the morning shakeout | issue 45
Every once in a while I share an issue of the morning shakeout on Medium. This is one of those times. Leave your own thoughts in the responses below, Tweet at me, or, better yet, send me an email. Enjoy!
Good morning! The big move I alluded to last week has been something of a prolonged exercise in frustration but that’s a different story for another day. While the new place is rather pleasant and the location is pretty close to unbeatable if you’re a runner, we are also currently without access to the Internet, which presents a bit of a problem when you do most of your work from home and have a tendency to stay up late to work on your various online projects (such as this newsletter). That said, I’ve got all of an hour to write this week’s edition so it will be brief and devoid of extended commentary. I promise a return to our regularly scheduled programming next Tuesday. In the meantime, enjoy these shorter than usual snippets of interestingness, entertainment and inspiration!
Oh (Mo), you fancy huh?
I’ve picked on Mo Farah once or twice in past issues of the morning shakeout,and with good reason (I think). Yesterday, the Fancy Bears decided to hone in on the multiple Olympic champion by releasing his TUE (therapeutic use exemption) data, and so far, it doesn’t appear that they’ve really got anything on him other than what we already knew: the Brit has been granted two TUEs in the past 8 years, both of which he’s acknowledged at one point or another. Now, I’m not here to debate the difference between a leak and a hack, or what’s ethical and what isn’t, but since this is a major news story and Mo’s story appears to be consistent with what was released, I’ll give him credit where it’s due. That still doesn’t quite quell the suspicions regarding why so many high-level athletes have TUEs, nor does it answer the many lingering questions about Mo’s (and Alberto Salazar’s and Nike’s, for that matter) association with disgraced coach Jama Aden, but there’s something to be said for a shred of consistency, especially when rare!
I generally dislike top-10 lists but sometimes the information contained therein can actually be pretty informative, perhaps even useful. These tips on how to be a writer from author Rebecca Solnit caught my attention last week because they were so spot-on — all of them. “Write for other people, but don’t listen to them too much,” is one of my favorite pieces of advice. The bit on time also stood out to me as well. If writing is important to you, eliminate the excuses and find the time to do it (even if that means going to your wife’s office after work on a Monday night to poach WiFi for an hour).
The rich get…well, you know.
It didn’t look all that impressive on the screen — in more ways than one — but NBC’s coverage of the Olympics netted them a cool $250 million in profit (that’s “stick it in your back pocket money” for those of you scoring at home) over the course of 17 days. How much of that not insignificant sum is going back to the Olympic athletes that pricey advertising was sold around? (Someone get back to me when the sound of crickets dies down a little bit.)
Social stress solutions.
Once a month after our weekly team workout, I schedule a social outing for my charges from the San Francisco Running Company Racing Team. Turns out eating, drinking and laughing together is a good “recovery” technique, and now there’s some research to prove it. “The concept is relatively simple: being in a positive social environment following a hard effort works to balance one’s endocrine system faster than if they were alone, as a 2014 study from Imperial College in Great Britain found when they looked at moderating stress reactivity in professional rugby players,” according to Amanda Loudin for Outside. Maybe I should make these a weekly thing?
Get your three Cs in sync.
As an athlete or coach, the Olympics is a stressful stretch of days culminating in event you’ve been working toward for months, years and, in many cases, a lifetime. Speaking from my own personal experience, the pressure to perform is real. And while there’s something to be said for learning from failure, the last thing anyone wants to do at the Olympics is fuck it up. This Q&A with coach Stuart McMillan, whose coached over 70 athletes to nine Olympic Games, is on the money. Pay particular attention to how he answers the question, “What are the most critical determinants of success for an athlete leading into the final week to 10 days?” which any athlete or coach closing in on a big event can glean insight from. “The interaction of the three ‘Cs’ — comfort, continuity, and confidence,” McMillan says as part of a longer answer. “We make sure that the athlete is doing work that they are comfortable with and confident in; the continuity in the type of work we do in the last few weeks will feed the unique psyche required.”