By Caryn Tijsseling

What do running marathons and practicing law have in common? The opportunity to buy lots of great shoes of course.
Needing a stress reliever, I started running on my lunch hour. I ran my first marathon seven years ago as an associate at a small law firm. Now, I’m a partner at a large firm preparing for my seventh marathon. Looking back, I can see beyond the shoes to the lessons running has brought my legal career.

Running marathons has taught me that I must have a clear goal, a detailed plan, and a heart-felt commitment. It doesn’t matter if I have to run in the rain, trip over a rock, or step on a snake. I have to keep going. This same approach is critical for success as an attorney. Just like I didn’t get off the couch one day and run a marathon, I didn’t just walk out of the library a skilled trial lawyer. Regardless of the obstacle—a judge rules against me, opposing counsel criticizes me, or the copy machine breaks down—I know I have to go to trial and be my best anyway.

Marathon running has also taught me that it takes determination to achieve any goal. Just as training involves many long, hard, and painful runs, practicing law involves many long, hard and painful billable hours. Without determination, I wouldn’t train—no matter how cute my running shoes are. And if I didn’t love practicing law, I wouldn’t put in the long hours—fabulous new pumps or not.

I would not be the attorney I am today without the lessons I have learned logging the miles on the pavement. My time on the road will continue to be an integral part of my success. Almost as critical as having great pumps.

Caryn Tijsseling is a litigation partner in Lewis and Roca’s Reno office. Her employment law experience includes advice and counseling on workplace wellness programs, ADA and FMLA requirements, employee handbooks, complex wage and hour issues, restrictive covenants, and non-compete agreements.