Plan the Work, Work the Plan

This is a phrase that I hear all the time: “Plan the work then work the plan” and I generally didn’t think much about it. Until I was going out for my 4.5 mile run yesterday, that is. I was tired, I was sore (thanks to too many squats the day before), and I had a million To-Do items that needed attention. I was thinking about bailing…

But then the phrase came into my head. Plan the work, work the plan. WORK THE PLAN. I am actually good about creating awesome training plans for myself. I can select a goal or race, easily determine specific metrics that I want to achieve, and then create a great road map to get from point A to point B. Here’s a snapshot of my current plan for my half-marathon training:


…guys, it’s freekin’ COLOR CODED to show exactly where, when, and with what support every single workout will occur. Because I am damn good at planning the work.

Where I am NOT good is working the plan. I often let “life” get in the way of this or that. By this point in training, I’m usually skipping one workout per week and shortening a couple others. I’ll muddle through to the end. I’ll do the race. I’ll enjoy the race. But the result is always “Wow! I did pretty good considering how little training I was able to finish.” Always pretty good considering.

This January, I realized that missed and shortened workouts ran way deeper than “life” getting in the way. It was a form of self-sabotage rearing its ugly head in disguise. Once I really started thinking about why I was not sticking to my (totally amazing and awesome) training plans, I realized I was hiding behind the words “pretty good considering.” I realized I was setting big goals (big for me at least). These were scary goals and deep down there was a part of me that was afraid of not achieving them. So I didn’t go all-in with training for the big scary goal. Because if I wasn’t really all-in, if I hadn’t been perfect with my training, then I wasn’t really a failure if I didn’t reach my goal. That’s some messed up thinking once you realize it.

This time around, I need to keep focused on working the plan. That means that I will do the work when I need to do the work. I will not let the cold, the wind, the weather, the dreadmill etc. stop me from doing the workout that I am scheduled to do. I will not snooze my alarm clock and lie to myself that “I’ll get it done after work instead” anymore. (Hello! I’m a bad-ass planner of the work. And if this workout is scheduled in the early morning, that’s because IT WON’T FIT IN LATER IN THE DAY!)

So I got my tired, sore booty out the door. I started putting one foot in front of the other. I didn’t turn around when the wind was making my ears painfully cold. I didn’t turn around when my inner-mean-girl started her shit talking. I refused to turn around until I reached the EXACT half way point. Before I got out the door, I thought to myself “this is going to be a shitty run. But sometimes conditions aren’t perfect.”

Turns out, the run wasn’t that bad at all. I wasn’t comfortable by any measure, but my pace stayed solid, my cadence stayed high (and that’s one thing I’ve been working on), and my overall time was great. I learned that my ears are way more sensitive to the cold/wind than any other part of me (helpful for future runs), I learned that I can still do it even when conditions aren’t perfect (and who can guarantee perfect conditions on race day anyway?), and I gave a giant FU to the pretty good considering limit I’ve been living.

Here’s to working the plan.

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