Things Are Going To Go Wrong

Well how about that for a positive start to your Wednesday?!  But seriously, it is totally true and that is okay.


Regardless of what you might be training for or hoping to accomplish, we always start with the best of intentions.  Rarely do we say, “Hey, I want to accomplish this goal but I plan on messing up or getting sidetracked along the way.”  Perhaps it would be better for us to start that way and expect a few failed attempts on the way to success.  But who wants to be Negative Nancy right from the get go?!

You have a race, or a goal in mind.  You have a plan.  You get started and you feel great.  And then life gets in the way.  What the heck!  How dare life do that to you?!

Maybe your job is keeping you at the office a little longer.  Perhaps the kids are starting their fall sports programs.  Or maybe an injury has suddenly left you sidelined.  It doesn’t matter what the obstacle is.  The simple fact is that stress is the first reason that people abandon their plans.

The best thing you can do is plan ahead.  Think about what might derail you from the perfect plan.  Knowing that your kids have soccer for the next few nights, you might be able to figure out some carpooling with a friend.  If work is going to be busy, maybe you can wake up a bit earlier to get that run in right away.  Did you know that people who exercise first thing in the morning tend to stick with it better than those who wait until later in the day?

Yet, sometimes we can’t plan on everything.  The unexpected does happen.  Injuries occur.  Illnesses sneak up and surprise us.  We get distracted.

As a running coach, I also want you to know that it is 100% normal to find a race, get excited, start a plan, and then start to fall off of the wagon along the way.  Such is life.  It is only natural to get excited when you begin any large task, only to grow tired of it as you follow the course.  The goal for any running coach or training plan is to keep things exciting and fun enough to continue on towards the finish.

So what do you do when life gets in the way of your goals?


First, you need to sit back and reassess.  Often times, we get stuck in the way of the “Planning Fallacy.” This is where we have a goal and get so excited that we become a bit over optimistic about the amount of time we have to dedicate this.  Sure you have a full hour to hit the gym after work.  But did you consider how far your commute is or how much time it takes to get to the gym and get ready to hit the treadmill?

Now might be the time to give your schedule a bit more of a realistic look and set forth a better path to success.

It’s not over until it’s over.  Okay, so you missed a week or two of workouts.  Life is not about all or nothing.  Give yourself some time to reflect on what went wrong and then move forward.  Plans can be altered.  There’s no reason to give up.  More often than not, we can learn from our mistakes.

Create a support system.  It is true that there is safety in numbers.  When our family and friends support what we do, everything is much easier.  Sometimes even our closest friends of family members don’t realize just how important our goals are.  Let them know what it is that you are trying to accomplish.  Share with them just how difficult this path is and why you want to keep going.  Perhaps they will help make things a little bit more doable if they know why you are doing all of these crazy things.

Find other like minded people.  The best thing I ever did when we moved to Chicago was join a running group.  I met other people who enjoyed doing what I did.  They showed me around, gave me the best routes, and offered to meet up with me before or after work.  They also knew the best places to get food and drinks. That certainly never hurts spark a great friendship!

'Shouldn't we be more positive and also have a plan in place in case things go right?'

Most importantly, give yourself the grace to mess up.  Dust yourself off and give it another go.  No plan is set in stone.  Things will go wrong.  I see it happen all of the time.  I rewrite training plans almost daily.  That is totally okay and part of the game.  Sticking with it is the battle.  Be patient with yourself.  Realize that obstacles are part of the game.  Find yourself a support system and keep rocking it!

What do you do when you get off track during training?

Happy Running!

9 thoughts on “Things Are Going To Go Wrong

  1. Whoops, I hit send not edit. I was going to write that training is so off for me right now. I’m trying to just do what I can until I get professional advice/treatment for my injury (maybe tomorrow). I’m also focusing on other things I can do besides running: core strength, PT for my back, swim and be with my family.

  2. Great post as always Sarah and nice to see you back in the blog world with all that crazy life stuff you have going on right now! I see mishaps as learning opportunities. They allow us to grow, build our knowledge-base and improve. We learn far more from a bad race or a bad training run than we do from an event that is flawless (does that ever really happen?!!!) It is the challenging things that make us stronger and allow us to eventually nail our goals…whether that is in running or life in general. My 2 pence anyway 🙂

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