1. Never leave anything for the way back
No matter the distance you plan to run, always go a little further. Plot a route and when you get to the halfway point, go a bit further. Just like in business, under-promise and over-deliver. You’ll be better for it.
2. Stop going in circles
I never, ever run on a track. I plot a distance, run that far away and then come back. In your job, step out of your comfort zone a bit and try something new every so often. You’ll improve.
3. Stop thinking of training as something to suffer through
Running a half marathon requires plenty of preparation. Hating every minute of it would make my life miserable, so my goal is to have FUN when I run, not torture myself so I can run 13.1 miles. In business, hating your every day tasks will seriously hinder you when it’s time to shine. Embrace the mundane and the harder tests will seem easy.
4. Follow the spirit, if not the letter, of the law
Training to run a long way requires running. Sure. Technically. But I can also shadow box, sprint, hop, dance, run backwards and stutter step as long as I keep going in the right direction. At work, try writing memos in an email browser or comment box first. Wear headphones for an hour after lunch. Take your shoes off.
5. Stop worrying about blocking the competition
Only when you race does competition really matter. But when you do, it’s all that matters. If you spend your time looking over your shoulder, moving from side to side to prevent being passed or even dwelling on what your competition is doing, you’re wasting a ton of energy. Let them pass you, see what they’re doing better, learn from it and blow by them. In business, take your competitors to lunch. Talk to them at parties. Learn what they do well and then use it to make what you do better.
6. Not everyone on the same route is your competition
Distance running (anything over a mile, really) isn’t so much of a cutthroat competition against as it is a battle with our own deficiencies. Every time I see another runner, I smile, nod and move on. They are not really my competition. I’m not trying to blow a fastball by or dunk on them. I don’t want them to lose, I just want to win. In business, this applies to. Don’t insulate yourself from others in your industry. Share the common path and just do what you do better.
7. Treat your equipment like it’s actually important
In running, equipment consists of clothes and your body. Stretch. Buy decent shoes. Wear a comfy shirt. Eat healthy food. Sleep more. In business, this is your laptop, your car, your pen and notebook and your body, as well. Keep your electronics and car clean. Stop chewing on your pen. Nourish your body.
8. Dress for action, not reaction
I’m not sure I have anything in my running gear that matches. From Under Armour shorts to Adidas shirts and mismatched headbands to crazy Vibrams, I look hilarious when I’m running, but it all serves its purpose. In business, you don’t need an expensive suit or sweet watch. You don’t need $400, wing-tip shoes. Wear what makes you good at your job.
9. Do a little something different