One of the most important and daunting roles of the early academic is the pursuit of NIH grant funding. Although NIH funding allows for great autonomy and comes with validation and prestige, the process can feel overwhelming even for the most seasoned investigators. Therefore, being armed with information is crucial. Most importantly, it is vital to keep in mind that applying for NIH funding is much more of a marathon than a sprint. Only, it’s a marathon where there is no planned route, where you often realize you’ve been going in the wrong direction and have to double-back with few signs to assure you, where you will be questioned and second guessed at every step by those evaluating your performance as well as your supporters, and where you will be guaranteed to feel like you are stumbling across the finish line no matter how confident you were at the start. With those caveats in place, it’s a marathon with some pretty amazing prizes for those who are successful, including resources to do your research in the best way possible with an opportunity to build a research team of pre- and post-doctoral trainees and support staff, as well as better visibility in the research community and a big boost in the promotion and tenure process. Moreover, these scientific benefits also often come with financial support which may serve as the basis for your salary in an academic medical setting or allow you more time to devote to research through course buy-outs or summer salary support in a Psychology Department. Clearly, the pursuit of an NIH grant is a high-risk/high-reward venture that should not be entered into lightly.