What Running 26.2 Miles Can Teach You About Personal Finance

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!

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Freelancer; reformed spendaholic; risk taker; adventure seeker; world traveler; rose smeller; debt destroyer. My mission is to inspire others to live a healthy, balanced life one cent at a time.


What Running 26.2 Miles Can Teach You About Personal Finance82 Commentshttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.thehappyhomeowner.net%2F2012%2F04%2Fwhat-running-262-miles-can-teach-you.htmlWhat+Running+26.2+Miles+Can+Teach+You+About+Personal+Finance2012-04-17+18%3A05%3A00Jenhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.thehappyhomeowner.net%2F2012%2F04%2F17%2Fwhat-running-26-2-miles-can-teach-you-about-personal-finance.html

  1. Congratulations on completing your 26.2 mile-run. Needless to say, this is a heck of an accomplishment, and one that not all of us want to do. In any case, it's interesting how you've made the correlation between finishing a long run and money management. It's a very powerful connection.

  2. Congrats on your marathon! That's a goal of mine and I fully agree with you on how it relates to finance. I love your "suck it up princess" remark. Hope your knee gets better very soon.

  3. I always compare working out to personal finance. The determination needed and the vision of reaching your goals are very, very similar. I think that's why so many PF bloggers are healthy people and love to work out. It's a great thing! Congrats on finishing your marathon :)

  4. You are such a fighter! Sorry to hear about you knee but sounds like you persevered. Ive just begun my debt marathon, hence my blog name. I would love to actually do running marathons too but not yet. Props to you!

  5. Oh my, those temps are scary! I've heard of people getting very sick while running in those conditions, but I know that you are a smart, seasoned runner who isn't going to do anything dumb. Congratulations on finishing. My heart truly breaks for those that couldn't (the vomiters and hospital-goers) because I know how excruciating they must have worked to get there…and then their dreams were shattered due to record highs. Guess that's another lesson in finances, though! You never know what the conditions are going to be, so prepare for every emergency! ;)

  6. Interesting enough, my love of pirates just overlapped with some financial wisdom. Actually created a post and a half when it hit me as I was writing.I can't believe you ran 26.2 miles. That's unbelievable and awesome. I also can't believe you busted your knee doing so. Can't say I'm to happy about you willingly injuring yourself but knowing your attitude and determination. You had to finish.Inspiring as always, this turned into a beautiful post. Congratulations on finishing, now make sure you rest up and fully heal that knee before going on any more escapades.

  7. That's an amazing accomplishment! I run too and am always finding correlations between the discipline of long distance running and personal finance. It's my dream to run a marathon in the next few years, you're an inspiration.

  8. It was crazy! And I felt the same way for those who were taken out early–it's so sad to see a fellow runner who is struggling. Last night on the news they said there were still NINE people in the hospital in critical condition. Fortunately, all are expected to make a full recovery.

  9. Hahaha…I LOVE it! I just found out about a race weekend in Tampa in February–all pirate themed! Want to run another 5K?? ;) No worries about the injury–the doctor assured me there won't be any permanent damage as long as I take it easy for a while. Unfortunately, this means spending more $$ on gas since I can't bike right now. I'm going to cry when I lose all those pretty little stars on my spending reports!!

  10. Saw your comment and came over right away. A 5K in Florida, I want to come there but I don't think I want to run a 5k. It would be fun though when I think about it. Not sure how I will fit it in to next years plans as I only get three weeks vacation. If I do come to the US next year I definitely want it to be for FinCon.

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