Having started running only after turning 40, I realized that there are many similarities in training for and running a marathon, and life itself. The basic fact, of course, is this—one is 26.2 miles and takes between two and six hours to complete and the other can take several decades.
For both, one needs focused training, discipline, and some basic tools. And in both, the biggest prize is the self-esteem of having done something well. To be sure, there are lows and highs. There is no such thing as an easy marathon and the same applies to life. Neither can be coursed through without training.
We need a holistic approach for both. We need to run, stretch, build muscle, manage nutrition, wear the right gear, follow a good training regimen, run in different weather and terrain conditions, etc. to prepare for a marathon. And we need to be well-rounded individuals, with a sharp mind and a large heart, with varied interests and the ability to cope with tough circumstances to ultimately “win” the marathon of life.
• Raise your abilities to the heights of your goals rather than lower your goals based on your abilities.
• Accept that you will never always feel on top of the world.
• Sometimes to do better or run faster, we need to slow down or rest.
• There is no stretch goal that is impossible, it may just be tough, or need a bit more focus.
• The mind is more important than matter for many stretch goals.
• There is no one single solution to a problem. Things have to be viewed holistically and then acted upon individually.
• A unidimensional achievement often undermines achievement in the broader canvas.
All of us, at any stage in life, can run. Budhia Singh has run marathons at six and Fauja Singh ran the London marathon at 94, his sixth after his first at the age of 89. So what’s your excuse today? What insurmountable issues do you have while running or at work? While we are very focused on the latter, we rarely take time to ponder over the former. Running a bit or jogging a bit within your walks can make you fitter, healthier and give you that inner self-confidence.
I have said this before in these columns, I have never had a cough, cold or fever in the last seven years after I started running. It’s been a bit tough, I must confess, not the least being that I have run out of some of the most credible and easy excuses for playing hookie. I am looking for some better ones so please email me if you can suggest something!
You could check out the previous columns, dealing with basics such as:
• Appropriate running shoes
• Schedules for walkers and beginner runners
• Basic running gear and stretching exercises or you can get some additional details from www.runningandliving.com. Remember, it is always the first step and the first day that is the toughest. A colleague who had never ever run before, started two months ago, and just the other day, ran 10km.
(Rahul S. Verghese is a management consultant. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org)