Running the Marathon Rather Than the Sprint

Running the Marathon Rather Than the Sprint

By Don Hall

Himmel is training for a marathon run. It’s a ton of hard work with daily runs, dietary restrictions, lots of stretching. All in preparation for a one-time endurance test to raise money and gain a certain kind of bragging rights. In a time when so many of us are fatass out-of-shape babies in floating chaise lounges and VR glasses, it’s an anomaly in the mix.

Most of us sprint.

The short term goal of busting our ass to get from the beginning of one work day to the next, from one paycheck to the next, constantly sprinting to keep ahead of the debt collectors and the cloudy despair that engulfs us in our social media-obsessed days.

The problem with being a sprinter is the misconception that a marathon is just a series of sprints making up twenty-six-point-two miles. It doesn’t work that way. Sprinting uses up all the energy for short term gains and is unsustainable for twenty-six miles in any genuine fashion. A marathon requires planning, patience, and a sense of perseverance that eludes the sprinter.

Our lives are a marathon. The long game. Bursts of speed followed by the stretched out conservation of energy, the incredible pain that the muscles feel at some point, the almost hallucinatory haze of pushing forward no matter the agony. Our marathon run typically spans eighty years.

If you base your failure or success on your one year-, three year-, or five year-plan or on the financial success of the current moment, you’re sprinting. You may be great at sprinting but you are already running a marathon, whether you like it or not.

Plan for the run, have patience, keep moving forward no matter how much it hurts. 

The triumph of the marathon runner is far less than who finishes first but who finishes at all.

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