Success: The Hardest Part of Training Is Planning For It

That’s not me. I wish it were, but nope, that’s someone else.

A goal can feel out of reach when you lack proper planning and training. In casual conversation, whenever I hear something like “I don’t have time to work out” or “I could never run a (any distance race)“, I often hear “I’m not worth it,” “I won’t make the time,” or “My health is not a priority to me right now.” My goal is always to help people in little ways so that they can help themselves, and often times I’ll point out the inconsistencies in their logic. The classic one is “I don’t have enough energy to exercise!” to which I kindly point out, “Exercise will train your body to store and utilize your energy more efficiently. What do you have to lose?

One of the key things to remember is that the hardest part of training is planning for success. I’m a total control freak and I thrive on incessant planning. I want to plan my meals, I want to plan my career, I want to plan my training, I want to plan my schooling, I want to plan my travels, etc. Planning planning planning. I can do it all day and all night long and I love every minute of it. (That was another reason why I wanted to get into personal training!)

For people who are not natural planners, tackling down a regular schedule can be a bit difficult and out of character. And for that, I say that you either get some help with your training plans (a friend or hired hands otherwise) or you simply make it a priority. When you realize that yes, you are worth the time you’re investing in yourself, and yes, you are worth the success that you will eventually reap, then hopefully you will give yourself permission to be successful.

A newbie runner asked me to help them put together a half marathon training plan. After some quick digging online and referencing a few plans, I made adjustments to something that already existed and personalized it to his level. That was easy!

What is the true cost of planning, anyways? You take an hour or two to jot out the details of your endeavor (a half marathon, or maybe a week’s worth of healthy meals) and then you schedule some “me-time” to get it done. The savings can really add up: maybe you save $50-$60 a week by bringing lunch to the office (like I’m hoping to this week) or you save yourself a training season of “what-if”s and heartache. Not to mention, you also save the countless hours of ambiguity of not knowing what to do and then subsequently feeling panicky about it. When you know what the end goal is, and when you can visualize it, planning for success is really the fun part.

Two hearty salads (that I’ll eat over four days), baba ganoush, hummus, fat free Italian dressing, celery sticks, and baby carrots…enough for a work week. I THINK.

At work, I personally am crunched for time. Lunch is not at a consistent time and usually hinges on a pretty hectic schedule. On the craziest of days at work I end up eating two of my three meals at the office, and usually at my desk to boot. So, especially for people like me who work more than 40 hours a week, it is imperative that you plan — plan your workouts, plan your nutrition. If I can work more than 40 hours a week and squeeze in 20 miles a week and get my lunches together for the week, so can you. You just have to make the time and ask for help.

Some time-saving tips for you to try:

1. Automate what you can. I know I work for Amazon and I would’ve plugged this regardless of whether or not I worked for them, but you can order most of your purchases online. You know, the mundane things like toilet paper, toothpaste, clothes, GU energy gels, protein shakes, bobbie pins, etc. Depending on where you live you can even order groceries. Order it online and save time! Don’t bother standing in line, dealing with driving and parking, and working through the aisles trying to make a decision. Buy it online and save time and money. Believe me on this one.

2. Plan your training an entire season in advance. Take the guess work out of each morning or evening. Stop wondering what distance you’re supposed to be running or class you’re supposed to attend. Make a schedule and stick to it. Better yet, put it into your calendar and sync it with your phone and email so that you get constant reminders of what you should be doing.

3. Register for your race goal up front. Dangle that carrot for as long as you can. Also, by registering far in advance, you’ll get the best price break and not have to scramble to register at the last minute. If it’s a destination race, also book your accommodations and transport up front to save on costs.

4. Use your exercise time to fully decompress. Working out lets you destress and detach from your crazy, hectic life. Give yourself permission to let go for that short amount of time. Your work and other commitments will still be there once you get back. Use the time to appreciate yourself, destress, listen to some new music or audiobooks, or simply think about nothing. It should be meditative and non-negotiable. (Especially don’t check your emails on your run. That’s just dangerous!!)

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