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Transferable Traits: Analytical Nature

by My Finish Line


Why are so many runners and athletes self-confessed (and self-prescribed) ‘geeks’? The answer is because it is highly advantageous for them. This analytical nature is a prized possession in sport as well as professional life.

Once a triathlete crosses that line after an event, or a runner finishes a training run; the protocol and thought process of both is exactly the same. They will immediately check their performance metrics with regard time, pace and heart rate; and then they will combine this quantitative analytical data with their own intuition, thoughts and gut feelings. While still in the process of catching breath and recovering from their efforts, their minds will already be meandering through the effort trying to find reasons why they performed the way they did, and looking for lessons learned and opportunities for the next time.

After this, many will then catalogue either in a training diary or through their Strava/Polar/Garmin/etc by uploading their data for further analysis; thereby creating a timestamp of evidence to be able to plot progression versus previous efforts and future efforts. This kind of diligence to analytics was the ‘space’ of only the elite coaches merely a decade ago, and yet here we are. The event finisher is now analysing their effort as much as the coach of the event winner is.

This isn’t merely confined to runners, of course, as it is also true for golfers having in-grained knowledge of the pitfalls and opportunities on every hole on a course and footballers knowing which way a goalkeeper likes to dive in penalty shoot-outs. We all analyse in order to improve. Yet there is something innately subconscious, and constant, in this process in endurance athletes. Many fall asleep still replaying their efforts in their heads as they hit the pillows, and strive to search for every stone to be turned over in the quest for better knowledge – be that shoe and equipment, tapering strategies, anaerobic v aerobic training, effect of strength training etc. The main carryover however between this preoccupation with analytics and professional life however lies in the fact that many now have so much data on their own performances graphed longitudinally over years that they can appreciate that their performances fluctuate like the stock market, or the value of currency. The understanding that small peaks and troughs occur within greater long term trends happens when being able to analyse and be aware of a wealth of data – and have a genuine passion and interest in it.

Being self-aware enough to be able to shrug off a bad run or two in the quest for a slowly rising performance curve is as important as being able to be calm when amazing performances occur within a training dip.

…and that is essentially what stock brokers and financial managers have been advocating for years.