We recently introduced you to two runners– Jay and Adam— who are friends and also principals at their local schools. They’re not only passionate about the running, but they’re using the sport to help the kids they work with and to also keep them focused on being great at what they do. In chatting about running, Jay and Adam thought of a few ways training for a marathon is like being a principal, which we thought was awesome, and got us thinking about how the challenges (and rewards) of running show up in our lives beyond just the run itself. What do you think?
First you have to accept the challenge and sign up. When we both started as classroom teachers, we never even thought about being a principal. But soon, other leaders that we worked with saw something in us and gave us a nudge toward becoming a principal. Just like a marathon program, there were many bumps along the road. From a statistics class, to people telling us we couldn’t get a job. It was honestly like running our first 20 miler, we didn’t really think it was possible to run that long and finish. There are definitely days like that as a principal, long and hard with no foreseeable end in sight.
As we prepare for a marathon, eating habits change a bit. The week of a race is really the time to dial in food and make sure our bodies are ready to run 26.2. The same is true when being a principal. No more than five years ago, social media for learning was so far from our thoughts. Now it’s such an embedded part of our day, a chance to fuel up for the days to come, or maybe just for the next day.
Another aspect of fueling for a marathon is to gather the support of family and friends. Family and friends always know when we’re running a marathon, and so do those who follow us on social media. Social media has created such a support group among other marathon runners and educators alike. We’re even members of a Voxer group that is all made up of runners and Principals, talk about like minded people collaborating together.
3. Race day
Race day is like every day in school. You need to do the best you can to make sure everything is prepared, including your outfit. After that, however, there are lots of variables that can either positively or negatively impact your day or your marathon. It’s how you adjust to these variables that determines your success. Some days are a PR, and others are “all you can do not to have a DNF.”
The race and a school day are the culmination of your preparation. Sometimes it’s slow and steady, but you’re always moving forward. Sometimes the finish line feels great and sometimes you don’t think you’ll ever get to the finish line. Either way, there will always be another finish line on the horizon.
5. Water stops
During the race and a school day, there are a number of opportunities to reflect and renew. In a race, it might be at the water stop or port-a-potty. In a school day, it’s a walk through the hall or a visit to a classroom. That simple recharge is usually all that’s needed to get you through that last few miles or a couple more hours in the day.
At the end of a school year or marathon, it’s a time to recover and celebrate. Both the school year and a marathon have tears and hugs and second thoughts and goals for the next year or race. Having a chance to discuss this with others is the ultimate experience. No matter what, unless you are retiring, it’s a time to start preparing for the next opportunity.
What do you think? How is running like your day job/life?