If something goes wrong in your training plan, what do you do? Do you panic or do you roll with it?
How about if something goes wrong in a race?
We all make mistakes. We all have bad things happen sometimes. What matters is not whether or not these things happen because they will. What matters is how you handle these moments.
I’ve seen runners panic the moment they make any small mistake or anything goes wrong. The wheels fall off as soon as one bad thing happens and that one thing turns into a downward spiral. I’ve even been one of those runners at times.
Instead of panicking, accept that you’re not perfect. Nobody is perfect. Everybody makes mistakes. What separates the champions who overcome mistakes or bad circumstances from those who experience the downward spiral is how they handle those mistakes or bad circumstances. They don’t panic. They adjust to the new reality and find the best way forward.
Some people think how you handle these situations is an innate trait. I disagree. It’s a learned skill. You can learn to overcome these things. You can learn to roll with the punches and adjust the plan when something goes wrong.
The first step is to recognize that you’re heading down the path. Recognize that you made a mistake and are now feeling the panic. Take a deep breath, calm yourself down, and remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes. Then, instead of thinking about how this is the end of the world, take a few moments to think about where you can go from here. Missed a long run or workout? Can you do it tomorrow or the next day without compromising your next big day? If not, was it really that important? What will happen if you skip it? Probably not much because it’s just a small part of a much bigger training plan.
Once you’ve come up with the best path forward, you have a new plan to follow and you can execute it to the best of your ability, adjusting again as circumstances require.
So, if you’re one who tends to head toward that downward spiral as soon as something bad happens, next time try something different. Accept that you’re human and you are allowed to make mistakes or have bad things happen to you. Then find the best path forward from the point you are at.