Run Your Business Like a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Running a marathon

There are all sorts of runners out there. Trail runners, sprinters, and marathoners. Each type of runner has unique qualities that make them best suited for their type of race. A trail runner is great at agility and dodging snares while a sprinter is excellent at using explosive speed for short periods of time. Marathon runners have the ability to withstand long periods of running while conserving their energy. 

Running a business is a lot like running a marathon. While it is important to avoid snares and have intermittent explosive energy, it’s more important to have the stamina to withstand the long and arduous race. The ability to go the long haul is what helps a healthy business thrive, while others simply run out of steam. 

When a marathon begins, the wise runner starts slow and steady. They understand that bursting off the starting line won’t gain any real advantages over the competition. Many of the people who start off with great enthusiasm won’t make it past the half-way mark. It’s best to conserve energy for down the road when the real competition begins. 

Running a marathon requires breaking the course down into manageable chunks.

Staying focused on small tasks like completing 10 miles and breaking through the dreaded wall when the body is fatigued. Staying focused on the small tasks rather than the enormity of the race helps the runner stay focused.

It’s the same for business owners who don’t think too far ahead and lose sight of the immediate tasks and needs of the business. 

Running a marathon requires a strong and stable mind that can overcome the body that wants to quit when the going gets tough.

In the same way, a great business owner can use their mind to override the fatigue and strain that comes from the ups and downs of running a business. Things are going to happen but if you build up your stamina and refuse to quit, your steady commitment will pay off in a big way. 

Running a business like a marathon is a wonderful metaphor that reminds business owners that slow and steady wins the race. Completing small tasks over time is far more advantageous than bursting off the line and losing steam long before the race is over. Develop the marathon mindset with your business and commit to the long haul and you’ll have the tools and the will power to outlast the competition. 

So as a business, your marathon principles are:

Know your “why”

Why are you in business, for who? To achieve what? To serve who? When you and your team operate from the deep knowing of who you serve, for whatever the reason is, profit is not the only motivator. The why is what keeps you determined, consistent and inspired when you inevitably hit the valley’s of business ownership.

Fail to plan… plan to fail

I have always said as an entrepreneur that you have to treat your business as if it was an elite athlete. That means, going through the mental and physical preparation of what it means to run a business. Just like a runner will know the nutrition, drills and exercises necessary to hope to win the race – the same has to happen in your business.  

Once you have a plan….

Set the goals and milestones you then want to achieve.

Using the SMART model determine the goals you want to achieve and the milestones you want to hit. Knowing the goals and milestones keeps you focused and intentional about what you want to do in your business and stops you wasting time with unnecessary distractions.  

Then have a decisive strategy you are going to take action on.

Without these steps it will be challenging to start and grow a successful business. You have to be committed to the long haul and belief in yourself and your ability to run your business. 

Almost all skills can be learned, but attitude and belief are instrumental in you being successful!

I’d love to help you plan your marathon!


Hi! I'm Teresa

I help business women up-level their mindset, lives & businesses

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