Updated: Oct 14
You have a master plan, you’ve outlined the goal that you are working toward, and all the steps that will take you there. You’ve got a purpose and a drive beyond what you’ve imagined, and everything feels like clockwork moving in the right direction. Then life throws you a curveball. Now what?
Here’s an example: Your goal is to run a marathon on June 15th. You have been training for six months, and you’ve been working on your endurance and your technique. You’ve practiced drinking water at the right times, you’ve got a plan for what you are going to do if you need to go to the bathroom, and you’ve worked out all the other things that come along with running a marathon. You train hard and you train consistently for six months, and two months before the race you break your leg. Now this doesn't necessarily mean that you will never run a marathon again; it simply means that right now your June 15th goal is out of the realm of possibility. What are your next steps?
Go Through the Mental Fall-Out. Then Move-On
At first it can feel like you've lost your way and you'll never get up to bat again. The goal is unreachable and you are crushed. I'm not talking about the little things, the obstacles that we all face when we are rounding the bases; I'm talking about the insurmountable tragedies that cause you to forfeit the championship. In other words, the complications that make the goal unobtainable at the moment.
What would most people do if they broke their leg a couple of months before the big race? We feel all the feels, anger, sadness, disappointment, we wait for the leg to heal, we make a new goal, and then we start training again. But, what if we viewed this recovery time from a different perspective? What if the decisions we make while we are waiting to get back on track are life-changing?
Instead of waiting for the leg to heal, why not set a new goal and keep the positive momentum? This is how you master the curveball.
Sharpen Other Skills
Okay, so you can’t work on the skills that would help you obtain your goal.
In this case, you can’t run the marathon on June 15th, but that doesn’t have to stop you from training for the next race. Talk to your physiotherapist about safely doing some core exercises or strengthening your upper body while you heal.
Polish Your Mental Game
Maybe the physical gains are not what you want to focus on, or maybe your doctor has told you to take it easy. That doesn’t mean you have to give up.
There are so many mental factors that go into being a marathon runner. Building resilience is the key. Check out blogs or other online sources to sharpen your mental toolset. Here is one of my favourite resources: https://www.facebook.com/SolutionsForResilience/
Find a New Game
It is imperative that you give yourself grace and consider what else is on your “Someday I will…” list. Perhaps it’s time to write that book you’ve been thinking of? Maybe you can finally map out a budget to help you get out of debt? What about that podcast you’ve been thinking about starting? What about creating an itinerary for that trip you are planning next year? Now is the time! Having a purposeful goal to work toward will help you get over the humps. Who knows what you might accomplish in the interim?
Maybe this injury has knocked you out for good and your marathon days are over.
Conclusion: Don’t let a curveball make you a permanent benchwarmer in your own life. Look at the situation from another angle, and try something else. That’s how you master the curveball.
© Allissa Blondin 2021