"The future belongs to those who prepare for it today"
We have all found ourselves in situations where we wish we had prepared ahead of time. Stuck in a rainstorm with no umbrella. Making guesses on a final exam. Caught off guard in a job interview. It happens. We cannot be fully prepared for everything going on in our lives at all times, and it's exhausting to even think about it. Unavoidable stuff happens too. Avoidable outcomes can sometimes show us how we could have been more prepared, if we are owning it. We determine whether or not it helps us become more prepared moving forward.
I ran the Chicago Marathon when I was fresh out of college. I wanted lose the burrito and beer weight I gained leading up to graduation. My goal was to finish in under four hours, which is a sub 9:10 mile pace for the 26.2 mile course. I convinced myself that if I did the training, I would be able to accomplish my goal. The training was much more grueling than the marathon itself. Hundreds of miles on the treadmill and Illinois Prairie Path, bloody nipples and all. 😁 There is nobody rooting for you in the gym or on the trail while you are putting in the last mile of a 20 mile training run. It was up to me to put in the preparation and training required.
I ended up getting 3:52.27, which is an 8:52 mile pace. I accomplished my goal because I prepared to run 26.2 miles at under a 9:10 mile pace. I prepared for that. Ten years later I ran my second, and final marathon. It was a different story. I all but abandoned my training and stopped putting in the long training runs. I did not feel like putting in the required effort. I even adjusted my goal to 4.5 hours, even though I initially wanted to break four hours again. I ended up getting a 4:48:23, almost an hour worse than my first marathon, all because I stopped preparing.
I did not get injured or have some life altering event affect my training. I just gave up on my goal. It was another lesson learned for me on the importance of preparation. If we set SMART goals for ourselves, there is no reason we cannot accomplish them with the right amount of preparation and sustained effort. It usually boils down to us asking ourselves how bad we want it. If we want it bad enough, there is no reason we can't go out and live the best life available to us. We simply have to make the right preparations and put in the required effort.