What strategy do you use for training: Simplify or Optimize? (Runner's Tribe)
My latest article at Runner's Tribe covers the topic of Simplifying vs Optimizing. Here's the intro:
When it comes to training, are you a simplifier or an optimizer? Simplifiers look for the easiest way to get a task done, and accept that there are some costs or lost opportunities that come with their approach. Optimizers continually tweak, adjust and update their plans in order to get the best possible outcome.
I first heard this distinction made by Scott Adams, author of the non-running book that has most affected the way I think about training: How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big (Adams’s book is, by the way, one of my 5 non-running books all runners should read).
In the book, Adams broadly classifies people as either Simplifiers or Optimizers. While this framework has some use, it ignores the reality that not all situations call for the same approach. Simplifying and Optimizing are two strategies for solving different types of problems. Or in complex situations, for dealing with different stages.
Successful people know how to do both, and in the right order.
I then explain the five situations where we want to simplify:
- When your situation is unstable or unpredictable
- When key variables are out of your control
- When communicating or setting guidelines
- When forming a new habit or routine
- When you are fundamentally resistant to the activity
And I finish with what might seem to be an unexpected conclusion. Read the full article at Runner's Tribe.