Business is a like a Marathon, Not a Sprint


Marathon Medals

When I was in my twenties, I ran marathons.

Running 26.2 miles is not something you just go out and do. You must learn the strategy of how to run that far successfully, and prepare for months. While I didn’t hire a coach, I did read lots of articles and get lots of advice about how to train for a marathon.

Tip:  You must learn how to do the things you’ve never done before, if you want to be successful.

As you might expect, the first time you run a marathon, it’s quite a learning experience.

There are some things no amount of training can prepare you for….like running the last 6 miles in the cold, pouring rain (yes, that’s happened in my first marathon) and hitting the proverbial wall at 20 miles (yes, despite my training and preparation, I hit it).

Thankfully my family and friends were there to cheer me on those last few miles.

What did that experience teach me?

That you can’t always control your environment and sometimes you just have to push through to finish what you’ve started, even if it’s not fun. And, that no matter how much you prepare, the first time you do anything, it still may not go smoothly.

But I finished and I felt a huge sense of accomplishment.  And, I took what I learned into marathons #2 and #3 (and thankfully in those races the weather cooperated and no walls were hit!).

As I think back to those days, I realize how much of my marathon training mentality I have brought into my business over the past 13 years.

Business really is like a marathon.

To be successful in business, it really helps to:

  • Learn the strategies that are necessary to succeed (instead of just “winging” it)
  • Read books, take courses, or hire mentors or coaches to help you prepare (instead of trying to figure it all out on your own)
  • Take the time to prepare and do things right (instead of just jumping in)
  • Be willing to do whatever it takes (even if sometimes it’s not fun)
  • Learn from every experience (and be sure to take that learning forward)
  • Stay focused on your bigger goal (to help you get through the tough spots)
  • Have “cheerleaders” to support you (instead of trying to do it alone)

Success takes Commitment.

To be successful, for the long-term, takes a commitment, it takes dedication, it takes preparation, it takes training, it takes learning and applying strategies, and yes, it even takes some trial and error.

But just as with a marathon you improve with every race, in business, you improve with every new product or service launch, with every marketing promotion, with everything you do, because once you’ve prepared, you learn by doing. That’s why I practice a strategy called “Ready, Fire, Aim” and encourage my clients to do the same.

As long as you are committed, and you apply what you learn to your next effort, you will eventually succeed. The only way not to is to give up.

By the way…could I go out and run a marathon today? Absolutely not!

While I still run and work out because fitness is important to me, I’m not training and preparing for that distance. That lifestyle doesn’t suit me at this time in my life, nor is running a marathon important to me right now. The same holds true for your business. Prepare, train, and do what you need to do, to accomplish what you want, now. And, if what you want changes, adjust accordingly. Lastly, be fair to yourself when you have expectations about what you should and shouldn’t be able to do. If you’re not preparing for it, don’t expect to be able to pull it off.


About Debbie

Debbie worked in marketing for 32 years and ran a successful coaching and consulting business for 19. She now teaches marketing and helps people find greater happiness and success by learning how to Follow Inspiration.

3 comments on “Business is a like a Marathon, Not a Sprint

  1. I always find myself putting things back in focus after reading your blogs. THis one reminded me that I am doing some of the right things….working with a coach, constantly reading to learn new strategies, and surrounding myself with people that support me and cheer me on through the next hurdle. It also reminded me that there are still many, many things I can do to be better prepared for the next race. Once again, thanks Debbie for your insight!


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