6 Life-Transforming Lessons Running a Marathon Taught Me

They say “Everything you want to know about yourself you can discover in 26 miles.” That was the exact sentence that planted an idea in my mind. The idea to run my first marathon. I mean everything I want to know in just 26 miles, how hard can it be, right?

Well… Hard, buddy! Insanely hard to be honest. But, not only did I learn everything I wanted to know about myself, I have learned everything anyone needs to know about life to become happy, successful and a fulfilled human being.

Running a marathon is more for your spirit than for your body. There are lessons those miles teach you, lessons about life that will transform you. The lessons are different for everyone depending on what they need to learn, and after you finish, you will discover that the teacher was actually you. My first lesson was:

1. Always take one step at a time

I was at the starting line, ready and set for the “battle” when it hit me: “26 MILES! Not 10, not 15, not 20! 26! What the heck was I thinking?!” It was too late for second thoughts. I was training for this and here I was a couple of seconds before the start.

I was scared, counting the seconds down when a comforting voice in my head said:

”Don’t think of it as a whole. Just like this last minute has 4 parts of 20 seconds those 26 miles have 4 parts of 6.5 miles.”

I realized that I can even break it down to 1 mile at a time. 1 mile is a piece of cake isn’t it? I realized that no matter what we face in life, no matter how big of a journey is in front of us, we can always split it in smaller checkpoints and focus on taking one step at a time. This perception shift gave me a comforting feeling and confidence that I can do this thing. I took my first step.

2. Fear is a small, weak guy behind the curtain

While you run you will start hearing a lot more voices, not so comforting. Those are your fears and doubts screaming, begging you to stop. Why? Because they know somewhere in those miles you will see what they really are.

The more you run the louder they’ll get but after you pass a certain point you will realize that they are even more afraid than you are. They have actually no power over you, it is just an illusion. Like the wizard of Oz.

After you realize that they matter as much as you give them meaning, they will slowly fade away into nothingness.

3. The harder it gets the closer you are

Every mile is harder than the one before. There is no shortcut, you just have to go through hell to get to heaven.

At first you feel like crying and giving up, but then you realize that harder miles mean closer to the finish line.

It’s the same in life, succeeding at something is hardest just before we succeed. That’s the filter separating the successful from the unsuccessful.

4. We are stronger than we can imagine

At first you feel like dying, then you feel death, after that you know you are dead, but after that comes something sacred, something only you can feel and understand.

After 20 miles your body doesn’t have stored carbohydrates left, you run on your own will. But you run. You realize that there is power coming from somewhere else.

You feel that you are stronger than you ever thought you are because your real power comes from your heart.

5. It’s not about the scoreboard

It was approximately 4 hours after I started running the marathon when I saw the clock and thought to myself “You are not going to be even close to the first place.”

But then I saw an old man running next to me. I gave him a sip of my water and cheered him up.

It was then when I realized that it’s not about how fast we run, it’s about who we are while we run.

6. There is no finish line

At the end I realized that there is actually no finish line. I was running even before I started and I will continue running long after I’ll finish the marathon.

We are all running. Life is a marathon.

Some of us sprint, some hold a tempo, some take breaks but we all run to discover who we really are. We all run towards a better life.

By Dejan Davchevski,;

Dejan Davchevski is an International Marketing Manager, though his passion is sharing a way of living that he calls ‘The Code Of Life.’ He discovered ‘the code’ while he was in a dark period of his life and it helped him recover. You can contact Dejan on his Facebook page or website.