Mile Musings – What PR and Running Have In Common
Turns out, you have a lot of time to think when you set out to run 20+ miles through the woods. This I’ve learned well as I’ve charged full speed into a new hobby and now have three ultra trail runs under my belt. Riding high off these amazing events, I was struck with a thought: PR and running have more in common than I ever thought. I’ve decided to share some of my mile musings here.
You’re going to suck at both when you first start. Prior to signing up for these races, I had never participated in any event this long. Each foot strike reminded me of how it feels to be “new” at something all over again. At the start of this past year, I hit the 10-year milestone here at Caster Communications. I’ve shared blog posts along the way of what I’ve learned but when I think back to when I first started vs. how things are going now, it’s remarkable the information, tips, tricks, and skills you pick up along the way. I see a lot of similarities with these longer races. There’s still so much I have to learn and experience to continue to improve, plus, I simply cannot ignore the one foot after another analogy that’s just too fitting for running and professional career advancement.
Practice Makes Progress. These races have been the farthest I’ve ever run in a single session, and I am under no delusion that happened overnight. Since the beginning of the year, weekends have been filled with long runs, both in terms of both distance and duration, in order to start working towards goals. Dedicated time has gone into making improvements, and the same is true for PR. When you first step into the profession, you must learn the building blocks and forge a solid foundation from which you can stack everything you learn along the way. If your first steps into the PR world are into a big “race-like” event like a company launch, event, tradeshow, announcement, without prior “warm-up” or anything to practice on, you’re setting yourself up for a rough go of it.
Your Crew Makes a Difference. I’ve been fortunate to run two of these trail races with a component totally new to me, a “crew” station. For the races we could, we set up a small pop-up tent and a table laid out with everything needed to complete the event – snacks, water, electrolytes, first-aid. My parents came out to cheer and crew the station, ensuring water bottles were filled and other needs met. Their support made a world of difference. In that way, I felt the crew tent was similar to the other PR pros you work beside. That supportive force that provides suggestions and encouragement has huge impacts on final results.
Reflecting on the accomplishments from this series of trail runs left me with the same feeling of seeing a multi-faceted PR program or campaign come to fruition. To succeed – in PR or running – both require persistence, dedication, and a supportive team. In both fields, starting out may be challenging, but with each step, you learn and grow. Whether I am trying to grow as a PR professional or a runner, both require accepting where you are, acknowledging current limitations, and striving for progress over perfection.