What Running a Half Marathon Can Teach Us About Saving Money

Last year I discussed running my first half-marathon.  Well, I guess one was not enough for me and, last March, my wife and I decided to do it again on the first Saturday this month.

Last year my goal was just to make it through the 13.1 miles and get my medal.  I had no time expectations and tried to enjoy the run as much as possible (as crazy as that sounds :)).  Since I accomplished that goal and knew I could run the entire race, I decided that I needed to up my expectations this year and set a goal to run it this time in under two hours.  When I began training for this race in July, I somewhat doubted whether this would happen or not but kept giving it my all to see what would happen.  I feel that failing to meet a goal is better than not having one to begin with.

MarathonWhile training, I saw first-hand why it is important for us to set the bar high.  Many of us can accomplish so much more than we think we are capable of.  In addition, a lot of people do not even set goals for themselves because of the fear of failure.  The thing is, it is hard to accomplish something if we do not have a destination in mind.  The sure fire way to never reach a goal is pretty basic – don’t set one.  This may seem like the safe way to go but, in the long-term, it is a route to dissatisfaction.

As the weeks went by and my race came closer, I began to get pretty nervous.  I stated my goal to many and was holding myself accountable.  If I did not accomplish my goal I would only have myself to blame.  This can be a tough pill to swallow but also helps us grow in so many ways.   On the morning of the race I did feel a sense of calm.  I had put in all the work I could and knew that I was prepared as I could be.  I am proud to report that I did accomplish my goal – my final time for The Rock-N-Roll Savannah Half-Marathon was 1 hour, 59 minutes and 14 seconds!  I did have confidence that I could do it under 2 hours but knew it would never have happened if I had not set a goal for myself.

I had a lot of time to think during my training runs and thought how this can relate to saving money in an emergency fund and/or retirement account.  Many of us come up with great reasons why we cannot save money – the rising costs of groceries, the amount it costs to raise kids, the increase in health insurance for a lot of us and the list can go on and on.  Those of us that do save often set aside the bare minimum.  While I think it is wonderful that many are saving I feel we sell ourselves short because we do not set high expectations for how much we can set aside.

The same things hold true for many things in our lives – we can accomplish a lot more than we think but we first must put it out there.  Like the saying goes, “If you aim for the stars but fall short you will still land on the moon.”

What are some experiences in your life that have taught you about setting financial goals or saving money?

About Danny Kofke

Danny Kofke is currently a special education teacher and author of “How To Survive (and perhaps thrive) On A Teacher’s Salary.” His frugality has enabled him to pursue a job he is passionate about and, at the same time, support a family of four on his salary alone.

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  • http://moneyeducate.com/ Kent Irwin

    This is a good analogy for me too. When I start running I tell my body and brain, to run one mile, then when I get to the next ones, I do the same. Breaking it down in increments helps me to not be overcome by the huge financial tasks that are ahead of me

  • http://moneyeducate.com/ Kent Irwin

    This is a good analogy for me. When I run, I tell myself- body and brain that ‘you can make it to the next block” then when I get there I set a new goal. My overall goal is farther, but breaking it down into chunks I can attain helps me to not be overwhelmed by the long-term financial goal I am going after