Business Lessons from Running a Marathon

I just completed my first ever marathon! As I went through my training, I was struck by the thought that there are so many lessons for business from preparing for, and running the 42,195m race.RT0828_29897

It’s not so much physical as a mental challenge.

Yes, it was hard on my legs and there really was a physical pain barrier to go through. However, most of the barriers were in my head. Just like the demons that make me afraid of rejection.

Planning is Key

You can’t just turn up and run a marathon. You have to plan the training schedule and fit it into and around the rest of life. In business, we plan our activities, sales and finances. My training plan involved three runs per week for a period of 14 weeks to build up to the race day. I had to schedule workouts around business trips – making sure that I stayed in hotels where I could access a gym or had somewhere good to run outside (the Quayside in Newcastle-upon-Tyne was one of the best places I found).

My plan was three runs per week: a long run (usually 20 – 32km on Saturday); a set of 800m (Yasso) intervals and a tempo run (fast 8 – 16km) during the week.


In business, we have to be disciplined to do the important things – prospecting, following up, sending quotes, etc. The marathon runner has to be disciplined to go out for a run when it is scheduled, regardless of the weather. I had to discipline myself to eat the right food, to hydrate properly and to get enough sleep.

During the race, I had to have the discipline to stick to my race pace (5’40″/km for a 4 hour run) and not start too fast and risk burning out.


Ideation without execution is delusion (Robin Sharma). In business, we have to ship our art (our work). The marathon runner has to complete the 30km runs as well as the shorter runs to build up stamina and condition the body and the mind to be exercising for more than 3 hours.

The Result

I completed my run in 4:08:29. The first 25 – 30km were on my race plan, then I found it incredibly tough and slowed somewhat. My stretch goal was to beat 4 hours. I was determined to be faster than 4:15.

Most importantly, I raised more than £700 for Parkinson’s UK.



About Andrew Stewart

Andrew Stewart exists to serve by igniting potential. Husband. Dad. Leader. Cyclist. Friend.
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One Response to Business Lessons from Running a Marathon

  1. Congrats! Any tips for someone running their first in November?

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