Critical thinking and good beats great

January 6th 2020

By Matt Hill
Categories: Athlete Resources

Critical thinking and good beats great

This week, rather than podcasts or videos, we have links to articles – hopefully you find time to read them.

The first article

This article covers the art of critical thinking, (by Kirkland Coaching) something we all do every day at home and work but sometimes have blinkers on when it comes to our hobby / aspirational areas of life – especially at this time of year when the sales start!

Remember there is always a commercial aspect to all the new products that appear in the sporting world. Whilst the item might be sold as something to make us healthier, faster, etc the product is often over-sold as the underlying need is for the developer to make money. Whilst this may seem obvious, it does mean that you must be careful when you read the information and claims made about the product.

It is very difficult nowadays to know what is true and what is fiction, what is scientific and what is opinion, what science is applicable to YOU and what is not. This is where critical thinking and common sense play their parts. Apart from a VERY few items (like the now banned Speedo skinsuits or the Nike Vaporfly 4% shoes), performance gains are often minimal or even non-existent. Claims and promises are false or specific to such controlled and specific conditions (wind tunnels) that are not attainable in the real world.

So, very simply, review this article, know that you can rarely buy free speed but even if you can, you would be so much better off training consistently and building your fitness and strength.

It should be noted however, that the placebo effect will probably be beneficial, but it often comes at a cost!

The second article

This article is particularly relevant at this time of year, when we are reviewing last year and looking forward to 2020. The article, Consistently Good Enough Beats Occasionally Great(by Brad Stulberg) addresses the over-zealous tendencies we put on ourselves or are encouraged to put on ourselves. Being great is hard work and can often lead to unhappiness, injury and illness (basically just like over training in sport).

The article refers to Eliud Kipchoge with his approach to training and racing. He is well known for being relaxed and taking things easy, with large portions of his training being super easy (rarely exceeding 80% max effort) and by feel – never giving in to the demons in his head or pressure from sponsors to train harder, fast and longer.

Have the same courage and patience as Eliud this season (and onwards), train easy, ignore your ego and pressure from others to do more.