When Plan A Doesn’t Work…

Once again, I am linking up with Debbie over at Deb Runs for her Wednesday Word weekly linkup.

Deb Runs

This week’s word is commitment. It’s actually one I suggested 🙂 Be sure to click on the button above to see who else is linking up this week and to join in!

When you make a commitment to something, you make a promise to yourself to fulfill an obligation. Without sounding full of myself, it’s something I’ve always been pretty good at. It kind of goes hand in hand with my Type A personality. Once the decision is made, I stick to it. I like to finish something after I start it.


Running, and especially training for a race, provides a great lesson in commitment. You learn to stick to a 5 mile run when the going gets tough during mile 2, and to stick to an 18 week training plan to get to that goal race. My willingness to stay committed to something was tested most last fall when I used the Hansons Marathon Method while training for the Marine Corps Marathon. It was 18 grueling weeks of training, running 6 days per week. I hit weekly mileage totals I hadn’t ever done before and conquered weekly training workouts I wasn’t sure I had the strength to complete (10 miles on a Tuesday!?). I came out on the other side of training with a deeper understanding of what I can do when I set my mind to something.

Track workout while on vacation at the beach last year.

While following the Hanson Method, I also learned that being committed doesn’t necessarily mean following your original plan no matter what. While it would have been nice to follow the training plan exactly as written, things happen. That’s life. The trick is figuring out how to stay committed to your overall goal, even if it means changing the original plan.


While training for Marine Corps, I faced a dilemma when I wanted to travel 6 hours across the state to attend a friend’s baby shower and watch the Virginia Tech football game on the same weekend I needed to run 16 miles. But I made it work. After being up until 2 AM the night before (watching the game- we won. GO HOKIES!) I got up at 5 AM to make the 6 hour drive home. Halfway through the drive home, I stopped in a town where there was a trail I could run on. I got out and ran my 16 miles, then got back in the car and drove the rest of the way home.

High Bridge Trail State Park

Days like that remind me that it takes hard work to stay dedicated to something, but if you want it bad enough you’ll figure out how to make it work.

What does commitment mean to you? Is commitment a strong suit for you?

22 thoughts on “When Plan A Doesn’t Work…”

  1. I am pretty determined when it comes to accomplishing what I want to do, but running isn’t exactly on that list. LOL I’m just not serious enough about training! I have been in the past, but now I’m all into fun/social running. I love reading stories of other runners’ commitment though! So inspiring!

    1. I used to be more serious and competitive, but lately I feel like I’ve been more on the side of social running and running just for the experience. What goes around comes around and I’m sure that will change again sometime in the future.

  2. It might take me a while to decide to do something, but after the decision is made…I’m ALL in. I can be counted on and would never back out of anything. I’m probably not as regimented with training as I once was. I’ve learned to listen to my body and make adjustments if necessary. Good word you came up with!!

    1. Same here! Usually the decision is the hard part for me, but once it’s made that’s it. Listening to your body is definitely more important than sticking to a training plan no matter what!

  3. Wow – a 16 mile run in the middle of your drive home? That is commitment! I am like you, a type A person. I don’t like deviating from the plan, and once I make a decision that is it. This training cycle is teaching me to be much more flexible!

    1. Sometimes it can be hard to balance a type A personality with flexibility, but it is important if you want to arrive at the start line healthy and ready to go!

  4. Wow. I’m in awe.

    I’ve had a few days like that, but never quite like that (especially never having run a marathon).

    I can remember running 10 miles in the morning before my husband driving us about 3 hrs to NJ for a wedding (that didn’t start til like 9 pm & we didn’t eat until midnight!).

    And there was the time we got snow, I shoveled our very large driveway then went out & ran 10 miles (what is it about 10 miles for me?), some of it still in the snow. I shoveled the driveway first because I knew I’d never do it after my run!

    See, this is why I say we have to be committed (in more ways than one).

    1. That would be one long day! Especially with not eating until midnight! I would totally shovel before running, too. Things like that are definitely not going to work in reverse order.

  5. Well said, agree 100%. I often have to remind myself that I’m committed to the long term goal and it’s ok to be flexible with how I get there. I’ve been pretty good so far.

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