A little over a month ago I ran the Bend Marathon! As in other races I’ve done in the past, many spectators lined the course holding up messages like, “No Pain, No Gain”, Don’t Quit, You Can Do this”. It makes me think they believed that runners got up on race morning and made some sort of super- human and somewhat sadistic decision to attempt this nearly impossible feat on sheer grit, willpower and twisted desire. It seems that those watching these races have failed to realize the amount of training that goes into running a marathon. Not many who sign-up for a marathon actually doubt that they can finish. With most marathon plans calling for a few training runs in the 20 to 24 mile range, runners are fairly confident that adding a couple more miles is doable. The real question they take to race day is how well they will run the race.
We often compare investing and financial planning with running a race. It’s certainly not a sprint. Those who approach their plan with a mindset of race spectators may find that a lot more training was needed to be ready. Retirement funding is the main goal of most of our clients. To reach this goal (race day), years and years of planning, saving and investing appropriately are required to be ready. Training for a marathon involves implementing a plan that gradually builds a runner’s distance capabilities. The runner must be willing to endure aches, pains, blisters, early mornings, skipped lunches, and slow progress. Investors must commit to saving a portion of their paychecks, forgoing certain purchases, making prudent financial decisions, and enduring volatile markets along the way. It truly requires endurance to plan for the race of retirement so that the large swings produced by every market cycle don’t chase us to pull our assets out and hide them under mattresses!
Back to the race. I ran most of the marathon with a friend of mine. We encouraged each other along the way, mentally helping each other up the big hills and in keeping a steady pace. He had an interesting nutrition plan for this race. A veteran of many endurance events, he decided with this marathon to test his theory that junk food could be just as good as any other fuel during his long training runs. He’d start these runs with a few donuts and then plan his route in order to refuel with sodas and candy bars, etc., at 7-11’s and gas stations along the way. His training went OK so we thought he might be on to something. During the race, everything was going just fine for him until we hit mile 22. At this point he began to sense the “bonking” sensation – bonking is a term describing the body beginning to shut-down, usually due to lack of fuel. Now we can’t verify scientifically that his junk food experiment was the cause, but the fatigue, light-headedness, and cramping he experienced in the last 4 miles caused him to arrive at the finish line over 6 minutes behind his much older running partner!
Retirement for most, like my friend’s marathon, is not really a question of whether you will get to the goal and finish it, it’s more a question of how well you will run and finish the race. Constructing and implementing a solid plan that incorporates tested strategies and prudent fuel (investments), is the means to creating the retirement that you hope for. If these things are done well you will be like the well-trained marathoner who shows up on race day not with doubts about their ability to finish, but with excitement about the strong possibility of running the race well. If you need help with a training plan please let us know!
Co-Directors of the Gorgeous Series , Kerry Loehr and Traci Manning provided an awesome experience for all of the racers, along with local sponsors: Footzone Bend, Deschutes Brewery, Humm Kombucha, and Boneyard Beer . On the race website you can go to results and select the link next to any runners you might know in order to view video clips from the race.
If you’re interested you can select the link below to take a look at my glorious finish!