I ran my 1st marathon and this is what I learned

Omar Lovert
30 October 2017

Recently I’ve ran my first marathon and boy what an amazing experience and journey has it been. Building up to the big day I was very excited but also had some serious doubts whether I would be able to pull it off, running 42,2 km’s with only a maximum of 14 km runs during training. Before I go in detail I need to say I’m amazed at what we as humans can do and achieve! We can actually do things we never thought possible. I recently wrote an article about this here.  

So what have I learned?

First of all, set goals and go for it. I have postponed running a marathon for at least 3 years. It looked like an impossible task. After deciding to go for and after doing so I realized an important thing. You have to challenge yourself! This is the only way to grow. Leaving your comfort zone feels well uncomfortable sometimes. But the results are most of the time very rewarding. So, since running this marathon I’m now challenging myself more often! This article is actually part of that challenge ;)

80/20 principle

With 100 days to prepare and also being an active dad, husband and business owner I knew time was not going to be the most available resource so I had to improvise. A friend introduced me to a 100 days training schedule with a maximum of 14km’s runs instead of the traditional schedules which go up to 32km. As you’ve might have guessed I’m not Eliud Kipchoge who recently ran a marathon in 2:00:25 (avg. 21km/h) in an attempt to break the 2 hour barrier. (check the documentary). These pro runners can do a 32km run and be back in 1 ½ hours, that would take me at least 3 hours and even more recovery time. So, I choose the alternative schedule for this but…. Would it be enough? I had my doubts as you can imagine. The max 14k is not an exact 80/20, more like one third, but it’s geared towards getting the most return on investment made. Something I use regularly in business as well. Trying to get maximum benefit from investments, be it time or money made.

Social proof works

Most of the doubts I had were put to rest after reading the stories of all the people who got results with this schedule and hearing Dr. Jack Daniels (No, not the whiskey :)) talk about this made me realize two things: 1. If others can do it, so can I 2. Social Proof (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_proof) works Knowing that it worked for others helped me to be confident enough to follow this schedule.

Health – Low Carbs

If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing good. Besides the training schedule I wanted to know what other things I could do to make the most out of this challenge. I looked at running economics and also food and health and after doing a lot of research I found that I was not eating healthy enough. Changing a high carb diet to a low carbs one, increasing the amount of veggies and decreasing the sugar intake had a good impact on me. First, my body started to get used to burning fat instead of sugars. Did you know you only have 1500 – 2000 calories of carbohydrates and about 50.000 calories of fat? Well that was the main reason to change diets, getting my body to learn to burn fat instead of carbs so I could run longer! As an added benefit I also lost 3kg and my food now looks and tastes so much better and my six pack is starting to show again :) One tip: If you are going to switch diets make sure you have some recipes and enough ingredients at home to start with.


This was an important one. How do you stay motivated doing something over and over again? There were times I did not feel like going out on a midnight run, alone, again. I have yet to crack the mystery why I did go running every time. I only skipped 2 trainings during the 100 days of practice. But I found that it indeed helps to start by just putting on your running clothes or shoes. Motivation and procrastination go hand in hand and I found it helped to just tell myself: At xyz time you’re starting your run. I knew I was also training my mental elasticity.

It’s not always about being the fastest

During my 100 days training I participated in a half marathon and ran slower than I had done in the last couple of years, but I maintained my marathon pace. I noticed that when you are always focused on being first, the fastest or setting records you sometimes miss out on the fun. You miss out on the things happening around you. Running both the half and full marathon was a great, wonderful experience. I ran smiling from beginning till the end. The same can also be applied to business.. You don’t always need to be running a max capacity, it’s good to take time to look around, have some fun and enjoy the journey!  

Closing thoughts

Running this marathon made a big difference to me. It taught me various things which I can directly translate to my own life and business.
In short:
  • Be healthy,
  • Focus on the 20 that will give you the 80,
  • Motivation is important,
  • Procrastination is always lurking

And most importantly:
  • Always challenge yourself!

What is your next challenge going to be?

Omar Lovert
Omar is a Conversion Specialist at NightMonkey and helps companies grow their online business. With a focus on Growth, his expertise expanded to also include E-commerce growth optimization, Online Persuasion & various forms of Customer Behaviour Analytics.

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