The similarities in archery and running

I learned something new today that I wish I would’ve been taught two and half weeks ago.

When I was taught how to shoot a bow, I was standing 20 yards from the target. And when I brought my bow home, I put my target as close to 20 yards away as I could. I think the best I could do was around 18 yards. I’d shoot between 50 and 100 arrows every day. I was committed, but I wasn’t seeing the improvement that I was hoping for. I was getting frustrated, but I was still having fun. I thought (and still think) that’s important. If something you’re doing doesn’t provide some level of fun or an opportunity for learning or growth, then maybe it’s time to move on and find the next pursuit.

I happened upon a nugget of archery wisdom on Monday that basically said: Stand close to your target – even if it’s only 5 yards away – and shoot. Keep shooting until you’re putting every arrow exactly where you want it. And then keep shooting. Master that distance. Then move your target back a yard. Take a week, or however long it takes, and master that next distance.

And then it clicked in my head. Archery is a lot like running. You don’t start out running a marathon, or even a 5k. You start by running 1-mile. Or around the block. Or to the stop sign. Or down the driveway. Or just one single step.

Whatever the challenge is, start small. One step at a time.

The red circle is 4.5″ in diameter. This grouping is from 10 yards.

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