Marathon training is like Marching Toward Debt Freedom.
When I first began training for this marathon, the training plan called for short three mile and four mile runs. It was easy. Piece of cake. No problems.
Fast forward to two months later. The training plan now says that I have to run 17 miles on Friday. Not easy. Horrible. Why did I ever commit to do this?
That is how a lot of Debt Freedom Marches go. In the beginning, we are all pumped up and ready to attack our debt. The debt is going down! We are going to body-slam the debt to the ground and call Capital One and tell them that they OWE YOU $0.26 and you are going to charge them a $35 late fee! It is easy. Piece of cake. No problems.
Fast forward twelve months. The debt is going down, but slower than we wanted it to. An illness and some medical bills have severely slowed the Debt Freedom March. The car has broken down not once, but twice! A new car drives by. It could be yours with just a few strokes of a pen and a big pile of new debt. Not easy. Horrible. Not fun.
But then the day of the marathon shows up. You have trained. You have persevered. You are in the best physical condition of your life. The race goes beautifully, and you FINISH! The feeling is INCREDIBLE!
That is EXACTLY how it feels when you emerge from your Debt Freedom March with ZERO DEBT. It is awesome! You have finished what you started out to do! You have freed up a huge portion of your income that you can now give, save, spend, and invest like never before. The feeling is INCREDIBLE!
Are you Marching Toward Debt Freedom? Use the tools below to get started.
NOTE: If you are a runner or athlete of any type, you will know exactly what I mean by this post.
Ever had days where you feel invincible? I had one of those days on Monday. I went to the gym for my planned lunch hour run, and I felt incredible. I cranked up the treadmill to a fast pace (for me), and I ran for five miles. I felt GREAT! I ran five miles at a pace of 7:54/mile. No stress. No problems. Cake.
Have you ever had a day where you feel like you were up to your neck in concrete? On Tuesday, I went to the gym for my planned lunch hour run, and I felt awful. AWFUL. I cranked up the treadmill to a speed slightly faster than a turtle could craw, and it hurt so bad. It was dreadful. It was so bad that I wanted to stop after running one mile. ONE mile. I was thinking, "If it is hurting this bad to run one mile, why on earth have I signed up to run 26.2 miles again!!?!" I stuck it out and ended up running three miles before quitting. It felt horrible. Even after I had stopped, I still felt horrible.
That is exactly what it feels like when I am investing. My money is there for the long haul, and I continue to invest because it makes a lot of sense to do so. There are times that I want to check the investment account every day because it is going up up up up up … There are other times that I can not even bear to look at the account. It takes everything in me to check on it because it is going down down down down …
See marathon training is like investing! There is a long-term pay-off even with all of the ups and downs. At the end of all this training, I will be able to run 26.2 miles and celebrate with an awesome dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. At the end of all of this investing, I will be able to leave a legacy for my family. There will ups. There will be downs. The joy of the journey and the pay-off is worth every up and down.
As I train to run my second marathon, I get to think a lot. Not surprisingly, I think a lot about this crusade to help others with their personal finances. There is something about running for hours at a time to help narrow in one's thoughts on a particular subject.
With that, I am starting a series called "Marathon Training Is Like …"
This should be fun.
Marathon Training Is Like … BUDGETING
I follow a marathon training plan from HalHigdon.com. I used a plan from Hal's web site back in 2006 when training for my first marathon, and it worked very well. (By the way – Hal has training plans for all lengths of races and all levels of runners.)
This plan that I am following has several "short" runs during the week and a long run on the weekend.
Today was the day for my weekly long run, but I am in Illinois staying at a hotel. It was a beautiful day, so I went out and started running. I ended up finding a good loop that took me about six minutes to run.
I needed to run six miles today, so I decided to run ten of the six minute laps.
Here is how marathon training is like BUDGETING – I wanted to quit three laps in to it, and it was so EASY to quit. I mean, each lap brought me right back past the entrance to the hotel I am staying at! I just wanted to STOP. I had lots of excuses …
- I could run more next week (I could put off budgeting until next month)
- It was too hard (Budgeting is too hard)
- I don't have to run the marathon (I'm OK with my dreams being delayed or canceled)
- I'm thirsty and I want water (I want to go out to eat – who cares if there is no money)
- No one else is running (I don't know anyone else who is budgeting their money)
In the end, I made the CHOICE to keep running. I finished in an excellent time and now I get to enjoy the personal accomplishment, the health benefits, and I am another step closer to smashing my two brothers in the January 2009 Chevron Houston Marathon.
Because Jenn and I make the CHOICE every month to plan our spending with a monthly budget AND we CHOOSE to follow that plan, we are able to accomplish our plans, hopes, and dreams!
So can you!