One of my overall goals for this year — for my life, not just for fitness and training — was to stress less. To trust myself (and my lists) more; to make a plan once and not need to double, triple, quintuple check it; to be more open to revision and alteration and spontaneity; to become more comfortable with the reality of life that is change.

Good thing the universe has decided to full support me in this goal by throwing several curveballs right at me and wasting no time in demanding I be flexible and receptive to change.
When we last met for Training for Tuesday, I laid out my race plan for 2015. To briefly recap:
  • March half marathon
  • March 10k
  • May half marathon
  • November marathon (!)
  • December 5/10-miler 
  • A bunch of 5k and 10k races in between
I also talked about my first race goal for the year: to run the March half marathon in two hours or less.

Over the last few weeks, I've had to revise my plans:

+ As a result of some running shoe woes and a too-intense-too-fast training plan (and two months of serious slacker behavior beforehand) I've had to deal with a stress reaction in my shins, which is basically somewhere between shin splints and a tibial stress fracture. I've done my research on stress fractures. There's basically one solution: rest. With the race schedule I had in mind for this spring, rest of that required length (several weeks) wasn't really an option. I scaled back for a couple of weeks as I straddled the "stress reaction" zone, terrified of pushing myself into the fracture zone.

Naturally, this affected my training. I didn't get as many speed workouts in as I planned. I didn't get all the long runs in that I had planned. I won't train up to 12 miles before the race; I'll train up to 10 as I did with my last/only half marathon. I will not feel as prepared going into RnR, and I don't know if I'll be able to run it in 2:00:00 or less.

+ The 10k that I planned to run in March, the same race that I ran last year — the 5k course then, though — to cross my first ever, ever finish line, the race I had planned to make an annual tradition... was cancelled.

Naturally, I started by freaking the eff out. Naturally. But after I took a few hundred deep breaths, I came to a new conclusion.

It's okay.

Life happens. Races get cancelled. Expenses come up, pushing race registrations to the back burner. Injuries arise from trying to do too much, too fast, too soon. Priorities shift. Life happens.

The thing is, no one forced me to plan on running 5-10 races this year. No one forced me to to set a sub-2 half marathon race goal. No one insisted that my doing these things was the best, smartest, right thing to do. I decided these were the things I wanted to do this year. To be completely honest, my initial reasons for setting these goals were dubious at best. (Would it really make me so much happier to run a half marathon in 2:00:00 than it would to just be able to run it at all? Would it really improve my life to spend more on race registrations than I do on groceries this year?)

So why should I, the person who of sound and clear mind made these goals to begin with, not be comfortable revising these goals, as long as I am of sound and clear mind when I do so? Why should I hesitate to look at the current status of my body, budget, and schedule and ensure my goals are still serving me in a productive way, rather than providing more restrictions for my life?

I've spent so much time panicking about deviating from The Plan. And it doesn't matter what Plan is in question. But why? Why can I not be satisfied to run two half marathons, a full marathon, and a 5/10-miler this year? Why can I not be satisfied to shave 5-10 minutes off my first half marathon finish time as I go for my second 13.1 finish line? The only reason I feel like I can't is that I'm afraid to let myself be. I'm afraid of what it looks like — to whom? — if I abandon my goals, and afraid to admit that revising for unexpected circumstance is not the same as giving up.

So I have a new plan for 2015: Run the best I can, when I can, when I can afford to. Enjoy each mile. Remember that I'm running because I get to. Run the races I really, really want to run. Forgive myself for being a human who can't run in -10* wind chills or with injured legs or on black ice after sunset or over two-foot snow banks. Run because it's fun.

Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon Race Goal: 2:10:00

So that's where I'm at right now. Where have your training plans and goals taken you? Don't forget to grab the button and link up with Tracy and me today and the last Tuesday of every month!


  1. Perhaps next month I will link up with you guys now that I am on a training journey too :) You and Tracy are always so inspiring!

  2. well this post is just fabulous and amazing and i'm gonna be real selfish and thank you for writing it because it spoke to me ;) seriously, you are so right though - why did i make these goals in the first place? is it really going to change my life? changing expectations does not mean giving up, and i (we) are both lucky to be able to run and enjoy it. love this post girlfran, and i am so positive you will meet (and surpass) your goal! so sorry that race got cancelled :(

  3. I love your plan - and you're so right life happens! But you are doing the best you can do and that's all you can ask of yourself!! xo, Biana - BlovedBoston

  4. Great post! I'm struggling with the same thing. I made a training plan to get up to a half marathon for this summer (a first for me), and lately, as I've been ramping up the running, my ankle (which I had broken last summer) has been giving me trouble. And I want so badly to run, because I've been enjoying it for the first time in my life, but I'm terrified of injuring myself and losing all this progress.

    So basically, yes to everything you said! It's not only ok, it's smart to adjust your goals to what works best for you and definitely to listen to your body.

  5. I used to be stupid-crazy about tracking my miles for four years and thousands of miles and putting too much pressure on it when maybe I should have re-assessed my goals like you did. The best thing that happened was letting go of that control and putting it toward other pieces of my world that needed a little more attention. Running is supposed to be freedom! Have fun with it!

  6. Ooo I'll have to link up in the future! Get down with your bad self! Your race schedule is intense! Love it!

  7. My first race isn't until May and it is a 5K. I love that you noticed you needed to revise your goals and I don't think there is anything wrong with that! I love the honesty and that you are going to listen to your body and do what you feel is best for you! Great plan still!

  8. life happens! i just go with it because i know that when shit happens, it's not of my own doing but something beyond my control and it doesn't mean that i'll never do it again; just not right now.

    that's what happened with my tough mudder race....i signed up to do it in whistler and then when i started calculating the cost of going there just do to the race, i couldn't justify spending close to $3k for 3 days. RIDICULOUS. so i pulled out and transferred my ticket to another toronto location. i was bummed because hello, tough mudder UP THE FREAKING MOUNTAIN!? but alas, i can't be spending $1K/day just for a headband, tshirt and bragging rights LOL

  9. This happens, and I'm proud of you for realizing that and not freaking out about it (no small feat, I know!). I went through the same thing when I was training for Richmond last year. I had never been in a position where I really had too much too handle and couldn't juggle it all and train for a marathon at the same time. I just didn't have the time, energy, or heart to do it. I got so frustrated but I finally had to ask myself all the same things you did: Why do I care? How is reaching this goal going to improve my life? Who is forcing me to do this? Who will care if I don't? It was a big wake up call. Honestly, sub-2 was kind of the same way for me. I dreamed about it for SO LONG, but by the time I actually did it it really wasn't even that important to me anymore. I was happy and proud to do it, but it didn't mean as much as I would have thought. My life didn't suddenly improve, no one threw confetti or handed me my Real Runner card. I mean, I still think it's a big accomplishment and something worth shooting for if and when it's what you really want and are prepared to do, but if that doesn't happen, who really cares? For the record, I'm just as giddy about you getting to 2:10, just because that was HUGE for me and an important step on the road to sub-2. At least we know we'll have the fun part covered at RnR!

  10. Oh, I hate when that happens, you have everything planned out then it ALL changes. I hope your shins start feeling better soon! I'm glad you changed your goal time to 2:10. I'm sure that took a lot of pressure off of you. And I wouldn't be surprised if you still get a sub 2. I love your new plan. :)

  11. Life happens. Its annoying when our plans go haywire but I do love your perspective on it. You are so balanced in your thinking it amazes me and frankly its just so refreshing! Yay for your new goal. I quite like it!

  12. As you probably noticed I did not have a post this month because it was a major fail (I blame winter, but really just myself), but I feel like this was JUST what I needed to read to remember that just because goals or plans change it doesn't mean they have to disappear. I'm so sorry you're dealing with the shin injury- that sounds every kind of painful. I think your new goal for the rest of the year is perfect- you can stay motivated and accountable without putting too much pressure on yourself, which I think sometimes can be such a hard balance.


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