I’ve been a serious runner for almost a decade now. You’d think after all these years it would get easier the more I do it. It doesn’t.
Running is never easy. Oh, sure, there are days when I feel stronger than others and it seems like I could run forever. But it’s always a challenge to keep putting one foot in front of the other. And that’s a good thing. If it wasn’t a challenge every time I laced up my running shoes, there’d really be no reason to do it.
Of course, no matter how many miles you’ve put in, the last ones are always the toughest. That’s when your mind starts to play tricks on you. It knows how close you are to the end, and it keeps trying to get you to quit. I’ve run a few marathons in my time, and the self-doubt usually starts to kick in right around the 22-mile mark. Go ahead, says my brain, take a break. You’ve done more than enough. Just walk the rest of the way.
The school year is a lot like a marathon. For seven months or so now you’ve been studying hard as you work your way toward the finish line: glorious summertime. If you’re in college, March is the time of year when you get to step away from it all during spring break. And why not? You’ve worked hard all fall and winter, and there’s nothing like a little fun in the sun to recharge your batteries and get you ready for the final stretch (or should I say “finals” stretch).
The problem is, now that you’re so close to the end, it can be tempted to slack off; to let your foot off the gas and just coast the rest of the way.
Don’t fall into this trap.
Whenever I’m running the last few miles of a marathon and my brain starts sending me signals to slow down and walk, I try to remember all the hard work I put in just to get to that point. By then I’d been training for months, getting up before sunrise and running for 5, 10, sometimes 20 miles while most of the world is still sleeping. If I let myself give up now and start walking, when I’m oh-so-close to the end — to accomplishing my goal — what was the point of all that training and sacrifice? After all, the key in any race is to give it your all and finish strong.
Now’s your time to finish strong. Go ahead. Enjoy your spring break. Soak up some sun and forget about classes and tests and homework for a few days. You deserve it. But then, when you get back to campus, channel all that new energy back into your studies.
If you're a senior in high school, don't fall victim to "senioritis", which can negatively affect your college applications. Even if you've already been accepted, a college can still change its mind if there's a sudden drop in your GPA or if you suddenly fail to live up to their admissions standards.
Don’t listen to that little voice in the back of your head, the one telling you to just coast the rest of the way. You’ve invested too much into this year already. Don’t let it all go to waste, not when the finish line is just around the corner.
So keep going. Finish strong.
You’ll be glad you did in the end.