If you are not getting better you are getting worse || PMA for Runners

And you know runners’ like this… enthusiastic Emma, like “uuuh I read this wonderful post this morning which just inspired me to do a 10K rather than just 5K’s…. Or my personal favorite one.. (not)…

“Always be positive”, oh yes “I am Paul Positive” and you are thinking, I had a horrible run, and am behind my running targets….: I hate you.

PMA for Runners

Why, you hate them…. because you know that’s not the case, “they” whoever “they” are- are not always happy. Plus their apparent positivity …. it makes you feel like they have no understanding of what problems really are even if it stares them into their faces.

Now then, if Paul and Emma’s approach are not the way to go, what then? How do you get behind thought patterns, and realize which one is good for you and how to I don’t know delete, or reprogram the negative ones?

Well first off, by listening to this how of course… (sorry I had to sneak that in, but it is true) this is the first step of many to become a better and eventually smarter runner. Here it is…

The process of continuous improvement: rather than tell you about Muda Muri Mura, let me give you the English translation and the background… I am talking about KAIZEN nope not a super gel or sports drink that I am promoting, rather is is a process concerned with Waste Overburden and Unevenness….

In the context of manufacturing… the Lean methodology, continuous improvement seeks to improve every process in your company by focusing on enhancing the activities that generate the most value for your customer while removing as many waste activities as possible. Plus it involves all members of the company. You might have heard of it where even the President of a giant Japanese auto manufacturer joins in sweeping the production floor.

What has this got to do with running… I am getting there, setting the context…

Now the point is that the concept to implement to eliminate waste or unevenness was a simple system referred to as PDCA, Plan do Check action.. gheez than you Uncle Ken, teaching me this 35 years ago. Brilliant stuff, Uncle Ken who taught me and my best friend all about this and it stuck because it is so powerful. Shout out to you Ken Bain, you planted a great seed, many years ago that has since then also helped runners’, who would’ve believed that. Ha!

OK, now let us apply this for running. Your running.

As a runner you make a plan… ok, correction as a runner of this podcast you make plans regularly. Have visions, no not the type which make others call you crazy, a vision is simple means a picture a image of how and what something could be.

Then during or in the planning phase, you need to establish objectives (most probably your desired distance or time) and processes (that would be your smaller milestones) necessary to deliver results in accordance with the expected output (that’s your target or goals).

Means rather than saying I want to run a sub 1:30 half marathon in autumn, you are actually using engineering talk, you are setting output expectations or a goal, that is a key to achieving continuous improvement because the accuracy of the goals and their completeness is a major part of the process of improving.

That’s why you are a “I just run to be happy kind of runner” , this will not be your episode today. If words like planning, goals and processes cause you to get irritated, fine. I understand, maybe if I had experiences like your I would also agree.

BUT… before you end up being a Zombie runner, and leave this podcast … remember one thing, sooner than you think you will be older. Old and not able to run, perhaps even walking is difficult.

That is the time where you will think back and can only wonder, what would have happened IF you would have trained and worked more specific at your running. Listen you went running regularly, you put in the TIME, the EFFORT, bought the shoes, wore the cap, drank the sports drink… but did you improve? Did you really give it your best?

Did you ever find out what you are really capable of? Or was your life so fulfilled, your spouse, your boss, hey your kids and colleagues…. they constantly told you and made you feel like you are great? You are or looking back constantly getting better?

No, I don’t think so.

That’s why so many of us walk around with a miserable attitude. A look on the face, and a body language that just shouts I am trying to be unapproachable, and my favorite I know it all. LOL.

You know such people, heck some of you are that people.. oh boy… watch those listener ratings drop … Go watch cat videos then. LOL, see how that will make you feel in the long run, or stay tuned and this could be the start of a brain changer for you.

Let me invite you to ease yourself into this topic. Here, this is how you apply it to running.

It is recommended to start on a small scale so you can test the effects of the approach.

So we said we make a plan… that was first, ok? Objectives are set. You want that half marathon sub 1:30 time.

The second phase is “Do”. It is straightforward as you need to execute what you’ve laid down during the planning step of the process. What this means is you need to not only get changed into your running gear, you need to head out of the door, and put in a effort, in whatever it is that your training plan says you should be doing. Means, be sure not to MUDA… waste. Don’t waste time, MURA unevenness also irregularity… maintain your standard. Don’t get sloppy just because the weather has changed, or the hill seemed to get steeper.

To be more clear, no lame arse half hearted relaxing jog. Hey even if it is a long slow run, the mindset, the keeping or staying on pace, as accurate as possible. Whatever your main goal was for that specific run.

After you’ve completed your objectives, Plan, DO … CHECK you need to check what you’ve achieved and compare it to what you’ve expected. Come on you runners’ looooove this. Get them up on Instagram, LOL, the sweaty fac shot on Facebook, the raised arm posed on twitter. No that’s exactly what I don’t mean.

All it means is…. Collect your data.

Gather as much data as possible and then evaluate it. Think about it. Recall the run and mentally go through the stages where you realize NOW upon checking, that you where slower or maybe faster than you imagined. Consider what can you improve in your process so that you can achieve greater results next time. With reater results, I mean the time invested, not the overall goal. Like the shop floor being swept by a senior manager… the floor doesn’t care, but the manager will be more involved, will be able to rethink any future decisions and the impact thereof.

There spot on .. you are implementing a KAIZEN approach already.

If the analysis shows that you’ve improved compared to your previous project, the standard is updated and you need to aim for an even better performance next time. This is straight out of the KAIZEN handbook. Simple clear precise wording. None of this… wording that gives you a good feeling but doesn’t allow you to be held accountable.

Accountability… means sometimes you won’t be where you want to be. Or your performance isn’t where you want it to be…

In case, you’ve failed to improve or have even achieved worse results compared to the past, watch out. Number one, don’t quit. Don’t fill yourself with negative door closing type arguments. Door closers? Yes, as in “I will never become faster”… tell me honestly what good will that statement do you? Remember at the beginning of the show what did we say… we want options… YES BUT WHAT SHOULD I DO…. you need to get into the process and analyze. Exactly where what happened….. if you realize that there is a certain distance that causes you problems, perhaps you need to focuses on shorter distances. Or if running on roads or tarmac doesn’t yield improvements, try developing a joy in trail running.

Now look, this seems a tough one. But actually, you are wrong. The IT being that it seems to be a tough one. Changing where and what distance you run…. Because we are creatures of habit, are we not. We love doing the same things… hey I guess some of you even watch movies you have seen before… LOL, where you expecting a different ending?

What I am saying is… it is not difficult to find improvements, even if you are closer to 40 or 50 than you are to 30, 35 or 38… means you are not a spring chicken anymore. Aches and pains take longer to heal, and yes the body’s performance does indeed start to decline at a certain time.

BUT by really applying a process and taking the time to get involved in your running performance and reassessing it eliminating waste, unevenness, and thereby not overburdening yourself… that is the secret to your running success…

And now …. Xx minutes into the podcast we come to the crux of the matter….. yes body does start to decline, BUT, can you honestly say that your best run has been achieved? No way, because here on this show we don’t focus on the possible negative events, BUT create options… and once you have created options it just means saying no to something else.

A quote I want to share with you just to back up the relevance… it is found in..…Ephesians 4:23 And to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 1 Corinthians 9:25

Every athlete exercises self-control in all things.

Hey thanks for your support, I am going for a run now… please do feel free to share this show with someone who you think could use such content.

Remember, take it easy.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top