Archive of ‘Life Rules’ category

13 Life Lessons I Learned From Training For A Half Marathon

Last December, I decided that I was going to run a half marathon. I had never run more than 4 miles and the idea of running 13 miles was intimidating to say the least. I signed up for a half marathon in May and I began my training. It was the hardest thing I ever did… physically. But I did it! In fact, I completed the race in 2 hours and 15 minutes which is excellent for a first time runner. I’ve never been so proud of myself for accomplishing something like this. I ran 13 miles! Holy crap!

When I thought about all the things I had to do to be successful, I realized I learned way more than just learning how to run a half marathon. I learned critical life skills that can be applied to all areas of my life to help be reach my goals for this year.

Here are the 13 life lessons I learned while training for a half marathon…

Slow Down

When I started getting stronger in my training, I found myself pushing myself to go faster. To finish my long runs sooner. This only lead to injury and burn out. In life, I’ve learned to stop racing to get from point A to point B. To stop being so focused on finding the fastest path and then stressing about how long the journey is taking me. When I finally slowed down, I learned that the journey can be far more enjoyable than the destination.

2. Power Through

There were days when I didn’t want to run. The idea literally pained me. This is a defining moment. When you hear those voices and simply say “Thanks, but I’m going to do this anyway.” When you power through your mind convincing you otherwise is when you will see self transformation.

3. Expect Pain

If you think you’re going to be able to train for any sport and not incur injury then you’re fooling yourself. There will be pain. Running doesn’t always feel good. There will likely be pulled muscles. Just like assuming you will go through life without hiccups and failure is false. There will be highs and lows in life. The sooner you accept that a low is part of life, the easier it is to power through, because after a low there is always a high.

4. Be Ruthlessly Consistent

The greatest success I’ve had in any part of my life is when I’ve stuck to consistent behavior. This may be the one bullet in this list that is the hardest to stick to, for me. I have to keep reminding myself of my success to keep going with consistent habits. When I trained for my half, I ran every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Without fail. I never missed a day. I was ruthless in my consistency. When I set the same sort of rules for my business or eating habits, I see success. Positive habits are powerful.

5. Set Small Goals

It feels good to succeed. I set myself very small, realistic goals that I could celebrate when I achieved them. Just adding a half mile to my route was worth a celebration. When setting goals for myself personally, it find that I’m much more likely to reach them when I have small goals to meet along the way. I need to feel success sooner.

6. Upgrade Your Environments

This is one that was huge for me. I realized I couldn’t run in my old running shoes and I wall ill equipped for the colder weather to run outdoors. I invested in excellent running shoes and high performing running gear. I also downloaded personal development webinars and audios for my long runs. It’s difficult to be successful if your environment isn’t set up for success. Consider weight loss. If you’re surrounded by junk food, your chances of success are lower. Set yourself up so that it’s easy to do what you need to do.

7. Don’t Stop

A body in motion stays in motion. Don’t stop. Slow down. Change your pace. But do not stop. It takes 10X more energy to start back up after quitting. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll break your habits. But don’t stop. Course correct and keep working at it. Success only comes to those that don’t quit.

8. Celebrate ALL Achievements

I think this is one thing that so many of us don’t do for ourselves. We meet a small goal or milestone and instead of celebrating we criticize ourselves. I caught myself saying… great job on running 5 miles, but you need to be able to run 13. Or, at home, the kitchen is finally cleaned up but the living room is still a rec. Celebrate your victories. Small or big. They all deserve to be celebrated. Otherwise, what’s your motivation to keep achieving goals?

9. Focus On Your Accomplishments Not Your Failures

Our brains our so good at focusing on the negative. When I was able to run 7 miles, I caught myself focusing on how sore I was. How tired I was. That I wasn’t having fun. None of this thinking served me well. In life, pay attention to how many times you focus on the negative. This includes scolding yourself, gossiping, complaining, being disappointed. Ask yourself, what is good right now?

10. Understand Disappointment

It’s ok to be disappointed but understand why you feel this way. Disappointment comes from not meeting an expectation. You expected him to propose and he didn’t. You expected the movie to be life changing and it wasn’t. Try to look at the result differently. It is what it is. There’s no point in being disappointed when you have no control over a different outcome. It simply is what it is. And that is perfect.

11. Good Days and Bad Days

You’re going to have good days and bad days. You’re going to have highs and lows. Some runs felt fantastic! I was on a high. Other runs, I barely made it. Some days will be amazing and other days… meh. I think the real lesson for me was to do what I said I was going to do despite the lows. Power through.

12. Take Care of Yourself

When I was running, I neglected to take the time to take care of my body. Stretching, massage and rest. This caused a serious hamstring injury that took a couple months to ease. In life, put your self first. Take care of you. You deserve to be taken care of, so treat yourself to a day out. An hour out. A mani-pedi. A favorite TV show. Something just for you. Because if you don’t take care of yourself, how in the world can you take care of the things and people that need you.

13. Have FUN

If I’m not having fun, then I’m unlikely to do it. Make every step as enjoyable and fun as possible. I played music and took scenic routes. If cleaning out the garage is a goal, make it fun. Pump music. Get friends to help. The task isn’t always going to be your favorite but you can still make the best of it.

You may not be training for a half marathon, but you can apply these lessons to any part of your life to achieve success. Just imagine if you applied just a couple of these things to one of your goals. Would you be successful?

Life Rule #1: Slow the F* Down!

What’s your hurry?

That’s what my business coach said to me in reaction to my latest meltdown.

I’ve been crunching on my style blog this past year achieving aggressive goals. I have an endless amount of ideas and I want to do everything on that list.

I started getting discouraged because I wasn’t hitting the numbers like I expected and it felt like everything was going wrong.

My whining included:

  • I can’t get what I want done done
  • I’m not meeting my numbers this month
  • I’m really frustrated
  • I’m overwhelmed, I have too much I need to do
  • What if I don’t hit my goals this year?

There was more, but you get the idea.

My business coach interrupted me and said… “Hey Jen. What’s your hurry?”

Which completely derailed me. Umm… I don’t know. What IS my hurry?

I was then instructed to really think about the person I am right now and the person I need to be to run a million dollar business.

Well, shit.

I am not a whining whoah-is-me leader of a million dollar company… damnit. But at that moment I fell into a pool of self doubt, self pity and got all caught up in my head.

We are our worst enemies. I am grateful for my coach because it’s times like this that I need a kick in the ass. Which is what I got.

So, I sat with the sting for a bit and then I thought… F* this. I am the owner of a million dollar company. What IS my hurry?? None.

So, I took a deep breath, stepped back and took a look at my company at a higher level. Where are we going? What is the vision for next year? What do I want to accomplish?

Instead of focusing on the little things that may not be going smoothly are started focusing on where I want to take the vision of the company.

I feel so much better… my company sales jumped the following month and I am clear on my vision for next year. I’m so excited!

So, if you’re trying to do too many things… at high speed… you’re going to end up pulling a muscle. Slow down. Make sure you have the support system in place to handle the high pace you set for yourself. Otherwise, you will crash and have a meltdown… and it doesn’t feel good at all.


Jen Thoden