If you fail to plan, plan to fail.
I can’t remember who first gave me this advice, but it’s held true many times throughout my life. Whether something small like meal planning for the week or something big like a seven-day trip to Disney World, I’ve learned that planning is everything. I’m an adventurous person and I enjoy spontaneity, so I don’t like to plan every single tiny detail, but some level of planning is a must.
When it comes to fitness, planning and training is everything. Several years ago I ran a half marathon without adequately training. A half marathon is 13.1 miles. While I worked out hard in the months leading up to the race, I didn’t train correctly for a half marathon. I never ran more than eight miles before the day of the race. Sheer will power got me through the event. I was determined not to walk and I didn’t. My body, especially my knees and hip flexors, screamed in pain for two weeks afterwards.
I learned my lesson. After that race, I decided I would never enter a major fitness event without adequately training.
This week I registered for my first triathlon. The event takes place in mid-May. I’ve been working on swimming, biking and running since last June, but I haven’t been training per se’. True triathlon training for a sprint race takes approximately 12 weeks, so my “training plan” will technically start on Feb. 19. I’ve been reading and watching and studying triathlon since I attended my first one as a spectator last August.
Last night I created my training plan.
A triathlon isn’t like running a 5K or 10K. Instead of just one sport, a person has to focus on three. And along with training for each leg of the race, I’ve had to learn about necessary equipment and the transition component of triathlon. The thought of going into a triathlon unprepared terrifies me. I have no doubt I will be nervous and have race-day jitters. Those things I can’t help, but I do have control over my physical fitness and how well I train.
As you know from reading this blog, my mom passed away in August of 2016 and my husband and I separated last year. For a while I felt like falling into a depression and drinking a lot of wine, but I realized quickly that doesn’t help anyone, especially myself. A friend recently made a comment about not worrying about the uncontrollables in life.
And I agree. There are certain things and outcomes that are out of my control but there are other things that are almost entirely within my control, such as taking care of my body and challenging myself to train for a major race.
Two years ago, I never would have wanted to participate in a triathlon. A year ago I didn’t even know how to swim correctly. It’s interesting how much life can change in a relatively short time period.
Now I feel determined and invigorated. I won’t be the first person to cross that finish line in May, and I will be exhausted when I complete the last leg of the race. But I won’t feel like a failure because through adequate planning and training, I will be prepared.
So, triathlon…ready or not, here I come!