A few years ago I decided to run a half marathon. As a bit of a casual runner with a few 5Ks and 10Ks under my belt, the next logical step was to finish a half marathon, right?
My primary goal was simply to finish the race, but it was also about making a plan and committing to it 100%. I needed to prove to myself that I could do really do it without giving up or slacking off.
The half marathon was scheduled for October, and I started training in earnest in February. I knew I had a LOT of work to do, and I made sure to give myself plenty of time to build up and get ready.
Now, I’m a planner. Without a clearly defined plan in place, it’s easy to find shortcuts and compromises. So I spent a weekend adapting various training plans to my schedule and mapped out the next 7 months in an Excel spreadsheet.
Then I printed it out. And stuck it to the fridge.
After several weeks of training, I started to get discouraged. My first race had not gone as I had hoped, and I started to question whether I could actually finish a half marathon. But I had already put in a lot of time, sweat, and energy and I wasn’t willing to waste it. Failure was not an option.
Over the next 7 months, I stuck to my plan. I logged over 500 miles and spent 130+ hours in my running shoes. I ran two 5Ks and two 10Ks, and in October, I ran 13.1 miles.
Reflecting back on this experience, there were a few keys to my success. I cannot stress just how important it was to take the time to develop a plan, print it, and stick it to my fridge. I was reminded of my plan every day, I could track my progress, and my husband gladly helped to hold me accountable since my plans were right there, out in the open.
Without a clear plan, it’s easy to lose track and lose sight of your goals. I knew exactly what I needed to do to accomplish my goal, and never strayed far from my plan.
I also obsessively tracked my progress. Even if the results weren’t what I was hoping for, I knew exactly where I was at and if I needed to adjust my plan or my expectations. As I got closer to the half marathon, I set race goals that I knew were realistic and that would keep me motivated as I trudged along mile after mile.
After I crossed the finish line, I was overcome with emotion. Not because I had finished the race, but because I knew all the work I had put in had finally paid off. Every moment of doubt, fear, anger, and frustration I felt during training was released all at once as I realized my potential. And that only motivated me more.
The things we want in life are worth fighting for. The path may not always be fast or easy, but with the right plan, undying commitment, and honest feedback, anything is possible.
One step at a time!
Today’s Monday Mo was presented to you by Melanie Livingston, Website Development Manager at Spot On Solutions.