As a life-long cyclist, I marvel at marathon runners.
Anyone that can propel themselves for 26-plus miles without the aid of pedals, wheels and a chain is simply amazing in my book.
The only thing more challenging than training to compete as a distance runner might just be starting a new business. Both activities require fierce dedication, focus, discipline and sheer raw tenacity. Imagine doing both at the same time!
That’s exactly what Eric Wallor, President and Founder of MarathonBookSeller.com is doing. While Eric is busy training to qualify for the Olympic Trials in distance running, he is also actively developing his on-line business in a tough economy against tough competition.
I caught up with Eric recently and during our inspiring discussion (I was the one inspired!), I was struck by the parallels between the life and lot of the distance runner and that of the leader.
I asked Eric to jot down his thoughts on what it takes to successfully prepare for and compete as a distance runner, and his words below offer priceless and timeless guidance for leaders in training everywhere. After all, as a leader, you’re always in training and the race is most definitely a marathon, not a sprint.
7-Words that Describe What it Takes to Prepare for a Marathon
by Eric Wallor
Being a marathon runner is not always easy, but it is rewarding. The mental side of training and preparing for a marathon is grueling and sometimes tiring, but the many benefits that it does give you mentally and physically are amazing. Here are 7 words that I feel best describe what you need to mentally prepare for a marathon.
1. Goals – There is no good reason to train for a marathon and not have personal goals in mind. Goals give you something tangible to aspire for and create a blueprint to stay focused and disciplined. Create a goal for yourself that will challenge you but with hard work, will also be attainable.
2. Discipline – There are many things you will have to contend with when preparing for a marathon. The little things make a big difference. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, stretching after every run, eating right, staying hydrated, doing your sit ups and don’t create excuses to get out of your routine.
3. Focus – Having the right focus will allow you to get through your day-to-day training that will help you to achieve your race day goal. To run 90, 100, 120 or more miles a week takes focus. You will be running twice a day, you will be tired from time to time and you will be running alone quite a bit. Remind yourself of your ultimate goal when your motivation is not at its finest.
4. Attitude – Are you excited to train everyday? Do you dread getting up for that morning run? Why are you running in the first place? To be a marathon runner and put in the work that is required to be successful you have to love it, bottom line.
5. Coach/Training Partner – Having someone to push you, give you direction and to give moral support is critical. People respond very well to accountability. In many cases when you train for a marathon there is going to be a lot of time where you are running by yourself. If you don’t have someone you are running with everyday or coaching you everyday then have to go out and seek that. Why? It keep you mentally fresh, it keeps you hungry, it keeps you excited and educates you about what your doing.
6. Tenacity – To train for a marathon you have to be tough. To be successful you have to have some bal$s! It goes way beyond just being about beating your competition. Having the tenacity to be the best YOU that you can be is the key to the whole thing.
7. Adaptability – Things are not always going to go as planned. You are going to have the occasional injury from time to time. There are going to be days where you just don’t have it and don’t run the right paces. Circumstances like weather and the kind of food you eat can adversely affect you. Expect outside distractions and influences to be there everyday. You have to just deal with it, stay strong and accomplish your goals.
Good luck with your marathon training.
The Bottom-Line from Art:
While Eric offers us all “good luck” with our training, I can assure you that his approach to success doesn’t depend upon luck. Each one of his “7-Words” applies to leaders everywhere, and offers us the parameters of a life-long training regimen for success in this challenging and noble profession of leading.
Your assignment here is to apply and build on Eric’s suggestions to improve your effectiveness as a leader. And we are all well-served to heed his excellent advice: “To be a marathon runner and put in the work that is required to be successful you have to love it, bottom line.” The same goes for leading.
About Eric Wallor:
Eric Wallor is President and Founder of MarathonBookSeller.com. Eric is a competitive marathon runner who is on the journey of qualifying for the United States Olympic Trials in the marathon for 2012 Olympic Games. Eric is in a unique position of not only competing at a high level athletically, but also running a business at the same time. MarathonBookSeller.com is a book buying service that focuses on buying and selling books, textbooks and DVD’s. is continuing to grow its relationships with businesses, universities and people across the United States.
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