Life is a Marathon, Life is a Sprint

I have heard so many writers and speakers use the analogy of running in their work, many of whom aren't avid runners (which I find ironic)! Saying that life is a marathon OR life is a sprint for the sake of metaphor seems to miss some of the nuances of each and running in general. There is such a different psychology in distance running and sprinting, as well as a different kind of toughness, but I find the two actually work quite well together. When training for a marathon (or any distance race), intervals and other forms of speed training are hugely beneficial! The increasing of your physical and mental capacity does not come merely from doing longer distances but working on pacing and doing smaller chunks at the highest speed possible! I find our lives are like this, too, where we need to show up and play at peak intensity, stretching beyond our comfort zone, but not to the breaking point. 

For both sprinters and distance runners, efficiency is key, but for different reasons. Wasted movement will lead to burn out and injury in the marathon and will add to your time in sprinting. Both sprinters and distance runners can benefit from strength training, though sprinters, in particular, are working to optimize every aspect of agility, shaving seconds off each element to get their next personal record (PR). Staying nimble helps us be adaptable, and cultivating endurance also means knowing how to let go. In running, it may be bad form or wasted movement, but in life it can be so many things. Possessions, old ways of being and behaving, the stories attached to past events. If we are going to be fast and efficient, we've got to stop carrying so much in our (metaphorical) packs and practice healthy (mental and physical) movement.

When I'm sprinting, I don't stop to eat until the race is over. When running distance, nourishment and hydration become key components during an event. Most sprints (in my experience) take place on the track, but the distance running I've most enjoyed is on the trail. Taking in the view of the trail and enjoying the scenery of your life is as important as knowing when to play hard. More could be said, but you get the idea. Staying nourished to just keep going on your journey as well as times where you play full-out because you know the end is in sight... It all counts.

Taking some of these reflections back into the realm of metaphor, I can safely say that life IS both marathon and sprint, the training days and race days just may not be as clear.


Life is a marathon, life is a sprint

when at the Parthenon, please take a hint

Run fast, train hard, 

Don't forget to enjoy

Nourish both skillsets

Begin to employ

A body and mind that can give it all

To have a blast in the heats or the long haul

To cultivate toughness, cultivate grit

Be a minimalist, let go of old shit

Enacting your knowledge, move past old verbiage,

Run through your life with both wisdom and courage.

However you run, always do your best

Run well, my friends, then take care and good rest!


For your running and your living today, take heart and take courage, dear friend! 

-Ben