If you’ve ever done any endurance sport, whether it is running, cycling or swimming, one thing is certain- that the results for your training do not come overnight.
The Nature of Endurance Sports
I took up running about 4 years ago in 2017, and until then most of my training was around CrossFit and weightlifting, where the results were more short-term: the training sessions were shorter and you could see instant results over a short span of 3 to 4 weeks. Whereas with running, I’m only now seeing real gains in terms of where I’d like to have been in 2017.
To put it into perspective, the first time I ever ran a marathon it took me about 4 hours and 47 minutes with a combination of running and walking to finish it. The second time I did it was a year later with a fair bit of training in the middle towards the marathons and it then took me about 4 hours 31 minutes. The third time around it was 4 hours and 12 minutes, again with a lot of training going into it for the whole year. It was only on the fourth attempt was when I managed to go under 4 hours (3 hours and 57 minutes to be precise), which was my original goal. It took me 4 years to get there. There’s no amount of training that I could have done in one year that could have gotten me from zero to sub-4-hour marathon unless I focused entirely and only on that goal. This includes the other functions required to actualize that goal, like managing my nutrition, sleep, training and constantly monitoring my body’s vitals.
It’s been the same with swimming. My two-year journey started with my first swim of over 750 meters completed in about 35 minutes. The second swim took me about 18 minutes after a year of training. It’s constant effort into doing repeated actions every day and being consistent in my training that’s gotten me better at my swim. At the moment, I’m still chasing a better bike time (and a swim to be honest) and the results are noticeable- the fact that I’m not doing so well on the bike is because I haven’t spent much time on it.
How Endurance Sports Relates to Life
Now let’s talk about life. People sometimes expect that the moment they do something the result must be instantaneous. Whether it’s in business, in sales, your activities as a parent, or your role as a spouse. The instant gratification may not be there with every single action you do.
So, if you think about the life insurance business, a lot of the advisors look at what I’m doing and say, “You can do it because you’ve got that kind of clientele”. But the reality is, to develop that kind of clientele it’s taken me my entire career- 21 years in the life insurance business to actively seek out and eventually develop that type of clientele. It began with me setting out the intention that I want to work with entrepreneurs (or high-income executives in the yesteryears). Then it was a series of systematic actions every single day, reaching out to people I thought made the fit, reaching out to introducers who could put me in touch with those types of clients, and slowly even building my life around those clients. Getting to know every single element of their life and every single action that they do has eventually made me able to speak to them confidently after having known their situation and problems. It is not something that happened overnight, but you’ve got to start at someplace in life.
Endurance in Parenting
And the same holds true for my role as a parent. Today, I can’t expect that if I did something with Leiah and Luca, my children, instantly they switch over and become fonder of me as their father or are willing to share and talk to me. It is a matter of building trust with them over time. If I have been a parent for them who’s always been busy, constantly on my phone, without any time for them and even if in my physical presence I’m mentally disconnected, I cannot expect them to connect with me.
And I see this play out in reality. Luca, my son, has a way of talking non-stop, he describes every single element of every detail in the description. And after a point that detail gets to me, I stop listening and ask him to tone down his description. But my father-in-law, who was in town recently, would sit and listen to him continuously. Over the course of two months, Luca got very attached to his grandfather, because his grandfather would listen to every single thing he said, regardless of how long it took for him to say it. He gave him 100% attention. And I see the difference because he is really fond of his grandfather. Today if I go back to him and say, ‘Hey Luca, I’m going to listen to everything you say’, and actually listen to him, I know overnight he’s not going to say, ‘Dad’s, always going to be there.’ He’s going to remember me as the person who’s always asked him to keep quiet. For me to acquire and retain his attention, it has to be a series of actions over the course of the next months or even years.
Endurance is Synonymous to Consistency
Even if you consider it from a work perspective, consistency is very important. Don’t get me wrong, doing the right thing once may get the attention of your boss, or your clients. But if it’s not consistent, then you will as quickly lose their attention as well.
To drive my point on consistency, and something that’s probably very relatable for all of us: you might be able to do a good block of training for a week or few, you’ll see some gains, and then if you decide to slack and take it easy, you’ll see the loss in those gains as well. It’s the systematic actions that you do on a regular basis, that can actually make a difference to your end result as a person.
What parts of your life do you consider a marathon and what parts do you consider a sprint? I’m curious to know.