A marathon, not a sprint

I’m in training for the London Marathon on 17th April, 2011.

This involves getting up early three mornings a week, running before my kids wake up, and before a long day of work, and then running an ever longer circuit each weekend.

A sixteen week lead-in doesn’t give much time to go from comfortably running 10k’s to completing the world’s most prestigious 40k. (I blame adidas for giving me a free competition place – after I thought I’d failed to make it this year!)

What is critical is ensuring the body and mind are in the best position possible come race day. A former client and marathon runner once told me that completing a marathon is in the mind, not the legs, so hiding behind the excuse of ‘not having the legs to run a marathon’ is a mute point.

That said, I’m taking the time to steadily increase stamina and distance covered so my body is ready for the demands it will be put to, and am also concentrating on the important nutritional aspects to ensure it is given the best chance of success in terms of preparedness and recovery. All with an end goal, and target finish time, in mind.

This got me thinking about business. How many companies actually have long term objectives in place when putting their promotional marketing campaigns together. Sure, campaign objectives will be set, conversion metrics measured, sales and profitability analysed.

But where is your company headed? What does it look like in three years time? What are you selling? Who are your customers? Who is working for you? Do they know where you’re headed and what it looks like? Do you have an exit plan?

If not why not? Business is a marathon not a sprint, and having that clear end goal in mind keeps you focused on doing the things required to move closer and closer to achieving it.

Image: The Telegraph

2 thoughts on “A marathon, not a sprint

  1. You mean running around aimlessly, wearing yourself out and wasting fortunes in time, all for no benefit other than making yourself feel good. Yes, business is like a marathon!

    I used to watch Michael Shumacher when he first came to F1. He realised it was difficult to make up seconds on the track, so he worked on his pit entry etc. to make up seconds on every pitstop. That made the difference between good driver and 7 times world champion. That’s a better analogy for a successful business.

  2. Thanks Peter. Re the running, it really depends on your perspective. I’ve hit the late 30’s and need focus to stay fit, plus I’ll be running for charity. So, for me, not as aimless as you provocatively suggest!

    Regarding Shumacher, interesting analogy but I’m not convinced 4-5 seconds over a couple of pitstops per race made the difference. He was a tiger in the hot seat and had the benefit of the best car and technology at the time.

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