December 8, 2020 – Mastery vs Status

Hi Everyone! 


Just a quick note on some thoughts I’ve been having this week. Some of us are doing the Tannenbaum 10K virtual race this week. Traditionally our crew has capped off our season with this race and celebrated together. This year will be different, as it is with most things. 


I do think this year has been a gift in how we’ve been forced to change perspectives. Specifically, I’m thinking of an article someone sent me on pursuing Mastery vs. Status. So much of what our culture traditionally values is based on status. Our job titles, our subscribers and likes on social media, our athletic accomplishments and times. We assume that these metrics mean something and so we start chasing them. And the problem with this is that we lose touch with our own intuition and intrinsic reward. Also, we will never be satisfied because there is always someone who has a better title, a faster time or more likes. 


 If you write a beautiful poem or create a piece of art that you’re proud of, or develop a meaningful connection with someone in need, or find yourself in ‘flow’ on a run and go further and faster than ever, and no one can see or judge these things, are they still valuable? I would say they should be more valuable because no one else is influencing you. This leads to deeper confidence and happiness. 


People who are guided by a sense of mastery vs. status are led by their own intuition vs. the validation of others. A hard place to stay in our society. A hard place to stay when running a race. I think if you can master this mindset while racing, it might transfer over to other areas. 


So approach your race as your own thing. Truth is (sorry everyone): no one else does care about your time. See if you can enter a mindset of being your own judge of how well you do. Don’t offer excuses, don’t be proud of a time. Just be excited to have the opportunity to launch into something, and then go and do it. For you.  


The article leaves us with three indicators of whether we are being guided by status or mastery (and I’ll paraphrase for running purposes):

  1. If envy of other peoples’ times is a problem for you, then you are being guided by status. 
  2. If you let a metric (say, one rigid time goal) gauge what you are doing this for, then you’re allowing the validation of others to dictate what you’re doing.  
  3. If you base the quality and value of your training on one performance, and not how you felt while doing it, then you will never be confident in your own judgement. 


So let’s go out and have fun and celebrate each other, and maybe not even post our times! Imagine. And let’s try to keep touch with this approach going forward. Trust yourselves. Choose mastery over status every time. 


Ok, onto workout options for this week: 

  1. Taper workout! (you can still register for the race if you want this one! Or just do the taper workout – remember: 75% is a great option): 2 x 800 @ 10K race pace w 1:30 rec, 2 mins, then 4 x 400 a bit faster w 1:15 rec 
  2. Not taper workout: repeat the above after a 3 min rec 
  3. If doing this timed, 2 x 3 mins w 1:30, then 4 x 1:15 on, 1:15 off  
  4. Hills!!! Any combo 
  5. Tempo: 3 x 10 mins w 3 min easy 


Meet up Here: (please keep it to 10 – I will happily run East along the path this time with anyone who likes if we have over 10 going West – not totally sure of distances so we can do the first one by time)