Running the Race of Analytics: 4 Lessons from the NYC Half Marathon

My alarm goes off at 4:30 AM, and the first thing I do is lean over the bed begrudgingly to turn off the alarm in my New York City Hotel and check the weather: 20 degrees with wind up to 20 mph. I face 13.1 miles ahead in the blistering cold winds of NYC. It’s a moment of truth for any runner. Do I embrace the challenge or surrender to the comfort of a warm bed?


And just like embarking on a journey at the IAA, the decision to run this half marathon required determination, commitment, and resilience. Little did I know, that the long and difficult training days in my running program would teach me valuable lessons applicable to my time at the Institute and life in general.

1. Building the Foundation for Success

In the world of running, success is not easily earned. Those grueling 8 to 10-mile training days after work, in the middle of the night, and even in the rain or cold are the foundations for running success. Just like there are good and bad running days, there will be challenging days during the Fall at the IAA. The key is to learn perseverance and keep moving forward even when the path is difficult because the projects and assignments lay the groundwork for success in practicum and our future careers.

2. Enjoying the Journey

Running through iconic places like Times Square and Central Park is scenic.

Yet, at times, we are so fixated on reaching the finish line that we forget to enjoy the journey itself.

The same holds true for our time at the Institute.

At times we may become so consumed by the end goal – be it getting a job offer or graduating – that we often forget to enjoy the process and where we are today.

Therefore, cherish the late nights of studying, the long discussions during practicum, and the camaraderie with fellow students.

3. Giving Thanks and Appreciation

In the midst of a difficult race, it’s easy to lose sight of why you started. Running through the streets of New York, you’ll encounter your family and friends cheering you on. Thousands of New Yorkers will support you across every turn of the race. As a runner, you become appreciative of all the people who are embracing the cold and supporting you to cross the finish line.

Similarly, at the IAA, don’t forget to give thanks and appreciation. Be grateful for the support of classmates, faculty, and coaches who encourage your learning and professional development.

4. Visualizing the End Goal

During grueling training days, when you are searching for your “Why” it’s essential to visualize the end goal of running across the finish line in Central Park and the sense of self-accomplishment from pushing yourself for success.

In the same way, envision walking across the stage at graduation, shaking hands with faculty, knowing you are equipped to succeed in your data science career.

In conclusion, the journey of training for a half marathon and time at the IAA are similar as both journeys require ‚Äútrusting the process.”

So, as we navigate the remaining time at the IAA, let’s remember these lessons from the half marathon:

  • build a strong foundation
  • enjoy the journey
  • give thanks to those who support us
  • and keep your eyes on the ultimate goal.

By keeping these principles in mind, we can cross the finish lines with heads held high and know that the journey was just as important as the destination.

Columnist: Joseph Barnabei