9 Life Lessons I Learned From Running A Marathon

1. Great preparation equals great results. 

The better you prepare for the race, the easier it gets in the end. You don’t set out to simply run a marathon. It is not just about the final race itself. There is a lot of stuff happening that nobody else is seeing you doing. There is so much you have to think of.

  • You come up with a training plan. You stick to it for several months.
  • You have to undergo some pain. You might even want to quit.
  • You will question your motives. You have to learn how to control your emotions.
  • You cultivate a stronger mind because you learn to force yourself to go further than your body might want to make you believe it can go.
  • You set clear goals and think about how to reach them.
  • You focus on your nutrition and how you can improve you performance and endurance in the long run.
  • You analyse your running style and talk to experts on which shoes might support your very own type the best.
  • You get the right equipment and you invest some money into that idea. The list goes on and on.

Then you execute, every day. 

In the end you run the race and everybody says something like: “Wow, that’s so awesome! I could never do it!” But they do not see the huge amounts of “work” that went into it. They do not see the hours of training you had to undergo in order for you to make it through the marathon. They do not see the small steps in which you improved your performance with every new workout.

2. Small things add up. 

Everybody says that this is something huge you achieved. But when you have run your first marathon yourself, you will realise that it is just a sum of a lot of very small steps you took in order to achieve that “big goals”. “Running a marathon” might sound impossible or unrealistic to a lot of people, but what about “running one kilometre” on one day? What about doing this for at least 6 months? Whenever you achieve something big in your life, you will realise that it is nothing more than that: breaking down a huge goal into smaller (manageable) steps, where each of them gets you a TINY bit closer towards making your dream come true.

3. You learn to separate your “feelings” from your actions. 

You stick to your training plan whatever emotions you find yourself in. While in training you might not feel motivated to go for another 12 km run when its rainy outside. Believe me, this happened to me more than once in the last 6 months. But because everything you do is the sum of all the small things you do (or not do) you force yourself to do it. Even when your brain might tell you that you don’t want to. When you have a CRYSTAL-CLEAR reason on why you do things, you know that it is the only right thing to do.

You cannot control your mood, but you can always control your actions. You can decide to do it nonetheless. You can decide to do it even if you don’t feel at your best shape right now. It is this choice that makes you become a stronger version of yourself, because it is this attitude that separates the successful people from the people who say they want to be successful.

Doing something although you don’t really feel like doing it, might be the most crucial ability in creating a habit and cultivating perseverance. 

4. Nobody can do it for you, you have to do it yourself.

In the end YOU have to run the race by yourself. There might be friends running with you, but yet in the end YOU have to put one leg in front of the other. Nobody can force you, nobody can help you. Nobody owes you to help you. It was your decision to do so and now you have to make this idea in your  mind come true.

Just like everything else in your life this is how you should attack new projects! Don’t expect somebody to get you out of your bad “life situation”. If you are unhappy about anything, it is your FULL responsibility to handle it. You cannot burden other people around you with your problems. Learn to deal with it by yourself and then be an inspiration for others to do the same. But don’t drag other people down because you think they owe you to help you. They don’t. Sorry:)

5. There is always somebody to support you. 

Although nobody can do the race for your, there are a lot of people who love what you do and want to show their support. It can be a random person chanting for you at the toughest part of the race, or just a little child holding out its hand for you to give it a high five! There are a lot of little things around you all the time that make the journey more enjoyable. You just have to keep an eye out for them!

6. Just take one step at a time. 

Do this 50000 times!:)

7. Things will be tough times; you have to push through.

Things will get though from times to times. You might feel pain and you want to stop. You might question why you do all this. And you might feel like it makes no sense whatsoever. You don’t see clearly anymore and you lose your focus. This can happen anytime along the way and you might want to stop and quit.

But you have cultivated a behaviour where it is not common for you to quit. You learned that big goals might require some pain. You learned that pain is literally temporary. You might feel like shit now, but you know that when you make it through, the pain will dissolve and something else will take its place.

You will NOT remember how you felt at kilometre 38 where the pain in your legs raises into new heights. But you will always love to recall the moments you pass the finish line and you tell yourself: “You did it!”

8. The rewards are always worth the pain.

Here are some of the rewards you get from sticking to your workout and finally finishing the marathon:

  • You develop a habit of commitment and perseverance (one of the most crucial abilities you can cultivate when you try to achieve anything in life)
  • You teach yourself how to focus on ONE goal at a time and follow through on all the necessary steps to take in order to achieve it.
  • You deepen your sense of gratitude for the small things in life (like being able to run or walk, which might not be the case for some days after the marathon:))
  • You increase your self-worth and remove doubts which were holding you back.
  • You push your limits and unlock abilities of yours which you didn’t even know you have.
  • You become more healthy and stronger.
  • You might lose some weight (actually a lot).
  • You learn to manage your time more effectively because you have to do ALL the stuff you did before + workout for about 10 hours a week. (Somehow everything is still easily manageable! Strange, hmm?)
  • You learn to say “no” and priorise your time.
  • You exercise a lot and therefore become more happy and fulfilled (don’t ask me about any biological details here, but somehow working out tells your body to produce some natural “drugs”:))

9. The finish line is not the final destination.

You will understand that it is never over. Yes, you finish the marathon. Yes, you were sticking to your workout plan for the last couple of months. But yet this is not the final destination. You can never quit. You could even run a marathon, get fit, get in shape, eat healthy, workout, etc. and then afterwards fall back to your default behaviour and eat at McDonald’s and shit just to get fat and watch TV the whole day again.

It’s a journey and you learn that it is the little decisions and the little choices we make each day that shape us tremendously. It’s the quality of these decisions that will in the end define what we are and where we end up.

It’s now your duty to make the right ones. Each day.

Stay connected:
  • miguelito

    What a powerful way to describe life’s journey! At the end of each race you will be happy seeing yourself successful with all your dreams in life because of the choices you made.But in the end it is more fulfilling to look back on how you started and how you enjoy thelife’s journey itself. A must share

  • Thomas Mondel

    Thank you miguelito! I am glad you liked it!