It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Jamie Yu after finishing first marathon
Jamie Yu, after finishing her first marathon.

It’s February, which means that for many long distance runners, it is time to emerge from winter hibernation, sign up for the next race, and begin the long and thankless training process. While some would not agree, I, as a lawyer and a long distance runner, have found that the training process for a marathon eerily mirrors the path to becoming a lawyer.

I signed up for my first marathon, somewhat foolishly, during my second year of law school, the race coinciding the first semester of my third year. As I embarked on the first long run of my training schedule, I was filled with excitement and anticipation. Like a 1L, I felt invincible and ready to take on the challenge.

However, as the weeks passed and my mileage, and long run distances increased, so did my frustrations and anxiety. What seemed like a fun adventure was turning in to a daily chore, and my love for running was quickly being replaced with dread.

But when I stopped in at the running shoe store for yet another pair of running shoes, I saw a shirt with the phrase, “It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint…Trust the Process.” That phrase engrained itself into my heart and I successfully completed my first marathon in the October of my 3L year, coincidentally one month before I received an invitation to join another type of marathon, a job offer to become a lawyer.

It has been five years since I started law school, and as I look back on my time in law school and first years as a practicing attorney, I realize that these past five years were similar to my marathon training.

In law school and in the legal profession, there are times where it’s easy to lose sight of the end goal and to feel like the path is never-ending. However, much like a training session, with each outline finished, each assignment completed, and step taken, you travel that much closer to reaching your goals.

Law school and practicing law can be uncomfortable and unthankful at times, but it’s important to remember that the path to becoming a successful lawyer is a marathon, and not a sprint, and that every step of preparation taken brings you closer to the goal.

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