Why everyone should run a marathon!

I recently ran the Manchester marathon. I wasn’t fast, and I wasn’t last – 3hr 31 min to be precise – but sometimes the time is irrelevant. I ran a marathon in 2014 (Edinburgh) and have run the distance a few more times at the end of Ironman triathlons (pre-children!), but this time around was a little different. I haven’t slept much in the last few months (see earlier reference to children!) and had a busy few months at work and at home, so training was ‘minimalistic’ to say the least. However, aside from a ‘moment’ a few weeks before race day, I knew that I could get around alright. It wouldn’t be a PB, but I would complete the distance.

Create a new normal

And that’s when I realised that something had changed in the last few years – my perspective. Being able to run a marathon on minimal training was now my ‘new normal’, and I think there is a lesson in that: what you perceive as your ‘normal’ can vastly change over time, and your limits are almost certainly not where you think they are.

Perhaps you have thought about entering a 10k/half marathon/marathon, taking up a new hobby, writing a book, or doing some voluntary work. In your professional life, you might always have wanted to set up your own business, to expand your business into a new city, offer a new service, or change career completely, but convinced yourself that it’s beyond your capabilities, that you don’t have the necessary knowledge, or that you are too busy. If that sounds familiar, I would really encourage you to challenge yourself on this – it’s all too easy to find reasons not to do things! You are just as capable as that other person who has done it, or is in the process of doing it; the only difference is their mindset.

Changing perspectives

You don’t need to go in all guns blazing, signing up to climb Mount Everest next week, but decide what it is you want to achieve, and start taking small, incremental but consistent steps towards it, building momentum as you go. Those daily, weekly or monthly steps towards the goal, over time, are what make the difference. Once you have that consistent practice, what once seemed like a pie in the sky idea will come clearly into view, and be more than achievable. And once achieved, your perspective will have changed, in a positive way, forever. Even if your goal was to start a new business, and it wasn’t ultimately successful, going through the process, and making that your ‘new normal’, will change your outlook, and help you believe that it is not beyond your capabilities should a better opportunity arise in the future.

So, while I would encourage you all to run a marathon – I truly believe anyone can do it with the right preparation and dedication to training – your goal may be something quite different to that. The same principles apply though: identify what it is you want to achieve, commit to it, then train for it in a deliberate and consistent way. Very philosophical I know, but life is short, so set about doing the things you have always wanted to do. And remember, nothing changes if nothing changes.

Gregor Angus, The Cashroom

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