HomeEveryday Life40 in 40: Lesson #36

40 in 40: Lesson #36

Route 40

40 in 40: #36

I learned some great lessons while training for the marathon that I ran a month ago. I’m planning on sharing more of those lessons later.

But one of those lessons was extremely helpful.

When you are train for running there are certain principles that are really important. Some of them are obvious: you have to run a lot, you have to gradually increase your distance over time, etc.

But here’s the one that surprised me: your best “gains” in performance are when you push yourself incredibly hard and then rest. In fact my performance got better when I ran fewer, harder miles, and then rested more. This surprised me.

I would often run really hard one day, get busy and miss a day or two of training, then run again and find that I was able to run faster and further than I thought I previously could.

There are rhythms in life and I need to learn to pay attention to them.

Lesson #36

Continuous hard effort doesn’t produce great results. Great results come from periods of intense effort followed by periods of rest.

One thing I’ve rested from in the last month is social media. I love Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and blogs. But for the last month I’ve largely “fasted” from those things. I’ve occasionally tweeted something or interacted but by in large I’ve abstained.

While taking a social media break I’ve been working really hard on some other projects at work. That level of focus has been great.

And now I’m really looking forward to reconnecting on Twitter with people.

What would you benefit from taking rest from? What should you be pushing really hard right now?

Keep moving forward,


p.s. check out a post I wrote today for Blue Ocean Ideas, “It’s not about the tools!”

Written by

I am the CEO of Blue Ocean Ideas, a creative agency in Baltimore, Maryland. My job is to clarify the strategy and take care of my team. I am married to the beautiful Elise Rittler and we have four great kids. When I’m not at Blue Ocean Ideas or with my family I am riding a bike, running, playing ultimate frisbee, eating, or sleeping. There is a little more about me here.

One Response to “40 in 40: Lesson #36”

By Patrick Marsh - 16 November 2011

So true, brother! There are so many things in life that we could make better progress on if we would realize the need for intense, focused, quality efforts coupled with adequate rest.

In exercise, people spend hours and hours in the gym with moderate levels of difficulty that will produce minimal results when spending shorter duration, higher difficulty activities would create much greater success. Thirty minutes of higher intensity interval training with weights or cardio will end up producing much greater gains than an hour of moderate effort exercise!

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