Marathons & Money: Training Plans Can Help Your Finances

Marathon Bling As I’ve mentioned previously, I will be running the Chicago Marathon in October. This will be my third marathon this year, after running Disney’s Goofy Challenge in January and the Boston Marathon in April. Throughout all of my various training plans for these events and more, I’ve learned a bit about how the mental tenacity needed to adhere to a running training plan is a lot like that which is needed to maintain a budget.

Here are some ways I’ve learned to apply marathon training techniques to money management:

Slow & steady wins the race.

Much like a marathon is not a sprint, saving money takes time. When I first set out to fix my finances, I wanted to see immediate progress-yesterday. I literally spun my wheels trying to figure out the best way to quickly pay down my debt, beef up my savings, and live the financial life I’d always dreamed of. The problem is, all of this takes time.

You can’t simply go off on a 15-mile run during your first week of training, and you certainly can’t save $15K in your first week of saving (unless you’re a millionaire, win the lottery, or receive an inheritance!). So set yourself up for success right out of the gates by setting incremental goals that are realistic for your situation. The sustained progress you’ll maintain definitely trumps any potential burnout you could experience if you’re too zealous in the beginning of your plan.

Pain is temporary.

Yes, there will be times when your muscles are aching so bad you’ll wonder why you ever signed up to run a marathon. And there will be times when your head pounds from staring at numbers too long. Remember that these feelings are fleeting and with the proper mindset, you can overcome any physical or mental roadblock.

Listen to internal and external cues.

When you set out on your morning run, is there a nagging pain shooting up your shin? Do you notice your friends raising an eyebrow when you offer to pick up the tab because they know your current financial situation can’t support such a generous offer? These are examples of internal and external cues telling you to slow down, take a step back, and/or readjust your course.

Training plans and budgets are both fluid entities–not set-it-and-forget-it. You need to pay attention to how you’re feeling, how your situation is changing, and what your stress levels are in order to shake things up when necessary. Giving yourself a bit of freedom to do so while keeping a sense of the cues being sent your way is a great way to keep moving forward towards your goals.

Believe in yourself.

This is the easiest, most effective way to successfully complete your training, your race, and your financial goals: Believe in your ability to do so! Stay positive, keep striving for bigger & better (whatever that means to you), and never stop believing in yourself. My best marathons have been run while I’ve maintained a rock-solid, positive state of mind. Not surprisingly, my best months in terms of debt payoff and savings have also been those where my mental tenacity has remained rock-solid….


How do you connect fitness and finances?



Photo credit: zhurnaly



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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.


Marathons & Money: Training Plans Can Help Your Finances13

  1. The connection for me is that they are both healthy activities that have to be taught. As a fitness enthusiast, it's usually best to get prior training or at least do some research. With money management, you have to be trained as well. It's not as simple as just going out and taking control of you finances. You have to first be trained, or do a great deal of research before you take on such a task.

    • So true–i love it! I think sometimes people get too carried away with their motivation without doing the necessary prep work/research. I've found that when I jump into things blindly, the potential for failure and/or burnout is even higher. Being fully prepared for endeavors whenever possible is the best recipe for success!

  2. How do I connect fitness and finances?

    LOL……………By using my living room floor, the neighborhood tennis courts, and my bike. Plus, a few canned beans every once in a while.

  3. Pingback: Weekly Link Love – June 29, 2012 | Balancing Money and Life

  4. This is such an excellent post and absolutly true. I love my workouts and have related them to my finances a few times–I think I posted about it a while back. I also try to keep in mind that just like a workout, you can suffer a minor setback. The key is to not let it discourage you and to keep on doing your best.

  5. I definitely feel like when I'm taking control of my fitness, or any aspect of my life really, I feel more in control of everything else! If I were the one training for a marathon, I'd feel like super woman!

    Just curious…what's the playlist on your ipod look like? Rocky theme song? Salt N' Pepa 'Push it?' ;) You go, super girl!

    • Hahaha…I don't run with music! I read a random research publication that studied how the tempo of the music you listen to has all kinds of impact on your pace, so I promptly went cold-turkey over 8 years ago. But if I'm stuck inside at the gym, I definitely need some tunes for the elliptical and weight lifting. But my playlist is literally–think Eminem meets Avett Brothers meets Deftones… :D

  6. Excellent post, thank you! I am not all serious about running but I do it every now and then to stay somewhat healthy. I would enter a 10K (once a year) or a half marathon (once every two years) every now and then. Never thought of connecting money and running this way it's so true.

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  8. To be perfectly honest I do not. As you could see the richest people are not exactly fit. Only those who sell their image.

    The work horses are – they need to put more hours in, to win "the rat race". The dirty secret is, that there is no link between financial success and fitness. There is link between hours to be put in / productivity and fitness.
    My recent post April 2013 update ($238,300 +$4,470 or +1.8%)

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