Friday thoughts #10: Positive Disruption


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Running around a 400m track for 24 hours? That’s Positive Disruption.

My Pyllon Racing buddy John Connolly was chatting to me (in electronic form via the popular and still encrypted communication tool known as Whatsapp) about changes in his training schedule. He called it Positive Disruption.

It got us into an exchange about what it meant. And how it applies in running. The thought had been sparked by a change to his weekly routine that was thrust upon him by Coach Paul. Intervals on a Monday. That’s like Chapel on a Saturday night. Just doesn’t feel right. It’s like Johnny Cash singing a Nine Inch Nails song. How can something so wrong end up so right?

Back to John, the change was mentally refreshing, pushing him to think differently about the week. Mixing it up and making him look at other things with a new perspective. I mean, how are you meant to do intervals without the usual gaps between key sessions? Turns out you can.

Then, when you think about it, just as necessity is the mother of invention, change is as good as a rest. And I promise no more pointless clichés to pad this week’s note out. The phrase Positive Disruption is widely used in business circles to describe events which force people to adapt to uncertainty, or removal of their anchor points, and yet come out enhanced, stronger. A bit like gamma rays for David Banner.

Clearly people react differently to change. Some roll with it and others, those creatures of habit, struggle with it. Yet, we know that in order to evolve you have to embrace change.

Humans are by their nature resistant to change. It’s in years of evolutionary hardwiring. It’s a survival mechanism. Take a moment to think about it. And do it internally and be really honest about what you think. Maybe make the thought about the change that you’d be most scared of. Of course, change is risk and we all have different risk appetites.

Yet, another fantastic human trait that we discussed recently is resilience. Which is ultimately what we lean on to be able to adapt to change.

How do this relate to running? How am I supposed to know, I just write this stuff. It’s not meant to make sense.

Actually, the running element is about scorching our routines. These bring comfort and comfort results in a lack of stretch, which in turn stifles improvement. Saturday is long run day, Tuesday is intervals, Thursday is club night with the gals, Friday is the social run and Monday is rest day. We do the same intervals every week, 8x 180s, or 16x400m and so on.

If this are the kind of statements you recognise then maybe think whether you are creating enough Positive Disruption to be both threat and challenge to your running? The thing is, it doesn’t just apply to running, it applies to all facets of your athlete life. Or indeed, life in general. Adding a little spice (phwoar) to your love life could be argued to be Positive Disruption. Or grounds for divorce…

If you never experiment then you never take leaps. Are you the kind of person who is almost sick to the pit of your stomach when your shoe manufacturer discontinues a model? Positive Disruption may well mess with your mind. Are you the kind of person who runs the same route most days? Ditto.

The underlying conclusion we came to was the change is a good thing. It brings freshness. When you are feeling demotivated perhaps a bit of Positive Disruption is just what you need. John, and I, are lucky in that we have someone who foists it on us from a training point of view but we will habitually add it into route choices, session approach and equipment. So can you.

What you waiting for? Be the change!

Whenever I think #10 I think Maradona. Not Pele, not Messi, not Lee McCulloch. If you enjoyed this week’s ditty then please share. If you didn’t, I blame that John guy. He made me do it. If you wanna read more, last week I talked about pain. Go on, share what positive disruption you are going to do.  

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