So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad* Training Specialist. Runner. Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) Certified Official, Category 2. RRCA Representative, Florida (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Refrigerator Door Expectations

Once upon a time there was a young man.  He possessed a keen mind, loved to read, and was - in the words of his maternal grandmother - a bit of a chatterbox.  Unfortunately, his handwriting skills were less-than-stellar.  He could not make the letters look exactly like the ones stapled over the chalkboard; his third grade teacher did not less about his reading comprehension or his verbal ability, she cared only about his penmanship.  She insulted his writing efforts once in front of his classmates, which had the exact opposite effect of her intentions.  He completely gave up on all of his scholastic efforts for the remainder of the year, doing just enough to get by.

The same young man adapted over time, learning to use a typewriter and used neat block lettering for all of his handwriting efforts.  Surprisingly, he decided to become a teacher, and learned early on in his education studies about the work of Robert Rosenthal.  Rosenthal was a professor at Harvard University, who asked in the mid-1960s if the expectations of outside influencers - like teachers, parents, and so forth - could mean the difference between positive and negative outcomes in the household, school, workplace.  Setting a reasonably-high standard, believing the standard could be made, and communicating that belief in many different ways?  Rosenthal learned that teachers who believed their students could achieve had students who could - and did - achieve.  And yes, teachers who doubted a student could succeed were more likely to see that student struggle or fail.

I have a full-page sheet of paper on my refrigerator door with the training plan for the first 22 weeks of the calendar year laid out.  Days where I run, days where I cross-train, rest days and the goal duration to spend during each day's workout session or sessions; all of the information is in black and white.  Since I'm still in the process of building strength, endurance and overall fitness and not focused on a particular race distance, the workouts are straightforward base-building.  Six weeks into the 22, the calendar shows more positive markings; workouts accomplished, intensities met, sometimes even both.  Every filled block is a step in what I hope is the right direction, travel toward the desired goal.
The calendar on the fridge, with its "big picture" notations, are the macro version of my little daily workout spreadsheet.  I don't post mileage or anything quantitative; there are only three types of marks on the calendar, corresponding to a qualitative standard - really good, good, or not-so-good.  One mark reminds me I met both the intensity and duration goals for the day, if I met the duration but not the intensity I place a different mark on the calendar.  If by some reason I didn't work out at all - unless I am sick or traveling - I mark the date with a big, fat "X."  Naturally, that's a "not-so-good" day.
So far, there have only been four of those "X" days.  And a few days where I didn't get the duration or intensity I hoped, because of outside issues.  But I have to admit I've met or exceeded expectations more often than not.  I don't need to scour through the spreadsheet to tell myself things are improving.  And if I feel a little too lazy and start to think about cracking open a beer rather than going for a run, all I have to do is take a look at the "big picture" on the refrigerator door.

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