CHOOSE LESS

Runner's World South Africa - - Spring Shoe Buyer's Guide -

Hav­ing a work­place ‘uni­form’ – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s grey T-shirt and hoodie, for ex­am­ple – is com­mon prac­tice among busy, high­per­form­ing peo­ple. Why? Ac­cord­ing to a the­ory pro­posed by psy­chol­o­gist Dr Roy Baumeister, we have a lim­ited reser­voir of men­tal energy to use on any given day. Ini­tial re­search on this the­ory fo­cused on self-con­trol – how re­sist­ing temp­ta­tions early in the day makes us more likely to give in later – but sci­en­tists soon learned that mak­ing de­ci­sions also wears us out. Ex­per­i­ments found that peo­ple who were asked to choose be­tween con­sumer goods (eg, colour of T-shirt, brand of sham­poo) per­formed worse than those who were pre­sented with only one op­tion on sub­se­quent tests of ev­ery­thing from phys­i­cal stamina to per­sis­tence to prob­lem-solv­ing. The re­searchers con­cluded that even when it comes to sim­ple things, “mak­ing many de­ci­sions leaves a per­son in a de­pleted state”. AP­PLY IT If you can, work with a coach. You won’t burn energy plan­ning or sched­ul­ing your train­ing – you can shut off your brain and just do the work­outs. Even though both of us (Brad and Steve) know a lot about run­ning, when we’re train­ing hard, we work with coaches for this rea­son. The night be­fore your goal marathon, lay out your gear, com­mit to a plan for when you’ll de­part (and where you’ll park), and have a pre- race meal ready. Au­to­mate as much of your train­ing and race day as pos­si­ble to con­serve men­tal energy for run­ning your fastest.

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