Allow your plan to change

Among other books, I'm reading The Great Shark Hunt by Hunter S. Thompson. It's a collection of essays, some published, some unpublished, all Thompson. One of the essays is the jacket copy from his classic book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

I've read Fear and Loathing, but I read it in paperback, which means I didn't get the jacket copy when I read the book.

It's a good reminder that the book started out as an assignment for Sports Illustrated, which wanted Thompson to write a 250-word caption for a motorcycle race in Las Vegas.

That's right. It's a sports book.

It's also a true crime book. The lawyer on the trip was an L.A. lawyer Thompson was using as a primary source on an investigative news piece about a shooting by sheriffs in the Hispanic community, and because Thompson wasn't a member of that community, it was clear to the reporter the only person who wanted him interviewing the lawyer was the lawyer.

Thompson took him to the motorcycle race so that they could get out of the community and could talk.

There were plans for the trip highlighted in the book, and while maybe the objectives laid out – the investigative news piece and the race caption – were achieved, at some point for Thompson the plan changed and the book that became the legacy of that trip was something else altogether.

Just because it wasn't the plan, doesn't mean it didn't get accomplished. In fact, something bigger came out of it.

The lesson here is that you need to allow your objectives to evolve.

I saw this with some running this week. I was going to see how many days in a row I could run for 30 minutes, but it only took two days to realize that wasn't a sustainable plan. Day 1 I ran for 30 minutes and some change then couldn't get much of a resistance workout in because I was just done. Day 2 I did a great resistance workout and puttered at 17 minutes of running.

Rather than let it get to me, I've changed my goal to 120 minutes of running a week for three straight weeks. I don't care how far I go, or how fast, the cardio, joint and muscular endurance are important to me.

Day 3 I knew two things: I was returning to the tennis court for the first time in 15 months, and I was dropping my car off at the shop. So what I did was drop my car at the shop and run 15 minutes to work, then after work I ran 15 minutes back to the shop. That gave me plenty of rest and recovery time for tennis, and got me 30 more minutes for the week.

That left me 43 minutes of running to do in 4 days; an easy enough average that I could take a rest day (or 2!) and still hit my goal.

I adjusted my goal downward, yes, but certainly didn't make it easy on myself.

Start off with a plan, but don't quit when it looks like that plan isn't going to work out. Be willing to evolve with the circumstances, otherwise you're just going to keep running into a wall.

The weekend's coming. Don't forget to do something important and to make the time to create something.

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