It’s OK to Spend Time Working Out Exactly What You Want from Your Athletic Life

by | Jan 26, 2024 | Mindset, Racing

Sometimes, I’m at a loss for what to write about endurance sport that we haven’t written before. But fortunately, there’s always something new to look at, and often, it comes up in unexpected ways! We’re working on a website revamp for this site right now, which has prompted today’s post. Long story short, we’re hoping to refresh the site and make the whole experience better for you. This means actually getting expert help. Naturally, we’ve sped into the process like a runaway train. However, now that we’re midway to greenlighting the project, I had a moment of pause. Not because we’re not going to do it, but because I realized we needed to spend some time getting extremely clear on what we want, in order to pass that information along to the people who are (hopefully) going to bring our website vision to life.

It occurred to me that this is extremely similar to when an athlete signs up for coaching or gets a plan without having their goals fully figured out, or fully thought through. This has been me, many times. In fact, it’s probably the main reason that I used to consider myself ‘uncoach-able.’ Not because I couldn’t follow a training plan—I can, as it turns out!—but because the goals that I was asking a coach to help me reach just weren’t the actual things that I wanted.

I remember one poor coach back in my brief Xterra days. Now, there may be some blame on both sides, but a big problem was the fact that with where I was located and what I was doing, swimming and mountain biking on a regular basis were actually super difficult from a logistical perspective. At the time, I was also working on my second book while working my normal job(s) and also had just started traveling with Peter and for the first time, was sharing a car and a house with him. There was a lot going on, so it’s no wonder that most of my days were rides and runs done straight from the house we were staying, rather than taking our only car and peacing out to swim or ride on the trails. I hadn’t thought through my goal or what I actually wanted from my training or my racing. I was just pushing ahead with a half-baked plan, and not doing very well with it at all.

Flash forward to today with my athletic goal: I’m focused on the Leadville 100 this year, and like any year, there’s a ton of other stuff going on in the background, sure, but for the most part, I’m fully prepared to be able to do the work required to get to that finish line (and am already doing that work now). And yes, I did have to pause for a while to make that plan and those decisions, despite the fact that Leadville has been a big goal of mine for a long time. I had to think through if it was realistic to train for something that long, with that much elevation, at that altitude. The answer was that it won’t be easy, but I do know that it’s possible—and I understand what it’s going to take.

We talk a lot about being willing to do the work required to meet the goal you have set, and I think a lot of misery can be avoided by just taking a bit of time in these early planning stages to really dig into exactly what you want. I’m an action-oriented person to a fault—despite my deep love of goal-setting and planning, I definitely have more of a tendency towards acting first, thinking later. I’m definitely the person who decides to do an Ironman and signs up with a coach before really thinking through how that training is going to fit in with my life right now, or what kind of coach I prefer to work with.

So this time, I’m proud to say that I did hit pause on the project long enough to spend some time on the stuff that I know a lot of people love doing, but I struggle because there’s actual tangible work I could be getting done instead. I made a moodboard, pulled our logos and color preferences, found some ideas I wanted to emulate and wrote out my wishlist, rather than just saying, “let’s get started” with only a vague sense of the goal and purpose.

If you’re like me and very action-prone, consider this your permission to pause and actually spend time on the planning and outlining—you may find it saves a lot of headaches in the end!


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