Running a Half Marathon or Managing Money; It Pays to Prepare

Recently, I completed a half-marathon, my second one for 2015. We entered Brooklyn’s Prospect Park at around mile 10; when I reached mile 11 (and “the” hill), I recall saying to myself, “And this is why you prepare!”

Despite having logged 126 runs and having run a total of 549 miles prior to this race, that hill, one I run all the time, kicked my butt! In part, because at that point I just wanted the run to be over. The end was so, so near, yet 2.1 more miles felt so, so far away.

Having this feeling at this point in a long race is often referred to as hitting the wall. But, I wasn’t suffering any of the typical physical signs of fatigue. It was my mind that was being tested; my mental toughness was waning and reminding myself that I had prepared for this race was the boost of energy that I needed.

As an avid outdoor runner, I’m constantly drawing parallels between the sport of running and life. And, I particularly geek out on the idea that lacing up can also teach you some important money management lessons, too. Especially about the value of preparation.

So, even if you’re not a runner, read on to discover how this sport and money management are actually good companions. Then, choose one (1) to three (3) lessons you believe will help you take your money game to the next level…and apply them!

Acknowledge what you can’t control, but don’t let that stop you

When you run outside, weather is not something you can control. So, you dress accordingly and you go out and run anyway.

When it comes to money, you can’t control how the market or a particular investment is going to perform. But that shouldn’t stop you from investing. Nor should it stop you from having an overall strategy for your money.

Are you letting something outside your sphere of control, control the decisions you make and actions you take with your money?

Think long-term

Especially when you’re training for a long distance race like a half marathon (in my case) or a full one, each run is preparation for the big day. During training, that 3 mile run is just as important as that 11 mile one.

When it comes to money, that $10 saved is just as important as that $100 or $1,000 or… saved. In other words, every effort and amount counts.

Instead of working with what you have currently, are you waiting on some “someday, one-day” payoff before making a decision or taking an action right now?

Plan

Give yourself enough time to succeed. While I’ve heard of some people running a long distance race with as little as two weeks lead time, it’s not something I’d recommend. Especially if you want to finish strong and injury-free.

The same philosophy applies with money; make the practice of reverse engineering your best friend. Doing so is how you can trace today’s action to tomorrow’s success.

Every goal of yours may not be financial, but every goal needs to be financed. So, pick any goal of yours. When you think about how much money is required to finance that goal, have you given yourself enough time to meet the money requirement of it – with ease?

Practice

The art of practice is really about the arts of consistency and discipline. Having a regular running schedule better prepares you for the unknowns you’ll encounter on race day much better than following a sporadic schedule will.

The same is true when it comes to your money. Take an audit of your behavior and habits with money. Via this non-judgmental self-evaluation and assessment, you’ll find the secrets to your financial success (and failure).

Motivation

One of the beautiful things about the sport of running is that you see people of all different abilities doing it. And that can certainly be a motivating factor. But at the end of the day, running requires a lot of self-motivation – the motivation to train on the days you don’t want to; the motivation to (safely) challenge your body and mind to keep moving when you really just want to stop; the motivation to use other people’s effort and progress as a proxy of what’s possible – not as a source of competition.

Oh, how true when it comes to money. Yes, if someone else has been able to achieve financial success then it stands to reason that so, too, can you. But, you still have to figure out your particular path or approach to that success. Can you describe your way — are you following a plan that feels personal to you?

Competition

Competition can be tricky. On one hand, clocking someone else’s pace can motivate you to speed up a bit when you notice you’ve slowed down but you know you can do better. But at the end of the day, you’re not running against other people — you are only competing against yourself. And one of the things that is beautiful about the sport of running is that everyone is rooting for everyone to cross the finish line!

Imagine: What if you looked to other people’s financial success for clues as to what behavior or habits you may want to adopt as you work toward yours, but not as “the” marker of your own success? What if you realized others were looking at you as a source of inspiration?

There’s an adage that goes like this: Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. As I see it, this maxim applies to every aspect of life. It is as useful of a reminder when training for a half marathon as it is when managing your money.

Speaking of preparation and money, it is the beginning of benefits enrollment season. And so this week, I’m especially curious to know, on a scale of 1 to 10, how confident and prepared do you feel in your ability to choose the right mutual funds in your retirement account?

You can tell me here -> https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SMDBRVQ

I’d love it if you would take 5 minutes and use that link to share with me how prepared you feel. I’m excited to read what you have to say!

 

p.s. Seriously, the survey will take less than 5 minutes and I’ll personally be reading every word. It’s only 8 questions…most of which are multiple choice 🙂

Here’s the link again: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SMDBRVQ

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