People often ask me why I choose to run longer than some people wish to drive and pay for that privilege. After all, running 42.2km (26.2 miles) is not easy and training to do it requires a lot of commitment.

Marathons are challenging both physically and mentally. Every time I complete one, I get this huge feeling of accomplishment from crossing the finish line.

Getting to the start is a tough road and that makes getting to the finish that much more rewarding.

I’ve come to realize that life and marathons have more things in common than you may think.

1. Keep moving forward. Sometimes, when running a marathon, the going gets really tough. The key is to never stop moving forward, no matter how far you still have to go to get to where you need to be.

2. Slow it down. Don’t go too fast in the first half of the marathon or you will pay for it later. In life, don’t rush things.

3. Celebrate personal victories. Completing a marathon is a personal victory that you should be proud of. In fact, completing anything that challenges you in a good way is an accomplishment worth celebrating.

4. Eating properly is good for you. Carbs are your friend, as long as you eat the right ones.

5. Run your own race. It doesn’t matter what the other people in the race are doing. Focus only on your pace and forget about impressing other runners. Everyone is in the race for their own reasons.

6. You might “hit the wall”. Notice how I said “might”? Focus less on what might happen and more on what is happening.

7.  It’s not over until it actually is. Just because someone passed you at the 30k mark, doesn’t mean that they will finish ahead of you. It’s not over until you cross the finish line and anything can happen.  Life isn’t over until you die.

8. Encourage others along the way. On your road to a personal victory, it won’t hurt you to encourage others. In fact, it will make you feel great.

9. You get out exactly what you put in. If you worked hard and smart while training for your marathon, you will have a much better time out there.

10. Enjoy the journey.  A marathon, just like your life, is a journey. Relax and enjoy the ride…I mean run

Running a marathon will challenge you and change you. It will allow you to learn a lot about yourself and it will teach you that you are stronger than you think you are.

Remember, no matter what happens, no one can take away the feeling of accomplishment that you get from finishing a marathon, or another challenging task.

Whatever you choose to do, do it for you.