5 Lessons Running a Half-Marathon Taught Me!

Today, I completed the Chevron/Aramco Houston Half-Marathon in a time of 2 hours and 21 minutes. I am deeply appreciative of your support as I transitioned from someone unable to run a mile less than 8 months ago to completing 13.1 miles at a stretch. If I can do it, then anyone can do it!

photo 4But more importantly, I wanted to share five take-aways from my experience that could be applied to life generally!

1. Don’t pick goals where the stakes are low: I did not need to train for, and run a half-marathon, especially given that I did not like running, and had never run a mile. I could have chosen something easier or more within my comfort zone. What I have realized is that if you fail inside your comfort zone, it’s not really failure, it’s just maintaining the status quo. If you never feel uncomfortable, then you’re never trying anything new. You need to step outside your comfort zone to get into your gift zone!

 2. Just because you don’t like where you have to start from doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get started: When I started running, I wished I weighed less. I wished I was a faster runner. I wished I had been eating healthy all these years. But more than anything, I’m glad I chose to start even though I wasn’t very good in the beginning. Feelings of fear and uncertainty have a way of making us feel unprepared. The question I asked myself was: “How long will I put off what I am capable of doing just to maintain what I am currently doing?”

photo 3

3.If you commit to nothing, you’re distracted by everything: We all have things that we say are important to us. For some of us, it might be becoming more physically fit, starting a new business, getting an advanced degree, becoming a better spouse/parent. But the bigger question is — do you make time for these goals above all else? Do you organize your day around accomplishing them? When I signed up for the 24-week training program for my race, I knew I had to create the time if I was serious about doing it, and I am glad I did. If you commit to nothing, then you’ll find that it’s easy to be distracted by everything.

4. The only real failure is not taking any action in the first place: We all deal with feelings of fear, uncertainty, and vulnerability. And unfortunately, most of us let those feelings dictate our actions. When I signed up for the race, I was almost convinced there was no way I would be able to run 13.1 miles, but I signed up anyways. Sometimes, the simple decision to act is often enough to separate us from most people. You don’t always need to be great at what you do, you just need to be the one person who actually decides to do it.

photo 2 photo 1

As I told one of my friends after the race today, the amazing thing was not that I completed the race, it was that I somehow found the courage to start ( and stayed put). Overcoming fear to begin anything new in life takes courage.

5. It doesn’t matter how long your goal will take, just get started.

Don’t let the length of your goals prevent you from starting on them. Training for 24 weeks or a year for one event seems like a long time. Getting an advanced degree or running a successful business will take a few years, but that should never stop you from getting started.

“Never give up on a dream just because of the length of time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
—H. Jackson Brown

Lastly, I have had a lot of people congratulate me for finishing the half-marathon, and saying how they probably will never run one because they are either too young, too old, too fat, too thin, too busy, etc.  My response is to quote one of my mentors, James Clear;

“So often, we overestimate the importance of a single event (like a marathon) and underestimate the importance of making better choices on a daily basis (like running 5 days per week).
We think that getting “that job” or being featured in “that media outlet” or losing “those 30 pounds” will transform us into the person we want to become. We fall victim to a fixed mindset and think that we are defined by the result.

When you let the results define you — your talent, your test scores, your weight, your job, your performance, your appearance — you become the victim of a fixed mindset. But when you dedicate yourself to showing up each day and focusing on the habits that form a better identity, that’s when you learn and develop. That’s what a growth mindset looks like in the real world.

Instead of worrying about winning the championship, commit to the process of training like a champion. Instead of worrying about writing a bestselling book, commit to the process of publishing your ideas on a consistent basis. Instead of worrying about getting six pack abs, commit to the process of eating healthy each day.

It’s not about the result, it’s about building the identity of the type of person who gets to enjoy those results.”


About Idris Ayodeji Bello

Afropreneur & Partner, LoftyInc Ltd (Operators of the Wennovation Hub) Leading expert in deploying technology and innovation to drive public sector reforms and enabling good governance. Passionate about bringing about positive change in Africa through innovation and entrepreneurship!
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6 Responses to 5 Lessons Running a Half-Marathon Taught Me!

  1. Congratulations sir!

    This is awesome!!


  2. Qasim says:

    This is an awesome right up, embedded with lessons. I hope all readers of this article will take action and not just be an information accumulator.

    Keep up the spirit , Idris.


  3. Genuinely inspirational


  4. Arinola Sururah Bello says:

    I just love the positiveness you portray. I know its easier said than done, but we should ‘never say never.’ You are a ray of hope,keep shinning!


  5. Lateefah says:

    Interesting that you chose to write about your 2nd half. Very soon, you will become a runaholic.


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