So I'm going to let you in on a little secret...one that I'm working on perfecting!! It's called the Sure Way to Succeed...at FAILING and I'm getting REALLY good at it!! (Said in a very sarcastic tone of voice).
Step One: create a training plan - put a lot of time and effort into this because the other steps are somewhat dependent on this one. So spend several hours perfecting it, plugging the details into your running journal - my favorite is the Believe Training Journal by Lauren and Ro - creating the workouts in your Garmin calendar and whatever else you need to do to be ready for kickoff on Day 1 of the plan.
Step Two: Set some SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. For example you might set the following goal: Set a PR in the half marathon distance on May 23, 2015. Specific: Get a PR. Measurable: you have a time from your last race, all you have to do is come in under that one...totally measurable. Attainable: yep - just stick to the training and eating right and it should be no problem. Relevant: yes, totally relevant. Time-Bound: there's a solid date attached to this goal. This is a GREAT goal!! Should be completely manageable!!
Step Three: Tell yourself that you are going to completely NAIL this training cycle. You are going to eat right, get enough rest, stretch, foam roll, yoga your ass off, oh and don't forget cross training - you're going to ace that too!! You should also go on Pinterest and pin all kinds of happy motivation to get you jazzed up for this! Print some off, tape them to your wall, use that motivation!!
Step Four: Eat all the bad food. Slack off on all the workouts. Completely forget every goal you set. Don't pay attention to what's on the training plan. Go out and run your 13.1 miles with no more than 9 miles done in training. SUCCESS - you have now completely and totally set yourself up to succeed at failing!!! Brilliant!!! Whomp-whomp.
Seriously though, I have not done the work and I have made a plethora of excuses and I recognize that I have this really bad habit of completely and totally going into sabotage mode as I near a race. I don't know what that is or where it comes from...I could probably psychoanalyze the heck out of myself and find out that it is related to a fear of not living up to the standards I've set in my head, so if I have a bunch of "reasons" why I can't meet those standards than it isn't really my fault. Yeah...I'm guessing it's something like that. hahahaha Talk about a total mind f*&%!!! But here's the thing...I don't like it. I don't like being that person that is all fired up at the beginning just to completely fizzle out like a firework that didn't have enough oomph.
I want to know what it feels like to get to a starting line and know that I've done everything I possibly could have, within reason, to be READY to tackle the distance and the pace. I would even be okay if I didn't make my goal because I would at least know that I had done everything I could. But I haven't gotten there yet, and I'm definitely not there for this weekend's half marathon. My single goal for this one is to just finish it within the time limit so I can get my medal.
But I'm ready to turn a corner and no longer succeed at failing...I want to actually SUCCEED.
More to come on this...I've been working on setting some new goals, a new plan, and a system to support those goals and plans. I'll be sharing soon!
In the meantime, keep in mind that even though I joke about it, even failure is a building block to success because it teaches us what needs to be changed or tweaked on the next try! It's all part of the learning experience...one I'm getting pretty darn good at.