What Running 100 Miles Can Teach You About Being a Communications Professional

What Running 100 Miles Can Teach You About Being a Communications Professional

By Lewis Taylor

Have you ever found yourself applying lessons from a hobby or pastime to your job? For me, ultrarunning – running distances beyond 26.2-miles – is an activity that has taught me a lot about myself and made me a better professional.

For one, I’m tougher and more willing to take the long-term perspective than I used to be. If a project I’m working on is especially challenging, the ultrarunner in me knows to remain calm and stick it out – it will get better … eventually – but only if I keep pushing forward and see the project through to completion.

Conversely, if a project I’m working on is easy, I know not to get too complacent. Confidence is good, but overconfidence can lead to errors, and, once mistakes start happening, I find they have a way of multiplying. Whether running for hours on end or designing a brochure for a client who happens to be a perfectionist, focusing on the task at hand and keeping a level head are key to achieving success.

Here are some other lessons I’ve learned from running:

1. Don’t quit – This kind of goes without saying. Although you can drop out of a race, in most cases you’ll lose your job if you don’t do something you’ve been assigned to do. But even if “quitting” means cutting a corner or phoning in a half-finished job, don’t do it. It’s not worth it. No matter how hard the task, the sense of completion when it’s done is the payoff. So finish it!

2. No whining – The only thing worse than doing something hard is dwelling on how hard it is. I’ve found that if I start complaining during a difficult running event or training run, it always makes it worse. Not just that, but all the time and energy I’ve spent filling my head with negative thoughts could have been put to better use completing the task.

3. Respect your limits – Running long distances has shown me that I can go a lot farther, literally and figuratively, than I ever imagined, but it’s also revealed to me that I have my limits. There are times when it’s better to slow down and pace yourself rather than to blast forward and risk exhaustion. Sometimes being smarter is better than being faster.

4. Solve problems along the way – When running long distances – or working with multiple clients with all types of varying needs – problems are bound to arise. Rather than ignoring them and hoping they’ll go away, I prefer to deal with small issues before they become big ones.

During my last ultramarathon, I faced some challenges – my stomach was upset, I was just about caught by the runner behind me and I spent a week feeling like I had mononucleosis afterward – but in the end I finished and, looking back, it’s all those challenges that made the experience so rewarding.

Have you gained some insight from a hobby or pastime in your life? If so, we’d love to hear about it.

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