One of the major components of marathon training is the long run. Once a week, I run much longer than any other day, gradually increasing the length of my run until I reach a distance of 20 miles. I usually increase my long run by a mile a week. As I pass the 9-10 mile distance I start adding fluids and carbohydrate intake during my run. The weeks where I ran 12, 13 and 14 miles my long runs went horribly. I didn’t have the physical energy, nor the mental motivation to keep going. In last week’s post I contemplated how my runs would be easier if I weighed less. While that is true, there is something else missing from my training that is just as important.
I didn’t have an adequate plan for my runs.
I waited until I felt like my energy store was depleted to take in some carbohydrates. I waited until I felt dehydrated to drink fluids. When running long distances, if you wait until you can feel you need something, it’s already too late.
I searched the internet for how other runners handle long runs, and developed a re-hydration and refueling plan. I tried planning my entire run around stopping at a known location where I have a cooler filled with fluids and carbohydrate packets. Every 3-4 miles I stop, refuel and rehydrate.
The results of my planning were astonishing. Even though I was increasing the distance, and the weather was warmer and more humid, my long runs of 15 and 16 miles went smoothly. They actually seemed easier than the previous long runs.
The difference was my planning, and the execution of that plan.
By not having an adequate plan, I actually made things harder on myself. I did the very same thing with my finances for a very long time.
As sure as dehydration after running for hours, an unplanned situation WILL arise that requires extra funds. If you wait until you need an emergency fund to conclude you need one, it’s obviously too late.
The goal of having a refuel and rehydrate plan when running a marathon is to successfully get to the end of the race. The goal of a successfully executed financial plan is to get to retirement with enough funds and/or streams of income to live off of for the rest of your life.
Day To Day Life:
I work a lot with my pace when training for a marathon. If I start off to fast, I’ll burn out. Such is the same with your day to day spending. You have to have a plan for your pace of spending, or you’ll run out of funds.
There is one HUGE difference between building a plan for running a marathon, and real life. I’ve spent almost a complete year building my strength, my endurance, and my overall fitness level. I’ve tried different strategies with my long runs, tweaking them slightly to find the one that will work best for me. I’ve been doing all this as part of my training leading up to the actual race in October.
There is no training for real life.
You have to just get out there and do it. You can learn new skills and make adjustments along the way, but if you are going to succeed, you’d better have a plan. By having a plan for your day to day spending, unexpected emergencies, and your future retirement goals you will make your life easier, and more enjoyable.
Do you have an example of when lack of financial planning as actually made life harder than it needed to be? Are you putting the necessary planning into these three areas?