What Running 26.2 Miles Can Teach You About Personal Finance

2012 Boston Marathon

Yesterday, I somehow managed to complete the most excruciating marathon in my 19 years of running. With temperatures of 89+ degrees on the course and a record-breaking 92 degrees in the city upon finishing, it’s still all a bit surreal to me. Unfortunately, I further injured my knee so I’m looking at a few weeks of physical therapy, but I’m so happy and honored to have finished the race.

As I was thinking about the day I’d just endured this morning while checking email, I began to find direct correlations between running 26.2 miles and personal finance. Here are some of the more poignant examples of how marathoning overlaps with the principles of sound financial management:

It’s an individual accomplishment.

Even if you’re running the marathon in honor of someone or running with a friend, you’re running by yourself; it’s a personal accomplishment to finish a marathon just as much as finance is a personal endeavor. It’s only you that can make your body continue to move forward towards the finish line, much like it’s only you that can choose to take control of your finances in a positive manner.

You can always dig deeper.

Just when I thought my knee was going to give out on me permanently yesterday, I stumbled across a medical tent at mile 11. Once I had my knee wrapped, I continued on in pursuit of the finish line despite some pretty agonizing pain. This type of fortitude can be found when it comes to reaching your financial goals–you can always cut back or earn more; you can always spend less. What it comes down to is successfully managing the perceived pain of doing so.

Expect the unexpected.

I didn’t expect my knee to give out on me much like some other runners didn’t expect to be taken to the hospital mid-run. When you set out on a 26.2 mile jaunt, you really have no idea what can happen. The same stands true in the world of personal finance, which is why so many of us advocate heavily for having an emergency fund. Even if you have a stable job today, realistically, we’re all one major illness or accident away from potential financial ruin tomorrow. This is why I’m careful to balance my spending and saving, I make sure to have adequate insurance, and I maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Give up your pride.

It was ugly out there yesterday and I’m not just talking about the heat. Vomiting, dry heaving, blood, sweat, and tears–I saw it all. Marathon day is not about maintaining your pride as much as it’s about reaching your goal. With your finances, you may have to give up at least a bit of your pride in order to not keep up with the Jones’. While living a lifestyle you can actually afford may not be the most glamorous choice, giving up the vain pride of materialism can do wonders for your bottom line.

Suck it up, Princess.

Three words here: Just. Do. It.

It’s about the journey, not just the destination.

In running and financial management, there are going to be peaks and valleys; setbacks and triumphs. What’s important is taking the time to let it all soak in so you can learn from each experience whether it be positive or negative. If I had given up a mere 8 years ago today and resigned myself to a life of debt, poverty, and financial illiteracy, I may have never known what it’s like to be a financially independent woman.


What are some of your hobbies/interests/passions that overlap with financial wisdom? Please share!

The Happy Homeowner

The Happy Homeowner

We're a team of freelancers who are on a mission to inspire others to live a healthy, balanced life one cent at a time. Work from The Happy Homeowner has been featured on CNN Money, Yahoo! Finance, Wisebread, Lifehacker, The Dr. Oz Show, Good Housekeeping Magazine and many other outlets.
The Happy Homeowner

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