Update: Since the original article was written Paul has now participated in his second London marathon supporting Music in Hospitals. Here’s a look back on how he trained for his first marathon and why he think’s it’s like budgeting.
This Sunday is the London Marathon and Paul Wiseall from the Noddle team is running it in aid of a great charity, Health Poverty Action. To find out more information about the charity click here.
Amidst all his training and careful diet planning Paul explains how running a marathon can be similar to getting your finances in order.
Fixing your finances and finding freedom from money woes can often feel unachievable and a goal that you’ll never reach which is just what it feels like when you sign up for your first marathon. I should know as I signed up for the London Marathon a few months ago with no idea what I was getting myself into. Since then I’ve done a lot of long and painful training and have come up with a few reasons why running 26 miles is much like budgeting your finances.
Most people don’t wear animal outfits
Every year you see people running marathons all over the world dressed as bananas or safari animals and you might find yourself thinking ‘How hard could it really be?’ It’s the same with budgeting. It’s easy to look at other people who are finding the run so easy they can sprint past you while dressed like a mediaeval knight or a doughnut. This might make you feel like you ‘re not trying hard enough because you’re just running in a t-shirt. Don’t compare yourself to other people, just focus on your own goals and stick to them.
Find a running mate
Rather than lose all morale as that banana suited person casually jogs past you while you’re sweating buckets, it’s a good idea to find someone who’s running at your speed and feeling your pain because then you can keep each other going. Budgeting can hurt, especially when you have to cut out the daily luxuries (I’ll talk more about this later) so share the pain and grab a friend to budget with you. That way, when things do get tough and you’re on the edge of giving in you’ve got someone who understands what you’re going through and can keep you moving forward.
Pace your race
Training for a marathon takes months of dedication and training to be able to take on the big race and you’re finances are no different. If you just dive in and cut all your spending in half you’ll certainly save money but life won’t be much fun and you might find yourself quickly giving up. Remember, you’re in it for the long run and if you start off too fast then you’ll run out of energy (and interest) before too long. Good budgeting is about finding the balance between saving for the future but maintaining a living pace you’re comfortable with.
Gold medal tip: Why not start off small with goals such as skipping your daily Starbucks for a week and then build up to something larger like avoiding all labelled brands from your family food shop for a month?
You’ve got to treat yourself
Training for a marathon can be incredibly boring. Whether you’re training for hours on a treadmill and stuck staring at a blank wall or you’ve given up all your favourite foods (because fry-ups aren’t healthy apparently) it’s tough not to give up, especially when you’ve exchanged that mid-afternoon muffin for a bag of carrot sticks. You need to treat yourself the occasional take-away or family pack of doughnuts. When embarking on a financial detox it’s important to reward yourself for all the hard-core budgeting you’ve achieved.
Track your progress
When I run I tend to use a running app and afterwards it tells me all kinds of fun information such as how far I’ve ran, how long it took me to do it and even how many calories I’ve burnt. This sense of achievement is a big morale boost to me and without it I could quite easily find myself thinking, ‘What’s the point?’. Avoid this when getting your finances in check by tracking what you’ve done and how much you’ve saved. Making sacrifices can hurt but if after the first month you find you’ve saved £150 then it feels worthwhile.
So, are you ready to run a marathon to budget your way to better finances? I hope you are because the one other way running is like budgeting is that it’s an addiction you’ll be pleased to have and it certainly makes you feel better at the end of the month when you fit those old jeans and your wallet’s a bit heavier.
We wish Paul all the best of luck in Sunday’s marathon. If you’re interested in sponsoring Paul and donating towards the Heath Poverty Action charity, then check out his Just Giving page by clicking here.