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There are many top life lessons from running a marathon.

The New York City marathon is on November 5th and here are the top life lessons I learned.

When I was training for my first marathon in 2021 at the age of 30, I would hear people saying this over and over, “Running a marathon is a mental game. It doesn’t matter how fit you are if your mind isn’t in it.”

Two years ago I ran my first marathon in New York City and in 9 days I’ll be running it again.

If you’re a participant, you’ll quickly learn that running 26.2 miles is much more than physically running through all five boroughs. People are running for those who can’t, for loved ones lost and even for themselves because it’s something they never thought they could accomplish in their wildest dreams.

After I lost my grandma (yiayia in Greek) to Alzheimer’s in 2019, I signed up for my first half marathon. I thought sticking to a schedule and working towards a goal would be good for me and that’s when I got the runner’s high. Still today, I wear my yiayia’s name on my bib for every race.

If you’re not a runner though, don’t stop reading because this newsletter isn’t really about running at all. Running a marathon has become a metaphor for ways to navigate this thing called life. Here are the top life lessons from a marathon you will learn in 26.2 miles.

One of the top life lessons from a marathon is that you have to just keep going.

It’s mind over matter.

Not to sound like your mom but if you don’t believe in yourself, then who the f*ck will? If you don’t think you can do something, then you probably won’t. Mentally preparing for a marathon IMO is more important than the running part.

Like a lot of things in life, there’s so many reasons to quit, but you have to keep going.

You might not feel completely prepared but you’re going to do it anyway.

Do you really ever feel fully ready for something big? A cross-country move? Starting a job? Jumping into a new relationship?

Since I started training in June I’ve put in collectively over 200 miles and I still feel like I could be doing more to prep for race day. Trust the hard work that you’ve put into something and honestly whatever happens, happens. Just have fun and yes for some, running 26.2 miles is fun!

When you get hurt, it’s about how you get back up.

Training becomes a lifestyle outside of workouts. It’s just as important how you fuel your body, stretching, eating healthy and just feeling good. When something goes wrong, don’t freak out but stay calm and figure out what you need to do.

Don’t ever underestimate how far you’ve come.

In June I couldn’t run more than 6 miles and last week I did a 20 mile run. The 20 mile training run in some ways is more grueling than the marathon itself. You don’t have the race day adrenaline and the screaming crowds, rather just me and my thoughts running in a giant loop in a park for nearly four hours. But I have to remind myself that I got to this point to even be able to take that long run on.

Big goals don’t happen overnight – it’s all the small goals that may seem insignificant that slowly stack up to get you where you want to go.

Another top life lesson from a marathon is that a support system is key.

You can’t do it alone.

The real MVPs of the New York City marathon are the screaming crowds. Whoever your support system is, keep them close.

After going through the 5 month training cycle for the second time, I’ve come to realize that how I’ve approached training for a marathon is in some ways, very similar to how I act with other aspects of my life.

It’s really about not giving up. (Yes, I’m talking like your mom again).

But seriously, why do you think the underdog always has the biggest character arc? Because they have the most to prove, the most to lose and they’re gonna do whatever they physically can to succeed.

Be good,

JB

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