Success Starts With a Plan

That headline is fairly basic. The need to plan has been driven into us since childhood by our parents, our teachers and other role models. Planning is needed in virtually every life activity we take on. Planning requires attention to detail. Being prepared.

When we start a new job or assignment we have to figure out the best route to work and the best place to park. We have to have gas in our car and clean clothes (am I getting too personal?) as well as our work tools like a computer, briefcase, etc. If we forget any of these things, the result is embarrassing at best and disastrous at worst.

I like to run in distance races my favorite being the half marathon. (I am getting too old and too slow for full marathons anymore.) These too require planning. You need to know how to get there and where to park, as well as what gear to wear based on weather conditions, etc. Pre-planning requires the right training plan. Is the course flat or hilly? Where will the water stops be located? What should I eat the night before (pasta!) and the morning of (something small)?

If you park too far away, you wind up walking an extra mile on top of running (or crawling) 13.1 during the race. If you don’t get there early enough the lines at the port-a-pots (you didn’t expect that visual in a article) can be too long. It is not good (trust me on this) to run a race when you should have made a pit stop. It is similarly not good to forget things at home like gels or a hat or sunscreen or perhaps your shoes. I have done many of these things (except forgetting my shoes – so far).

Some stories:

  • While running a race in Dublin, Ireland (I know tough duty) they gave out carbonated water at the rest stops. If you don’t know that’s coming, it’s a shock!
  • I had contact problems at the Indy Mini in May and had to run with one eye in and one eye out! It was a unique experience caused by a lack of backup plan.
  • At the Air Force Half Marathon in September, the pace team took a wrong turn and led thousands of people off course! Some ran an extra 1.5 miles on top of their 13.1 race. Knowing the route is a good planning tip!

Having a race plan such as conserving your energy for the hills to come is a really good idea too. It’s easy to take the need to plan for granted, or be over confident in our ability to plan.  Experience is the ability to recognize a mistake when we make it again. We should all plan to avoid the mistakes we know and strive for new ones. New mistakes are inevitable since we’re all human and much more interesting!

In the famous words of George Peppard from the A-Team series “I love it when a plan comes together!”

– George Huntley


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