But, the plan.

Are you a planner? Or a stick-to-the-plan-er? Or perhaps, a what’s-the-plan-er?

Sometimes I think I’m the worst type-A “type A” person there could be. I’m bad at planning, I dislike commitment, I crave spontaneity, adventure, and newness. Yet, I need to manage. I manage my time, I manage my workouts, I want to push the limits, and I need to do things “all out”. When I get something set in my mind, it’s set. Point and case – marathon training. I would never look at the workouts in my training program as optional, my coach spent a lot of time to orchestrate many moving pieces of strength, speed, endurance, and recovery week by week to lead me to the start line. If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it all out, and I’m going to do it exactly as listed. Until, of course, life throws me curve balls.

Curve balls. Those little unexpected occurrences. A late night, an illness, an out of town event, the list goes on. Those I can manage, those I believe I can overcome. But an injury, pain.. you can’t wish that away. You can’t out-run that. At what point do you deviate from your plan? When is enough, well enough?

Very recently I’ve been experiencing pain during my runs, but I still run. Why? Because of the plan. Why? Because my marathon is two weeks away. But why? The risk doesn’t outweigh the benefit, especially not at this point. So why? Because the plan.

Have you ever gotten so entrenched in a plan that you just. can’t. deviate? Be it a fitness plan of any sort, an educational plan, a relationship plan. No matter the plan – all you have your sight on is the end goal and the taking exactly the right steps to get there. Yet this is exactly where things go haywire. This is where sight is actually lost.

My coach asked me – how would you feel about not running this weekend. My response, “I don’t want to go off the plan.” How silly is that!? Risk further injury, risk not making it to the start line the Chicago Marathon in two weeks, risk not being able to run at all… all to stick to the plan?! Her response – “the plan is a living document, it’s not set in stone.” How FREEING! She reminded me the importance of a DYNAMIC mindset, one that responds accordingly, one that can see the possibility in any obstacle. This leaves no place for rigid thinking.

Life is not an agenda, not a timeline, not something to micromanage or plan. It’s not to be conquered, not to be overcome. It’s to be thoughtfully navigated. Listen to what is speaking to you, see what is ahead (road blocks? speed bumps? open road?)

Check in with your mindset. Is it ‘fixed’ – so rigid you can’t see the opportunity in curveballs, or you can’t see potential in your weakness? Or do you envision the opportunity in each and every occurrence, challenge, obstacle, and day in general? Fluidity is freeing. Dynamic thinking is healing. Life will throw you curveballs in every area, but how will you respond? Do you trust the bigger picture? Do you have faith in the process?

Challenge your thoughts – is this deviating from the plan? Or is providing a new route? Is this so terrible? Or am I looking for something to blame/criticize/scrutinize? Write out a new action plan – what positive steps can you take in order to keep moving forward? Make a list of wins – keep looking for the good. And no matter what, just stay positive. Plans will change, you can too. 

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