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Running Your Start-up in Southeast Asia is Like Running A Marathon: Adopt These Practices and You’ll Find You’re Firing on All Cylinders

Three sure-fire tips to help you make running a habit and help you go the distance.

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BY Jonas Altman - 30 Jan 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Running a company is like running a marathon. You need a strategy for how you will keep your rhythm over the long haul. While some entrepreneurs burn out early, others seem to get stronger and wiser as the years go on. Like compound interest - their knowledge, skills, and attitude evolve and expand.

Deep in Copper Canyon of Northern Mexico resides a small indigenous tribe called the Tarahumara that we could take a cue from. Also known as Rarmuri, or 'running people' -- they live to run. In the 16th century when the Spanish invaded, some of the tribe fought (and perished) while others fled. They evolved into the ultimate joggers. And they don't just run marathons distances, these folks (men, women, old, and young alike) routinely run 200 to 250 miles in one go. Astonishingly, one tribe member holds a record for covering 435 miles (the distance from New York to Cleveland) in just over two days.

There are also those that run each and every day for years on end. These are not like Will Ferrell's antics in "Old School"--these are true streakers. The world record is actually 52 years and 39 days of consecutive running and is held by England's Ron Hill. The former Olympian ran at least a mile every single day, regardless of injuries or any other circumstance.

I'm not sure about either of these strategies, but I can personally attest to the regularity of it all. Forming a habit of running is like anything else--it's not up for discussion of whether you'll do it, it's only a question of when. Here are three tips that have helped me maintain the rhythm.

Find and Keep Your When

If you can quash your run first thing in the a.m., I'd say go for it. Otherwise, if you're like me, before lunch or later in afternoon are good bets, too. All of our habits follow a simple cue > activity > reward cycle, so your job is simply to know your cue. Safeguarding the time you run each will help design out any sorry excuses you might dream up. If you're the type that needs a little bit more accountability, then a running buddy and set date and time are the easiest hacks. Ultimately, it's the proven benefits of running that will be the true motivator.

I am also adamant on slipping-on my joggers as soon as I arrive in a new city. It helps me acclimate, get over jet lag, and is a great way to discover the neighborhood right off the bat.

Run as You Feel

Glance over any good marathon training program, and you'll typically see a day or two a week for running as you feel (AYF) day. I love these days. You lace up and hit the road without any specific goal other than moving how your body tells you. No pacing, timing, intervals, or the like. You can set the distance you want to go but that's about it. Works magic.

Ten Percent More Time

My friend Emily told me she was going to start running (twice a week) as a New Year's resolution. Everyone is different but going from zero to running twice a week requires serious discipline. And, as it concerns habit forming, it's much easier to start easy and build on your successes. Not surprisingly, Emily hasn't quite met her goal.

Layering in more time is the trick. In this case, Emily could have started out with a short 20-minute run during the week and a longer 45-minute jog on the weekend. Each week she could add 10 percent more time to the run so that by Week 4 she's running 27 minutes in the week and an hour on the weekend. Voila, she's rocking steady.