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Improvement: Effort Perception (Part 2)

December 16, 2010

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” – Albert Einstein

“What has passed is already finished with. What I find more interesting is what is still to come.” – Emil Zapotek

(“The secret to letting go is recognizing it is hard work hanging on.”)

Letting Go

To move on, you must let go. This is the first step in moving your perception of effort from a barrier to a context.

Consider where you are stopped. What areas of your life seem like hard work? If you go back and see what is happening, you may notice that you have perceptions of those areas that have formed your foundation of thinking in these spots. Remember, from Part 1, that perceptions are based on memory of something. These memories, and resulting perceptions of how things are, may seem to sometimes play out like a broken record.

For myself, I can take a good and hardΒ  honest look at myself and my relationships in my life. Perhaps some of them need improvement! I can look to see what it is that I keep doing that keep these relationships from moving forward. What have been “effort perceptions” of these relationships? This can also extend to other parts of life, like your career and health.

In these areas, and in running, in order for my perceptions to change from one of a difficult effort to one of successful context, I need to “let go”. To address the quote above: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

If I look closely at these areas, and in my running, it is only so far that I can go until I start repeating things. It is here that I will be stopped.

You must be honest with yourself and recognize when you are no longer moving forward. This recognition and honesty begins the process of “letting go”. It may be accompanied with a palpable feeling in your body…probably one of relief! πŸ™‚ You can begin to see the specific areas in which you need to improve. This is the game changer…this is the part where your perception begins to shift!

How to do the shift from barrier to context of success:

____ + ____ = 4

What is this? It is a problem!

How is it solved?

Yes, one of the answers is 2+2=4. But, how did you LEARN that that was the answer?

Most of us learned that there was a series of steps in solving the problem above. First, you must place the number 2 on the first line. Then, step 2 is to place the number 2 on the second line. So, this problem has two STEPS.

In order to shift our perception, we need to work in a series of steps. Think about how you first learned to walk. You realized that crawling just wasn’t good enough! πŸ™‚ You tried and tried., and eventually you had the strength and balance to stand and move forward. Trying out your balance and strength, and subsequently falling down before you got it right, were the steps you took to shifting your perception of walking from one of a hard effort, to one of a context of success, in that you could now walk! Pretty good, and good for you! πŸ˜‰ Essentially, you broke the process down into smaller parts, or chunks.

Applying this to Running:

If you read my last post, hopefully you’ve thought of a workout or race that has proved challenging to you to excel in, and that you want to improve on.

First step…let go! Let go of the preconceived notion that it is too hard, or difficult. In addition to learning to walk, remember back to other areas of your life, including your running, in which you accomplished something that you previously thought was “too difficult” or “no way, can’t do it”. You did it! You might also want to let go of any defeating thoughts, if you have any. Remember, thinking the same thoughts over and over and trying to improve fits into “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

Next step: break it down! Remember the example of walking for the first time. You can apply this to any workout or race. The key is to break things down into very manageable parts.

But, like when you were a baby, you may have to experiment with different chunks until you get it right. Don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t work out the first time! Just don’t repeat your mistakes. For example, it took me a few marathons until I had the race broken down into several distance markers or ‘checkpoints’ that helped break the race up into easy pieces that I could wrap my head around. Workouts are the same.

Applying this concept to my present training for the 2011 Boston Marathon and 2011 Leadville 100:

So, the first step is to be honest and let go. I realize that I am maxed out with my current gait and stride. This was tough to admit to myself, because I thought I had it 110% correct these past few years. Mind you, much of my mechanics are efficient.Β  However,Β  I can only go so far and so fast with the way that my mechanics have been. So, I need to “let go” that I can improve much by using much of the same mechanics over and over, and expecting to get faster.

Step one is to recognize the aspects of my mechanics that can improve. I detailed these in my post about Propulsion Systems.

I plan on following steps in improving my form and thus having a huge impact on my efficiency and speed.

The result will be a shift from me thinking that (in Part 1) I can only run a 2:55 marathon, to a context of the possibility of running faster than I ever have.


In order to improve in running, and in other areas of life, we must first be willing to let go of repeating actions or thoughts that keep us in a stagnant cycle. This is done by the notion that we cannot get a different result out of repeating patterns. Its virtually impossible.

Once this is done, we are open to the steps that need to be taken to improve upon those areas, and ultimately move forward in running, and in life! πŸ™‚

2 Comments leave one →
  1. johnny b good permalink
    December 17, 2010 12:55 pm

    why isn’t there a “like” button?

    • December 17, 2010 1:42 pm

      Great question! I need to add that feature if its offered on this particular blog design. Thanks for the notification, and I hope you liked the post!


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