Business parallels with running a 10K

I ran my first 10K race on Sunday (30 Aug 2009) in the Battle of Sedgemoor in Somerset.

I ran my first 10K race on Sunday (30 Aug 2009) in the Battle of Sedgemoor in Somerset.

I was determined to run it in under an hour. I’d done it many times before but often by the skin of my teeth on the treadmill and who’s to say what’s 10K when you’re running the open road. That’s my main modus operandi and without the aid of fancy GPS kit (it’s on the Christmas list!), I rely on a piece of string and an OS map of rural Worcestershire!

Any road up, you have plenty of time for pondering while pounding.

I started to think of the parallels between running a race and my work – I sort out how organisations best communicate.

First, you need a vision – what you’re in business to do. Mine was running 10K in under an hour.
Second, your mission – how you’re going to achieve your vision. Mine was ‘by running my own race’.

Lastly, the values I was going to live by to ensure I embodied the vision and mission were: preparation, self-discipline, rhythm and fun.

Preparation – I’ve run for an hour every week since January and done a couple of other 40-minute runs in between. I had an early night although it was tempting to stay up for the witty repartee! Lemon and hot water woke up my liver in the morning! Followed by a bowl of porridge, a banana and a little caffeine kick.

The self –discipline came in many forms – keeping my weight down, going for a run when I felt like sitting in front of the telly after a hard day/arriving at home at 8pm. I didn’t imbibe (except for a couple of glasses of fizz) the night before!

Rhythm was all about sticking to my pace – it takes me a few minutes to warm to the theme! Have a few tricks to get me up the hills – counting, visualisations etc. But then also knowing when to overtake rather than take it easy tucked in behind someone slower.

The fun part was easy – having a laugh with fellow runners and all the marshalls cheering you on.
So what’s the equivalent business metaphor?

Be clear on what you want to achieve – your business objectives should be well-defined (you should see my calves!).

Know how you’re going to do it – what you’re offering, to which audiences and why they want it. That includes EVERY audience – team, stakeholders, suppliers ie not just customers.

Set the values which guide everyday behaviour – so you know as much when you’re violating them as well as when you’re on the right tracks.

And the finish – sorts itself – 53.18. Result! 297th out of 451 runners. Not bad for a middle ager!

But before you think I’m getting cocky, the women’s winner did in 36.50 – well done Jenny Moore. She’s also a vet – ie 45+! No excuses Angela. Next year………..


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