Why Endurance Training & Wealth-Building Are More Alike Than You Might Think

It might seem odd, but yes, endurance training and wealth building have more in common than one might think. Recently, an article was published on another financial website comparing the two.

The author of the article is a regular contributor to the FinancialMentor.com website, Larry Weber. Weber has coached running champions for 30 years, from first time runners to world class athletes. His mission is to not only help runners reach their potential, but he says he also has a passion to help people manage money well.

Weber spent 16 years working in one of the largest public pension systems in the United States, helping others reach their wealth and health potential. Over his 30-year career, he began to notice that endurance running, and wealth-building, are actually similar in many ways. For example, both are character-driven activities that require goal setting, focus, commitment, perseverance, and hard work.

Below are some of the other commonalities between endurance running and wealth-building pointed out in the FinancialMentor.com article, “What Endurance Athletes Can Teach Us About Building Wealth.”[1]

Trait #1: Commit to Big Goals

Set challenging goals and go after them with courage and determination. Procrastination and laziness often get in the way of accomplishing goals. Champions overcome these habits by self-sacrifice and self-discipline. Weber explains that champions often ask themselves, “How bad do I really want this goal? Is this goal worth the price I’ll have to pay physically, emotionally, and spiritually?” If the answers are yes, then they tune out distractions and find a way to win. Where there is a will, there is a way. 

Trait #2: Don’t Buy into Instant Success Thinking

Truly, big goals often require big action—or a series of actions over an extended period of time. Rarely, do people just “become” endurance runners overnight. Likewise, wealth-building is also most often a process of smart decisions and dedicated effort. Rarely, does it happen in an instant either. “Winners” know this and aren’t afraid to put in the work – the time and effort – to reach their goals. Weber says that reaching a goal is 20% perspiration and 80% determination. Don’t let yourself be fooled into blindly buying into strategies, tactics, or ventures that seem like they promise instant success. Always do your due diligence and expect that you will have peaks and valleys for any goal worth reaching. Try not to get frustrated or quit trying to get where you want to go. You definitely won’t get there if you give up.

Trait #3: Work with a World Class Coach

It’s a pretty common success principle that the most efficient track to success is often the one that is tried and true. With any sport, the coach is vital. For one, he or she has most likely “been there, done that” on their road to success and knows the potential potholes to avoid, and shortcuts that can be taken, along the way. Find an experienced financial “coach” you can trust to help you minimize risk and maximize results, based on their own knowledge and outcomes they’ve been able to obtain. 

Trait #4: Pace Yourself to Victory

As Weber says, “Champions know that the fastest runner does not always win the race. They’ve learned that slow and steady usually wins the race.” He adds that, “Their smart ‘even’ pacing brings them to the finish line in record time ahead of the pack.” This is pretty easy to understand. The road to retirement is rarely a quick sprint. Instead, it’s setting your goal and then determining how to manage your time and energy to get to that goal as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Trait #5: Pick Yourself Up When You Fall

Very rarely, does a worthwhile goal come without obstacles and even missteps and mistakes. Keeping in mind your long-term and long-range goals, it might not always be smooth sailing to get there. However, the important point is to keep going and not let those mistakes or missteps totally derail your efforts. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back on track.

Trait #6: Harness Worry and Fear to Your Advantage

No doubt, signals and news about the current economic state, as well as predictions about the future, can provoke anxiety. But worry does little to help you reach your goals. Instead, it’s wise to stay informed, keeping your eye on scenarios and potentialities. Then, instead of merely fretting about possible outcomes, prepare for them. First, preparation in most any area of life enhances confidence. It reinforces the feeling and belief that you are ready to handle whatever comes your way. Getting to that place is commonly one of the best ways to avoid anxiety and fear—and the kneejerk reactions they can sometimes provoke that usually don’t serve you well on the path to achieving goals.

Trait #7: Go the Extra Mile

You’ve probably heard that many times in any race, the difference between winners and losers is barely anything. The “winner” is often the one who simply puts in more effort and “more effort” is frequently what separates the ‘good’ in anything from the ‘great.” Furthermore, those who come out ahead often realize that small sacrifices can equal big gains.


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[1] Weber, Larry. “What Endurance Athletes Can Teach Us About Building Wealth.” Financial Mentor, Financial Mentor, 17 Aug. 2017, financialmentor.com/wealth-building/what-endurance-athletes-can-teach-us-about-building-wealth/5585.