Runners participating in the 2005 New York Cit...

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It seems that many of my peers in the coaching industry and blogging world are into long-distance running.

I’m not.

It’s just not for me.  I can relate to David Letterman when he says, “I pulled a hamstring during the New York marathon.  An hour into the race I jumped up from the couch.”

Having said that, I have great admiration for those who are able to run long distances, especially those who are able to put themselves through the arduous journey of a marathon.

After the recent Boston Marathon bombing, here are some of the principles that we can learn from marathon runners.

You have to do a lot of work just to get to the starting line.  You can’t just front up on the day and run a marathon.  Hours of planning, training and diet management are required if you are to have any hope of completing the big run.

This is the same for most other aspects of life.  If you want a flourishing career, aspire to be a great parent, artist or musician you can’t just turn up and expect to be successful without studying, planning and honing your skills.

You have to push through “the wall.”  Marathon runners describe a period during their journey that’s known as the wall.  When you hit the wall, you feel as though you can’t go on, either physically or mentally.  However, if you can push through that stage, you gain your second wind and gain momentum towards the finish line.

Life throws many obstacles at us and it can be easy to give up sometimes.

Those who are able to push through the frustrations of marriage can build lasting relationships.

Those who don’t give up after a few unsuccessful job interviews finally land their dream job.

Those who keep asking questions and search for truth eventually gain clarity and confidence in their faith.

When you next hit the wall, don’t give up, but keep pushing until you find your second wind.

You need a support crew.  Marathon runners are rarely able to achieve their goals without the assistance of others.  Whether it’s training with peers, having others assist you with hydration at drink stations or just those important fire-lighters cheering you on, the support of others is important to the eventual completion of the goal.

Life is a team sport.  We were designed to be successful with others, not at the expense of them.  Making sure that you are surrounded by others who can support you during good times and bad is a crucial element of your success.

It’s not who leaves the stadium first who wins, it’s who re-enters it first.  Anyone can start a marathon with enthusiasm and positive thoughts.  Even I could start a marathon with energy and passion.  But that’s not what matters.  After over two hours and 42 gruelling kilometres, it’s who can finish strongly that matters.

Once again this is true in business, study, relationships, faith, leadership, volunteering or any other venture that we can get excited about.  Starting strong is great, finishing strongly is better.  Don’t start off in a blaze of glory only to falter or get distracted soon after.  Keep your focus on your goal, maintain your momentum, stay positive and make sure that you finish what you started.

I have great admiration for those with the strength of mind and body who are able to complete a marathon.  If you’ve been able to complete one, what life principle did you learn from the experience?

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