The Secret To Why Most Endurance Athletes Are Wealthy & Successful

Endurance athletes earn almost three times as much as the general population. Not 50% more. Not 100% more. Almost 300% more money on average!

According to the New York Timesthe average ING New York City Marathon runner’s household income was $130,000. USA Triathlon reports the average triathlete’s household income is $126,000. A 2006 Runner’s World subscriber study indicated their average subscriber had a household income of $139,000 and average household net worth of $943,000.

In comparison, the average 2012 US median household income was just $51,017.

There is an obvious correlation between endurance sports and wealth building habits.  Endurance sports and wealth building are both character driven activities that require goal setting, focus, commitment, perseverance, and good old fashioned hard work. It takes a lot of commitment to reach your potential in both endurance sports and in wealth building.

What makes these “wealthletes” different?

Trait # 1: Set Big Goals


Some of us have far off dreams – wealthletes set goals.

They don’t just talk about their goals. They set specific but challenging goals, assess their goals, and go after them with courage and determination.

Wealthletes overcome procrastination by setting meaningful and challenging goals. This sort of goal setting happens both long term and short term. A full 26.2-mile marathon is a long way to run, but it’s the 500-miles of training over five months where the work is done. A typical training schedule consists of many smaller milestones that progress in difficulty over the training period. Furthermore, a marathoner will also typically break up his race day run into a set of segments or mini-goals to mentally achieve their ultimate race day goal. Setting big goals and being able to break them down into manageable goals is the essential first step.

Wealthletes also take time to assess their goals by asking questions like, “Do I really want this goal?” If the answer is yes, they close off all distractions and find a way to win.  They keep running the race until they cross the finish line.

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It’s great to have goals but it’s also essential to give them your all. The best don’t give 50% to their goals. They don’t give 75%.  They give 100%. Self-sacrifice and self-discipline are more than words to the champion. They are a way of life.

Trait #2: Don’t Think Short Term


Wealthletes don’t think short term. They understand that the odds of winning the Powerball lottery is about 1 in 200 million and get rich quick schemes generally have similar odds. They don’t waste time looking for instant success strategies like the masses. Instead, they do the daily work required to reach the finish line.

Wealthletes also accept that reaching a goal is 20% perspiration and 80% determination. They lace up their shoes each day and get out that door whether they feel like it or not. Wealthletes are generally people who work harder, try harder, and refuse to quit.

Trait #3: Build A Support Group


The most effective road to success is to surround yourself with people who have already mastered what you want to accomplish – and then learn from them.

In endurance sports this sometimes means joining running clubs or maybe finding other road bike riders to push you forward on those 50-mile weekend rides.

Having a team behind you to help guide you and motivate you is very valuable both in endurance sports and wealth building.

Whether it’s discussing financial strategies with friends, working with a financial advisor to stay on track, or staying active in communities like SuperMoney, the Wealthletes among us build a team to support them.

Trait #4: Benchmark and Monitor Their Success


The image of a runner checking their mile per minute pace on a digital watch is almost cliché. Monitoring performance is something all serious athletes do. These days we have amazing benchmarking tools like Strava – a smart phone app that tracks your running, biking, or even swimming metrics and shows you how you stack up against everyone else who has ran that same segment.

This sort of personal benchmarking is key to the wealth building process. Those who know how to grow wealth know how to analyze their efforts to do so.  It used to be a lot more complicated and tedious to do so, but these days we have so many tools at our disposal to automate the process. Tools like Check, SigFig, WealthFront, and other money management tools.

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Trait #5: Pace Themselves to Victory


Many people give up on their dreams a few steps from the finish line. Wealthletes don’t. They pace themselves to win the race.

Wealthletes use their energy wisely. Their smart “even” pacing brings them to the finish line in record time ahead of the pack. Wealthletes pass other people near the finish line because they run hard and smart.

The old adage ‘slow and steady wins the race’ holds true to wealth building.

Trait #6: Pick Themselves Up When They Fall

Running injuries and the like are common among endurance athletes.

Wealthletes don’t give up when things don’t go their way. They treat failures as learning experiences and to get back into the race as soon as possible.  They do so with courage and with conviction.

Trait #7: Leverage Worry and Fear


Worry is interest paid on trouble before it is due.

Wealthletes learn to harness fear by developing a strong backbone – not a wishbone. They don’t “wish” for success, they work at success in spite of their fears.

Wealthletes stay mentally and spiritually strong in the face of adversity in difficult and painful circumstances. They replace worry and fear with determination. Wealthletes run their race to win regardless of the obstacles that stand in their way.

Trait #8: Go The Extra Mile


Wealthletes consistently run the extra mile. Those few extra steps each day separate Wealthletes from the rest of the pack.

Wealthletes are willing to do the little things that the masses are unwilling to do. They complete their daily workouts in all kinds of weather conditions. They run when they don’t “feel” like running.  Wealthletes understand that short-term pain produces long-term gain.

Wealthletes forgo a few pleasures today for greater rewards tomorrow. They train consistently to win the race regardless of the circumstances. Going the extra mile each day keeps wealthletes out of the maze of mediocrity.

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8 Questions To Ask Yourself 

  1. How much time and effort are you giving to your most important wealth building goals?
  2. Are you taking the path of least resistance to reach your wealth building goals?
  3. Are you surrounding yourself with people who are helping you reach your wealth building goals or people who are steering you in the wrong direction?
  4. What are you doing to monitor your wealth building success?
  5. Are you pacing yourself effectively in the wealth-building race?
  6. Is it time for you to get back into the wealth-building race?
  7. Are you pushing through your fears in the pursuit of your wealth building goals?
  8. What extra steps do you need to take today to improve your chances in the wealth-building race?

The Finish Line

In summary, the traits of endurance training and wealth building are remarkably similar.

Both require smart goal setting, long-term thinking, a support team, constant benchmarking, self-pacing, picking yourself up when you fall, conquering worry, and going the extra mile.

The lesson is clear – expediency is not the solution. Get-rich-quick thinking and instant gratification are not the way to build wealth. Instead, by practicing basic principles of goal setting, hard work, and self-discipline, you will build wealth throughout your life.

It is no coincidence that endurance athletes are more financially successful than the general population. They understand the basic principles required to reach your goals.

There are no short cuts to success.

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Need some extra motivation? Read about 10 habits of the ultra-wealthy that helped them get rich.

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This article was contributed by SuperMoney Founder Miron Lulic.

  • Tim Lin

    putting on my shoes right now, will be back in 2 hours.

    • Nice – You got one thing checked off the list. Shoes. Now for the rest 8.

  • harrylangenberg

    Extreme sports are also a constructive stress reliever for those that juggle a lot of responsibility. I wonder if there is a correlation between how extreme the activity is and these 8 traits of the wealthy.