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The Startup Lessons I Learned From Running a Half Marathon

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PW-7-1.JPGI finished my first half marathon this past weekend! This may not be a big deal for many of you, but you have to understand that I was not at all athletic growing up—my childhood nickname was Bookworm Betty—so this is a big accomplishment for me!

While I was running 13.1 miles around Philly, I had a lot of time to think. And it occurred to me that the day-to-day reality of training for a half marathon is a lot like the day-to-day reality of launching a start-up. Here's why:

1. You need a plan, but you also need to be flexible.

When you train for a half marathon, you'll usually follow a predetermined training schedule. But things happen—you miss a run, you get injured—so you have to adjust the training plan as you go. It's the same with the startup life. Sure, I've got a plan for what I need to do over the next few months, but I also know that things may change, opportunities may come up, setbacks may occur, and I need to adapt accordingly.

2. You have good days and you have bad days.

PW-7-2.jpgSome runs feel amazing like you're high-on-endorphins and everything-is-awesome amazing. And other runs just plain suck and I'm tempted to hail a cab to take me home. But all that matters is to keep at it. That's often how I feel about the startup life: two steps forward, one step back, but always pushing on.

3. Being part of a community rocks.

Connecting with other runners is awesome. They understand what you're going through and they can motivate you to run faster and longer. The same is true about connecting with other entrepreneurs. That's one of the best things about being part of an incubator (more on this in an upcoming post).

PW-7-3.jpg4. You gotta love it.

If you don't (mostly) love to run, then spending months training for a half marathon is probably not a good idea. Similarly, if you don't (mostly) love your startup idea, then spending months (years really) launching and running that said startup is also probably not a good idea. Or at least it won't be a very enjoyable experience.

5. You may not reach your goals on your first try, but that's okay.

I didn't make my time goal on this first half marathon. Similarly, we're not as far along as I would like us to be in our product development. But it is what it is. I'll meet my time goal at my next race in November and we'll get our product out when the time is right.

Thanks for indulging my runner's high and letting me share these musings. Back to regularly scheduled programming next time.

Until next time,




Have questions or feedback? Comment below or let me know on Twitter @professorword!

Photo Credit: Flickr users Military Health, Jonathan Fox

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