following the Right Game Plan 

“The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.” -Denis Watley

Almost everything you want to accomplish in your life has been done by someone else.

Action Steps: Master Plan

Lesson #3 – Have a Deadline with Consequences 

    • This may seem simple in the case of a marathon. . .  but you know what signing up for a marathon does for me? It puts pressure on me to follow the plan because I know on _ this date, I am going to have to run 26.2 miles. I can’t procrastinate. I can’t push the date back.
    • Your deadline has to have consequences. For instance: If I don’t run a few times a week, I am not going to finish the marathon. If I don’t have my book written and sent to the publisher by this date, I am not going to get the book deal. etc.

Look over your goals: Do you have a deadline with consequences? If not, set them now!

Lesson #4: It’s You vs. You 

Compete against yourself. Always give your best and you will never have to worry about comparing.” I love that. No matter what goals you are pursuing, do the best you can. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. It’s always you vs. you.

In life, stop trying to compete with everyone else. Set your own standards so high that it is never a matter of comparison and competition. Compete against yourself. Get better everyday! Push yourself. Motivate yourself.

Lesson #5: You can always Get Better at Whatever You’re Doing

My first 3 marathons, I got worse times each marathon I ran. My first I ran 4:25, second 4:38, and third 4:43! The last 3 I’ve run I’ve gradually gotten better. I got 3:53, 3:48, and 3:42. I never dreamed that would be possible! I never thought I would be able to shave an hour off my worst time, but I have!

How did I do that? There are a lot of things: I learned to eat healthy, I trained harder and smarter, I followed better plans, I got better accountability and coaching, I learned a lot more about running, etc.

The key is to always be evaluating yourself and ask yourself, how I can improve? How can I make this better?

The first three marathons, I didn’t not try to get better… I was sloppy, I had bad habits, etc. Until I was intentional about being better, I unintentionally got worse. The same will happen to you in any endeavor in life. Be intentional about getting better.

Lesson #6: Follow the Pacer 

I did not learn this lesson until my 4th marathon. A pacer is an experienced marathon who is assigned a certain finish time and he gathers a group of runners who want to finish at that time and he runs the entire marathon with them, keeping them on pace, encouraging them to hit their goal.

The pacer pushed me harder than I would have pushed myself. He knew what it would take for me to hit my goal. He helped me achieve it. 

One of the most important parts of being a great leader is being a great follower.

We need to find leaders in our lives who can act as pacers in our lives. People who have been where we want to go, who know how to get there, and are willing to take us with them.

In your life, who are some potential pacers or mentors that could help you get to where you want to go? 

Lesson #7: Having a Purpose Bigger than Yourself is Huge!

My first 4 marathons, I ran for me and the people I was running with. My last two, I’ve run for the non-profit I work with, Light of Life Rescue Mission.

Doing this has done several things, it gave me even more purpose in my training. I was no longer training just for me, I was training for the men, women, and children we help, I was running for the people who supported me financially, and I was running for the public, of whom I made my goal public.

Running a marathon is great, running a marathon and making a difference in the lives of others is 100x better! 

With whatever you are pursuing – is there a purpose bigger than just you? If not, find out how you can make it bigger than you. It will help you stay motivated, disciplined, and when you do accomplish the goal, it will be even sweeter!

Lesson #8: Taking the Journey with Others is So much Better than Taking the Journey Alone 

“A genuine friend encourages and challenges us to live out our best thoughts, honor our purest motives, and achieve our most significant dreams.” -Dan Reiland

Four out of the 6 marathons, I’ve run with others! Some of my favorite memories in the last 6 years are training with great friends and creating great memories together on the journey to running our marathons. Most recently, I ran with my wife, we trained together. She made me better! She held me accountable! We helped each other! We made some incredible memories. The best part was seeing her at the finish line. The highlight of my last marathon wasn’t me finishing and getting a personal record, it was me finishing and seeing her at the finish line knowing she finished! We spent 20 weeks training together! Having that experience together was unbelievable!

Too often in life, we want to be lone rangers. We want to do everything ourselves either because we want credit for it or we think we can do it without the help of others. Here s a shocker: You can’t do anything without others! Two are always better than one! Don’t do life alone! Do life with others! Go after dreams and goals together!

Lesson #9Life is a Marathon, not a Sprint, enjoy the journey! 

Crossing the finish line is an awesome feeling, but it’s not awesome because you just crossed a line and got a medal. It’s awesome because you spent 20 weeks, thousands of hours, and ran hundreds of miles to be able to cross that finish line. The medal didn’t make the marathon awesome, the journey did. It’s the same in life, so many times we want the medal know, we want the accolades now, and we’re unwilling to do what we need to do during the journey to get to the finish line.

Henry Cloud said, The biggest enemy of small steps that lead to big results is our craving for having it all now.”

Training isn’t always fun, Do it Anyway! Writing isn’t always fun, do it anyway. Speaking isn’t always fun, do it anyway. Working out is not always fun, do it anyway!

If you’ll handle today correctly, tomorrow will take care of itself!

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” -Henry David Thoreau

It’s not about what you do, it’s about who you become. It’s all about the journey! Enjoy it! 

Lesson #10: You’re Anointed to Finish

The reality is, for the most part, everyone on the planet wants you to do well and are cheering you on. In the last stretch of the marathon there are hundreds of people cheering for you, and they don’t even know you! It’s incredible!

Whatever you do in life and for God, know that there are billions of people cheering you on to your finish line!

Philippians 1:6 – And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle-victorious.” -Vince Lombardi

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