15 Lessons Learned From A Marathon


8 months ago I ran my first marathon, the Rotterdam Marathon. My preparation for the race was very poor, the most I ran before the event was 22 kilometers, and that was only once. This made it more challenging, but I was looking forward to it.

Generally, I like to do things with a purpose, so I ran to support my cousin fighting against leukemia.

About 10 kilometers away from the finish line, I stopped. My legs couldn’t move forward anymore, and even though my mind commanded the opposite, the pain was so great I thought I wouldn’t be competent enough to finish the race. I hit the wall as the expression goes.

From that moment on I had to change my approach, I had to work on small goals. I would set objects on the way to reach jogging and then stop or walk from there. Eventually, with one final sprint invigorated by the crowd, I finish the marathon within four hours and twenty-seven minutes.

This has been one of the biggest self-taught lessons so far. Lately, I have been thinking about what I learned so I can apply it to my everyday struggles. This is what I’ve come up with:

1 You are more competent than you think you are, you just have to put yourself in painful positions.

2 Support is very important, embrace it.

3 Every step of the way actually counts.

4 Small obtainable goals is a great strategy, break down big goals or tasks into little ones.

5 Sometimes logic does not make sense. Uncertainty of the end result is acceptable, what’s important is that you keep on going.

6 Cheer those who are running next to you, it’s not a competition.

7 Run at your own pace.

8 Take small breaks and celebrate along the way.

9 Enjoy and appreciate the environment.

10 You are going to sweat.

11 No one is going to run this for you.

12 Preparation is key; it will certainly make it less painful.

13 Do it for you, but also have a bigger purpose.

14 When you’re limping laugh, if you don’t find it funny it can at least help reduce the pain.

15 Whatever happens, smile.

How can you apply these points to your struggles?

Much happiness,

Hansel | @hanselpahmer