9 Study Tips You Can Learn From Marathon Runners
Marathon training and study tips for a test or class are not that different when you get right down to it. The thought of running 26.2 miles in one continuous block of time or even in the same day might sound insane, but you can get there with the right amount of effort and the proper approach. You’ll find that at a basic level these principles are at home wherever you apply them. Let’s get started!
1. Know your limitations.
From the very beginning of your marathon training, you’re going to need to realize that you probably won’t be able to go out and run all 26.2 miles without first preparing your body for it. But how do you know whether you’re truly prepared? Well, you can’t be sure until you actually do it, but I’ll tell you how you can know that you’re NOT ready. If you’ve never ran longer than a couple of miles, then you’ve got some work to do. By the same note, you can’t ace a test if you’ve never opened a book, listened in class, or shown a remote interest. You have to build your knowledge and understanding, and the only way to do that is to know your starting point, or how “far” you’re capable of “running.”
2. Give yourself time.
When you have to go from one-mile runs to two-mile runs — your proverbial “point A to point B” — you may not need very much time to condition yourself. Two miles to 26.2 miles, or in studying terms algebra I to calculus, you will need to fill in a lot of gaps. That means starting with enough time to learn key concepts and build your skills.
3. Baby steps make for great study tips!
To go along with the time factor, there is also the “bite-sized chunk factor.” Not to put these analogies all over the map, but don’t try to stuff a whole pie in your mouth if you plan on eating every piece. Do it in segments, and you’ll savor every bit of the flavor. In marathon training terms, you steadily build to three miles, then five, then 10. Eventually you try the half marathon and when you can get that under your belt, you’re well on your way. Mastering a subject means acing the basic concepts and building on that knowledge a little at a time until you’re “ready for primetime.”
4. Call your shots.
In the world of marathon training, you reach a point where you’re ready for that first race. But climates and terrains can play a role in how challenging the race turns out to be. And it can even make a difference in your health. (Just ask anyone, who’s ever tried running a race in Denver!) point being, at some point you have to test yourself beyond what you may feel capable of, but that doesn’t mean you are powerless to choose the terms. (Think about it: ACT vs. SAT, GED vs. traditional diploma, etc.)
5. Base mileage, and what you already know.
Sticking with the marathon analogy, you’ll want to start your focus on base mileage. How far can you go at a steady pace before giving out? Three miles? Four? This is the base on which you have to build. Studying requires that you have a similar baseline that you can gradually grow until you’re ready for a bigger leap. But to properly prepare for a test or class, you need to know where your starting point is.
6. Long distance, and practice testing.
The only way to break free from your baseline pace and establish a new baseline that will take you further than before is to press yourself beyond your limits. If you’ve done five miles a couple of times, then try to go one or two miles further in your next run. Similarly with studying, you eventually have to break free from the comforts of the study materials and do a practice test in simulated conditions to see how far you’ve come. The key is to push yourself beyond your limits and establish new ones in the process.
7. Speed work, and pomodoro.
In marathon training, long distance tests your breathing, muscle endurance, and psychological preparedness. Base distance tells you where you are and helps to illustrate how far you have to go. Adding speed to your tool bag tests heart strength and cardio, which you will definitely need to make it to the finish line. Similarly, studying in short bursts can train your mind for the challenges ahead and help you maximize the amount of knowledge and understanding that you retain. Think “pomodoro” method. Instead of trying to study nonstop for three hours, set your timer for 20 to 25 minute intervals. Focus during that time and then take short breaks to recharge your mind.
8. Rest, recovery, and rewards.
One of the most important parts of your marathon training will be the amount of rest and recovery that you get in between sessions. Without relaxing your muscles and recharging your brain, any advancements that you make will only be temporary. Studying isn’t much different. You can’t be constantly focused on the material that you have to learn because it’s too easy to get burned out. And to stay encouraged during the process, you may also want to incorporate a rewards system by allowing yourself to watch your favorite show or setting aside some fun money to go out with friends or go shopping.
9. Taking care of yourself while taking care of business.
Whether marathon training or studying for the ACT test, eating the right foods and treating your body and mind with respect is essential for getting the best performance.
You do not have to run a marathon in order to be a good student. But you can certainly learn a lot from marathon runners and how they train when preparing to take your next big exam. What are some preparations that you are currently undergoing that you feel would be applicable to studying? Sound off in the comment section.
[Image via Media OnSugar]