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From Running to Financial Advice, Accountability Unleashes Potential

Person running past a city skyline

Table of Contents

Why I run marathons

I’ve always enjoyed running. From an early age I can remember running alongside my dad, and as I grew older, the distances increased. Running then became a summertime “preseason”, in preparation for the local football season.

When I stopped playing local football, I returned to running to keep fit and unwind mentally. While I enjoyed this, I really missed the competitiveness that came from playing team sports. I needed a challenge, and I set my eyes on completing a marathon as it had always been on my bucket list.  

After successfully completing my first marathon, I was hooked. Running marathons provides a strong sense of accomplishment, where you can set and achieve goals and compete against yourself. As much as it’s a challenge physically, ultimately what keeps me coming back is the mental challenge, and the need to build discipline and grit to get across that finish line.

My marathon journey so far

I started training for my first marathon in December 2019 having no idea what I was doing. After a while my body became sore, which I assumed was just fatigue from training, but ended up being much worse. My first marathon was meant to be in March 2020, but was cancelled due to COVID, which for me was a blessing in disguise as I would have struggled to physically make it through at that time.

Following this initial experience, I then took a break from running to let my body recover. It wasn’t until early 2022 that I decided to commit to another marathon.

Rather than just pounding the pavement, this time I used a generic marathon preparation program I found online. This self-training approach got me through my first two marathons: the Gold Coast Marathon in July 2022 where I ran a time of 3 hours 23 minutes and the Melbourne Marathon in October 2022 where I ran a time of 3 hours 13 minutes. 

Ben after completing his first Gold Coast marathon
Ben after completing his first Gold Coast marathon

With two marathons under my belt, my confidence grew and I set a more ambitious goal of achieving the elusive sub 3-hour marathon at the Gold Coast in 2023. I realised that relying solely on my self-discipline wasn’t going to be enough to achieve the results I wanted, so I reached out for help and started working with a running coach.

Engaging my running coach

My coach, Sarah from Pulse Running, is a professional runner with a huge amount of experience in training and racing. She not only provides expert guidance on structuring my training, but also a strong sense of accountability to the goals I’ve set myself. 

With Sarah, my training program is now personalised and tailored to my individual needs and targets. The program has a combination of long runs, speed workouts and recovery days each week. I’ve also added a swim on Wednesday which keeps my legs fresh while still building my cardio capacity.

Alongside the physical aspect, Sarah has provided guidance around diet and how to fuel for my training and racing – I’m also lucky in that my wife is a dietitian, so I’m well fed!

Ben and his wife Fi after completing his second Gold Coast marathon
Ben and his wife Fi after completing his second Gold Coast marathon

Challenges, obstacles and the power of accountability

Embarking on the path of marathon training was not without its challenges. The early (cold!) mornings, the fatigue, and the occasional self-doubt made the journey seem daunting at times. However, the accountability that came with having a coach by my side made all the difference.

Sarah’s role went beyond just giving me a training plan. Knowing that I had someone to answer to kept me focused and disciplined.

Since working with Sarah in my preparation for the 2023 Gold Coast Marathon, I didn’t miss a single running session. Without having a coach, I can guarantee I would have found excuses to shorten or skip workouts. But having Sarah meant I was accountable to someone else, as well as myself.

In the end, this resulted in me achieving a time of 2 hours 58 minutes at the 2023 Gold Coast Marathon, which was a 15-minute improvement on my previous time.

The adviser/client relationship - a striking resemblance

Throughout my marathon training, I’ve identified strong parallels between my work with Sarah as my running coach and the work I do as a financial advisor for my clients.

In both scenarios, knowing what to do is only half the battle. Sure, googling my initial running plan got me over the finish line of my first two marathons, but it didn’t help me to reach my full potential – and I’m still not done.

This is similar with a financial advisor. You can find generic financial advice online, but this will only get you so far. To unlock your full potential, it’s helpful to have an expert in your corner who can provide tailored advice, support and accountability to help you achieve your goals.

In both the coach-athlete relationship and the adviser-client relationship, there’s a shared goal, a vision of success, and a path to get there.

Marathon runners making their way through the city of Melbourne. Source: Melbourne Marathon
Marathon runners making their way through the city of Melbourne. Source: Melbourne Marathon

Results and Growth

The transformation I experienced with Sarah’s coaching was remarkable. My marathon PB improved significantly, and I achieved personal bests that I once thought were out of reach.

The discipline and determination I cultivated through this process seeped into other aspects of my life as well. I became more focused in my career and personal pursuits, realising that the power of accountability can reach beyond the realm of sports.

It’s knowing how to train, how to plan, and what to do when things don’t go to plan (including the winter flu season!), and most importantly for me, the power of accountability.

Training for the Melbourne Marathon and beyond

As I look ahead to the Melbourne Marathon 2023, I feel a mix of excitement and nerves. However, the lessons I’ve learned from having a running coach have prepared me to face the challenges ahead with confidence.

While I’m still defining my race day goal, a huge result would be to run sub 2 hours 55 minutes, which I thought would have been near on impossible nine months ago.

While I’m not looking too far beyond Melbourne Marathon, I’m eager to continue my journey as a runner, exploring new races and new distances.

Just as my coach has formed an integral part of my growth as a runner, I’m excited to apply the lessons I’ve learned through this relationship to my own work as a financial advisor.

As we pursue our goals, whether it be in  sports or financial wellbeing, having a mentor, guide, or adviser who holds us accountable can be the catalyst for transformative growth.

Embracing accountability not only helps us achieve our aspirations, but also shapes us into better individuals, ready to take on whatever challenges life throws our way.

So, whether you’re lacing up your running shoes or making financial plans, remember that accountability can be the key to unlocking your full potential.

Benjamin Jongebloed

Benjamin Jongebloed

Ben doesn’t believe in taking half measures, both with his career or personal life. It’s seen him advance his skills as an advisor by working and studying in London, returning to Melbourne with a greater perspective and appreciation of the role he can play in his client’s lives. It’s also seen him apply the same determination to better himself personally, with his first marathon high on his list of goals to tick off.

You can get in contact with Ben here, or connect with him via LinkedIn.

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