Top 5 reasons running is like a startup

I didn’t call myself a runner until after I ran the NYC Marathon in 2004.  As I’ve navigated the world of starting, I’ve been struck by how much running is like a startup. Here are 5 reasons that I think running is like a startup.

1) Anyone can do it: The beautiful thing about running is that people of any physical ability can run. If you’ve ever seen the start of a large marathon, you’ve seen people with disabilities of all types running a marathon. Same with a startup– regardless of what skills you bring to the table, you can start a company if you have clear focus, purpose, and passion.

2) Starting is the hardest part: As a runner, I know that getting out the door in the hardest part. Once I’m out, I’m off– and it gets easier with every step I take. I’ve found that starting a company feels the same. It was really tough to get going. Finding the right people, figuring out where to start; just getting going has been the hardest part of my startup (so far).

3) Interim goals propel you forward: Starting a run can be daunting. Do I really want to run 10 miles today? For me, the best way to handle this is to establish interim goals: run 2 miles to the water fountain in the park then continue from there. Similarly, I’ve found that small goals help move the startup forward. By setting goals along the way, the progress is more clear.

4) Consistency is the key: We all know the story of the turtle and the hare: slow and steady progress wins. With running, you’re competing against yourself and you try not to worry about what everyone else is doing. With a startup, as long as you make steady progress, your startup will begin to pull ahead. My advice: don’t worry about your competition: focus on your startup, make steady progress, and the rest will work itself out.

5) Sometimes it just sucks: After reading this post by Brad Feld, I can’t get that phrase out of my head (especially during a bad run!). Some runs suck. Some days of the startup suck. Just pick yourself up, go to bed early, and start the next day. Looking back, you’ll be glad you did.

So there you have it. 5 reasons running is like a startup. If you run and have a startup, drop me a line. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Start your next party at!


3 Responses to Top 5 reasons running is like a startup

  1. Chris says:

    I’m working on a startup now and I’ve noticed the same thing in my work. I’m also a runner and have noticed a connection to physical activity and working. Running keeps me focused and helps me think about my work as well.

    There might be something to that connection. The book “The Millionaire Mind” reports that many self-made-millionaire business owners get excersize and many have competed as an athelete. So I plan to keep running and keep working!

  2. […] between my 35 minute run and what it’s like to be in the middle of a startup.  I’ve written about this subject before, but I think there are many more similarities still to be […]

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