Lessons from Failing a Half Marathon

Vipin half marathon

In April this year I ran my 2nd half marathon and I FAILED!.

I failed to achieve my goal to complete the half marathon in under 2 hours. As a matter of fact I failed so miserably that I had a worse timing than last year. As they say, failure is a great teacher and this failure taught me a lesson or two about life.  It’s so true that sports teaches you some of the most valuable lessons in life. Here are the 3 things I learnt from my run this year.

Motivation is Temporary. Discipline will help you succeed.

When I finished the half marathon last year, I decided that next year I’m going to beat my personal best and go under 2 hours. I knew this was an ambitious goal, but when you are on a high, no goal is really farfetched.  Once the race was over I decided to give myself a “break” and reward myself for the hard work I put in the previous year. A month passed by and I was still to get back to my training. Eventually I started training but I lacked the discipline I had the year before. I was not eating right and was not disciplined with my runs. Before I knew it, it was January 2016 and the race was just 3 months away and I was hardly doing 7 km. I told myself that I still had time to train and could do it. But I lacked the motivation and drive to push myself. For the first time in 3 years, the thought of “Quitting” came to me and I could hear my little voice give me all kinds of reasons why it was “OK”, if quit.

The interesting thing is that this was happening to me not just with my running, but in almost every aspect of my life. Till last year I was writing regularly on my blog and last year I just failed to write a single post. My diet was out of control and I gained back all the weight I had lost. Basically I was not doing all the things which I knew I had to do. The problem with most of us is that , it’s not that we don’t know what we need to do. The problem is that we don’t do it. We know that if we have to lose weight we have to exercise and control our diet. Why do you think people don’t do the things they should be doing. The thing with life is that “While it’s easy to do the things we should be doing, it’s even easier not to do the same things”.  Motivation can only get you started. What keeps you going after that is discipline to take consistent action and keep up the momentum.

Where there is a will, there is a way

This is an age old proverb which I heard when I was a kid.  There were 2 examples of this I witnessed during this year’s run. The first was a dear friend of mine who apparently got inspired to run after watching me run 2 years back. We ran the half marathon together last year and this year he decided to challenge himself to complete the full marathon. Although he could not run the full distance, the great thing was that he made sure he did not quit. He kept walking till he was done. This despite the fact that there were people constantly asking him if he wanted to quit! Hats off to him!

The second was an amazing couple from Italy both above 65 years of age. The man was blind but the 2 of them together completed the half marathon hand in hand. It was such a touching moment to witness the couple cross the finishing line. It just goes to show what we are all capable of achieving if only we are willing.



Sometimes we hear these motivational quotes so often that we forget the real meaning. One thing I have learnt in life is that life is really simple. The laws and principles of life are very simple. They may not be easy but they are simple and everyone can do it. The problem is that we all know we want to. The question is “Are we Willing?”

You may like to read : What separates Success from Failure

Failure is a great Teacher

Last year I learnt from my success of running my first marathon. This year it was time to learn from my failure. The good thing about failing is that the lessons it teaches are far better than what success teaches you. When you fail, it forces you to look back and dig deep into the reasons. For me the reasons were many. From a lack of discipline, uncontrolled diet, insufficient training, and lack of mental readiness, all of them contributed to my failure.

They say that success leaves behind clues. It sure does. Failure on the other hand leaves behind lessons. For me it’s easier to learn from lessons, rather than trying to figure out the clues. Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” That’s the power of a failure.

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  1. Hi Vipin,

    I have always heard people say ‘we should learn from our mistakes and try not repeat them’, I often wondered though, am I learning what I should be learning or just consoling myself!
    After reading that you could not finish half marathon within 2 hours, I wondered what lesson may have possibly learnt from this and although I was very busy doing my chores, when I saw this in news feed.. I decided to pause and read this article..

    Must say it was worth it, something that will go a long way with me…specially “Motivation is Temporary. Discipline will help you succeed.”

    Thanks for this and keep up the good work. I am glad you failed (if you want to call it that) otherwise wouldn’t have written this article 🙂 ..congrats on your success!

    • Hi Deepa,

      Great to hear from you. Glad that you liked the article. You are absolutely right. Many times we fail to learn from our failures. Not because we don’t want to. More so because we are disappointed with ourselves and the expectations we had from us.

      Thanks once again

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