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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