Thinking About Thinking

Running As A Metaphor

Posted in Philosophy by larrycheng on May 24, 2009

As many of you know who follow me on twitter, I’ve been running a fair amount this year.  I competed with a bunch of VCs in a winter stair climb up Boston Place (41 floors/82 flights).  Since then I have competed in the Lexington 5–miler, the Team Hoyt 5k, and today the 5–mile Run To Remember.  I am also training for a track meet where I hope to rekindle some capabilities in the 200 meter and 400 meter sprints.

The more I run, the more I feel like the lessons you learn in running are lessons for life.  I even find that there are great metaphors from running for entrepreneurship and leadership.  You might have to be a runner to appreciate some of these, but I thought I’d share them with you:

  1. When you start out of the blocks, keep your head down and stretch big on your first step.
  2. When you’re at top speed, relax.  Trying to accelerate more will only slow you down.
  3. Running with others will help you run faster and longer.
  4. Know when you have a tailwind and know when you have a headwind.  Adjust accordingly.
  5. Don’t start too fast.
  6. When you don’t want to run, just go outside and take the first step.
  7. Knowing the course makes a big difference.
  8. If you’re starting to get winded, just slow down your pace until you catch your breath.
  9. Listen to your body.
  10. When you’re tired, focus on maintaining your form to maintain your speed.
  11. Run through the finish line.
  12. Trying doesn’t replace training.
  13. Run your own race.

“”I always loved running…it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.”
-Jesse Owens


(At the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Emil Zatopek won the 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters, and the Marathon – setting Olympic records in each event.)