On my list of 101 goals for 2007 is one which says "Run a 10K". I've been working on it now for four months. Yesterday I made it 5.1 miles (10K is 6.2 miles approximately). I'm not running particularly fast (around a 9 minute mile on average) but I'm getting there and that is what I want to do. While running, though, I do have a lot of time to think. This time I was struck by some of the similarities between training as a runner and developing a web presence.
Yes, there are similarities. Stick with me here.
- Focus on one thing. In running, I can improve my distance or I can improve my speed. Trying to focus on both would likely lead to unhappiness and possible injury. In a recent e-zine article, I came up with eight ideas on how to improve your Web presence. If someone tried to start doing them all at once, they would quickly burn out and quit doing anything at all.
- The first mile is the hardest. Some days I wish I could start on the second mile. After that first mile of running, your legs get into the rhythm and most of the achiness goes away. Your breathing settles into a pattern and it feels almost effortless. Since much of the effort of developing a web presence requires writing in one way or another, I've found the biggest challenge is getting through the first paragraph. After that, it seems almost effortless.
- Start small. When I first started running, I wasn't even doing a mile -- just around the block once and then stretch. To do any more would strain my body and probably make me give up. Similarly, if I tried to develop my web presence by first creating the perfect website (and not doing anything else until it was done), I might never get there. Instead I had to get small pieces up and running first and leave space into which I can expand.
- Get into a habit. OK, so I lied in #2. The hardest thing is actually getting out there and running when I'm supposed to. Unless I make it a part of my weekly workout habit, sooner or later it stops happening. In the same way, if I don't make a habit out of writing in my blog or e-zine, then before I know it, I'll have skipped two weeks and I have to start all over again.
- There's always an excuse. Just as you have to get into the habit, you have to watch to make sure you don't fall out of it again. This is a tough one for me on both fronts. As an entrepreneur and business owner, it's so easy for me to say to myself "Oh, I'll go out for my run later on. I need to finish this project right now" or "I don't have time to write today. It won't hurt if I skip a post or two." Even if I only walk around the block, or write a short two-sentence post, it's better than doing nothing at all.