As I was training for my first marathon last year in the middle of a really busy time at work, I would often think about how running is a lot like working in public relations. And in many ways, life.
#1 The Big Event requires a lot of planning. You can’t execute a successful client campaign or give a winning new business presentation without carefully planning well in advance for the big day. And if you try it, it will likely hurt. From planning what to wear, how much water to take and what to eat in advance of each and every training run, to doing the training just as the program described, the prep was essential. When you’re prepared, your work feels easy breezy.
#2 There’s going to be some goose poop along the way. Look, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Maybe you’re running along having a great day when you realize the sidewalk ahead is covered in goose poop. You think how dare those geese! That’s MY sidewalk. They have all the grass around the lake! They’ve invaded my territory! The point is: get over it and stay focused!The day of my marathon, I woke up with a sore throat on the coldest day of the year. I had trained in hot weather. Oh and the rain. Did I mention the rain? It was with me the ENTIRE time. I used the weather to help create a mental barrier to block anything and everything that could have possibly distracted me from finishing. As the rain absolutely pelted me at one point, I used a mental technique I learned from The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer and said, “Hello rain! Come run with me!”
#3 Running IS a team sport. Yes, I ran all but one of my training runs alone. So how is that a team sport? I had a virtual running team that consisted of friends who are runners and had been through the process before, and friends and family who aren’t runners but who love me enough to believe that I could do it, even when I didn’t think I could. Many folks from PRSA’s Counselors Academy fell into one of those groups. When I needed help, I’d ask for it in a shout out on Facebook or Twitter. Without fail, I got responses and with them all the love, support and encouragement I needed. During the marathon, I made a new friend, Barb Wittig, who (along with her amazing group of friends) helped me through the rough spots.
#4 Have some faith. Sometimes, you just have to believe it’s possible. I’m not the kind of person you look at and automatically think is a runner. When I struggled with the 16- and 18-mile runs, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to finish the marathon. I had to push away all the thoughts about what I previously believed I could or couldn’t do and just have faith that it would happen. I think it’s easy to feel like this in the midst of a big project or when it’s one of those magical times when several big projects are whirling about. As I described in my last post, I move ahead by holding my own hand. That’s what I call the process of taking some time to think, taking a deep breathe, having a little faith and reminding myself of what I’ve already accomplished and that I’ll get through the task at-hand, too.
#5 Okay, originally there was no #5 here. I’m adding it at the last minute and it pertains mostly to where I am in my PR career at this very moment — starting a new PR firm. It’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon.