Runners’ Map || Territory of Running

Two young fish are swimming along when they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way. The older fish nods and says,“Good morning boys. How’s the water?”The two young fish smile, nod, and continue on their way. As they glide through the water in silence, eventually, one of them turns around to the other and says,“What the hell is water?”

The point of this parable — first told by David Foster Wallace — is that the most obvious and important realities are often the most difficult to see.

This is true for many aspects of our lives. Some of our experiences are so automated, so basic, that we’re not always aware of them.

For example, when I ask a skeptical runner, about the nature/ mood of their inner voice, they will often replythat they don’t have an inner voice. Then I ask,“who just told you that?”

Because its obvious, we all have an inner voice, but sometimes it’s so omnipresent that it’s difficult to see — like two little fish swimming around the ocean looking for water.

The quality of our thinking and how we relate to running is proportional to the models at our disposal. Why? Because the more models you have, the more likely you are to use the right ones to help you to see reality.

Cultivating a broad base of mental models is therefore critical if you want to make better decisions and think more effectively.

However, most people don’t have a broad base of mental models. Instead, they take the one or two models they do have and look for problems to stick them into.

This is best explained by the old adage,“To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”Whether it’s at work, in a relationship, or training clients, remembering that the map is not the territory is a skill that brings greater awareness to your interactions. It leads you to being more mindful of other’s experience and allows greater tailoring of your expertise.


What does this mean for your running? Here some useful links.
Your “how to do it” run streak Run 365 Days: Your 365 Day Run Streak

Brain Training For Runners’: Your Mental Guide To Better Running.

Improve your discipline Accountability Coach.

Add swimming to your run Become a better swimmer.

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