Mastery through a million iterations

A principal difference between hobby runners and elite runners is running form. As you train more, your form gets better.

One interesting fact about running form is that it cannot be coached. When a coach instructs a runner to step faster and stop bobbing her head, this leads to sub-par performance. Good form has to evolve naturally – it cannot be prescribed.

The fascinating part is how this form evolves over time. When you run a 10K, much like a fingerprint each step you take along the way is unique. While you may not perceive this, the manner in which your foot meets the ground and its muscular activation is different for each step. On ensuring that no two steps are alike, the brain unconsciously monitors which step ‘feels good’. In other words, it keeps track of how some patterns of muscle activation are more efficient than others. Over millions of steps, the brain continuously makes alterations to make our running form more efficient.

The broader principle here is about how our biological systems are wired to learn from iterations. Therefore, it is most efficient to configure our habits, our products and our organizations to improve in small iterations.

Inspiration: 80/20 Running

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