Yesterday I couldn’t run the 21km trail race I planned because I had some serious stomach problems Friday and Saturday. Well, in the end I didn’t run at all this weekend. A friend of mine remarked last night how bad this is and how bad it must be for my planned training for the 50km race I’m doing in September. My answer to this was: “no, it’s not bad. It’s a bummer that I missed the race, but my training just continues.”
I remember a time when my answer would have been very different. I would have agreed that it was bad and that it was bad for my planned training as well. Luckily I’ve learned over time that things just carry on. There’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t change the fact that I missed the race and all my weekend runs. But everything else carries on. So will my training.
So how do I handle this? The moment I know I’m not doing a specific race or run anymore, I move my focus to the next run or race. I look at my training plan and adjust it. I put my focus on the next goal and carry on. I still have my plan, but I change it as needed. I don’t worry about the missed runs any further. When the Sri Lankan cricket captain, Mahela Jayawardene was asked how he stays focused when things go wrong his answer was: “I only worry about the things I can control. I can’t do anything about the things I can’t control, but I adjust and focus on the things I control. That way I’m still in charge of the overall plan, my plan.” That’s exactly what I do. I stay in control of the overall plan, my plan.
I’m a planner. With everything I do I’m a planner. This is the same for running. I have a very detailed plan. I’ve already planned every run, six days a week, until the end of February 2011. My long term plan is already worked out until the end of 2013. I know it’s totally crazy, but that's how I like to do it.
However, this is a flexible plan and I’ll adapt it as life happens. I love this long term plan and that’s part of what drives me to go out for my run at 4AM in winter with temperatures below zero. It also helps me to move my focus to the next short term goal if something goes wrong on a day. The long term goal doesn’t change, so why worry? I’m still in control of the overall plan, my plan.
Have a great week everyone…stick to your plans, adjust as life happens, then move on!