Why is marketing like running a half marathon?


On 1 May 2011 I ran a half marathon. I’d never run seriously before I started training last September, yet I finished the run without walking a single step and without having to stop once. And it took me six minutes less than I expected!

So how did I manage it, without injuring myself or running out of steam? And what’s running got to do with marketing anyway?

The common denominator is planning. Back in September I found an online training programme for complete beginners. The first day said to run for one minute, then walk for a minute, then run, then walk and so on, ten times. I puffed my way round and did what the programme said every day for the next three weeks. By the end I could run for a whole five minutes at a time, so I moved onto the next programme of 8 weeks to run 5km. I managed that by Christmas; that’s 30 minutes of running – not bad for a beginner. At this point, people started asking me if I was planning to run a marathon. I decided that might be a bit adventurous, so I declared that I would run a half marathon and I found one to enter on 1 May. I had my goal – an event and a date. I knew I had to do more serious training if I was going to achieve my goal. I found the next training programme to follow – 12 weeks to a half marathon – and I followed it to the day, without missing a step. I arranged my diary around the running, to make sure I could fit in the time I needed to cover the miles.

The big day came and I was ready. I knew I could cover the distance; I knew what to eat and drink and when; I knew what to wear and what I’d need to do and eat at the end of the event (thanks Mum for a great picnic!) And I did it and really enjoyed every step of it.

From barely being able to run up the stairs, to running 13 miles without falling over is a major achievement and yet I managed it. How? Because I had a really clear goal to aim for and then I followed a plan to get me there. The same applies to your marketing. Decide on your goal, develop a plan to get you there and then follow that plan without wavering. Get a coach if you like, to help you stick to your plan (my training coach is my Border Collie!) and reward yourself for reaching your milestones. Treat your marketing like training for a half marathon and you’ll find it much easier – and less painful – to reach your goals and achieve the success you want.

(By the way, I had an extra goal of running the half marathon to raise money for a charity called The Brooke Hospital for Animals, which helps people in the third world. You can still make a donation at www.JustGiving.com/RunningForTheBrooke).


One Response

  1. Autumn is a popular time to run a marathon but its offspring – the half-marathon – is also a fairly common event at this time of year. The shorter race is sometimes looked down on by incorrigible marathoners but such aspersions ignore some basic facts. First of all half-marathon training can lead to much-improved marathon and 10-K performances.

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