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Be honest—have you ever driven by a runner who is jogging alongside the road and thought, Why would someone ever want to do that? That guy is crazy!
We’ve got a lot of runners around Dave’s office—half marathoners, full marathoners and even a few triathletes—and they will be the first to tell you that, yes, maybe they are a little wacky.
You’ve got to be a little weird to run for three or four hours, right? Sometimes, you may be out there in the rain at 5 a.m. You might have to dodge absent-minded drivers on the roads. You could find yourself fighting off stray dogs and enduring bruised toenails, all while wearing tights and a blinking vest. These things are pretty common for serious runners.
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Training to run an endurance race isn’t something you just do on a whim. You’ve got to make a plan and follow it. You’ve got to understand that you will have aches and pains and ups and downs, but it will all be worth it when you cross that finish line. You’ve got to pace yourself and, literally, take your training one step at a time. If you jump out of the gate too early, then you are destined to fail.
Just the thought of running a marathon might make you tired, but the truth is that physical endurance training isn’t that different from healthy money management. If you can make a plan to get out of debt, you can make a plan to run a marathon.
Chad Nikazy is a triathlete and personal trainer who also works on Dave’s Counselor Training team. He says that “almost anyone can run a half marathon or compete in a triathlon. Training is all about discipline and commitment to a lifestyle change.”
Sound familiar? If you’ve ever worked your way out of debt, then you know that Chad’s thoughts on training are relevant to money as well. But the similarities don’t stop there.
“There are lots of potential pitfalls along the way,” Chad says. “You shouldn’t start too fast. That’s a recipe for disaster, so think about baby steps. And, also, you can’t train inconsistently. You have to commit to doing the work. If you do the work, you’ll succeed and have fun doing it. If you do half the work, you’ll struggle and hate the process and result.”
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Just like working your debt snowball, training for an endurance race is something you have to take in small bites. If you jump in thinking you’re going to get out of debt in a month or run 10 miles on your first try, then you’ve got another thing coming.
“Set small and measurable goals, and build upon them,” Chad comments. With training, “Start with something like setting your alarm clock for 5:30 a.m. every day, and then get up!” In financial terms, that simply means to pay off those small debts first—which all starts with budgeting extra money to put toward your smallest balance and paying it on time.
Besides being similar in nature, endurance sports and getting out of debt are also part of living a healthy and well-rounded life. If you are out of debt but 100 pounds overweight, then you’ve only solved part of the puzzle.
Take that same sense of commitment and self-sacrifice you put toward your money and focus it on your health. Whether you train for an endurance race, a 5K, or you want to simply stay on your treadmill for ten minutes, you’ve got what it takes to succeed. Put in the time and the effort, and you’ll see results.
Get weird with your money and your health, and—who knows?—by December, you could be out of debt and crossing the finish line of your first half marathon. Don’t be normal this year! Reach your financial goals with Dave's free budgeting tool!