Hawthorne Effect on your running

In 1924 the managers of “Hawthorne Works”, a factory outside of Chicago hired psychologists to figure out how to make more productive workers. They tested a ton of different options. So what did they find?

Change, regardless of  WHAT the change, caused an uptick in performance, even undoing a previous change.

Example, turning the lights brighter increased productivity, then putting them BACK to the normal level increased productivity. Turning the heat up, turning it down, music, no music, long shift, long breaks. Every time they made a change, productivity increased.

This is sort of how fitness works. Many of us have heard of the term “muscle confusion” Basically it states that if you continue to do the same workouts, the same weights, etc etc, your body will get stuck. It will adjust to what you are doing and will lose effectiveness. Muscle Confusion tells you to continually change what and when you do your workouts.

There are 2 sides to every argument, some agree with this theory, some don’t. I know when it comes to my running though, the hawthorne effect is a fantastic way to keep my training fresh. Every now and then I like to change up what I am doing. I run new trails, new routes, new workouts. With new people, new groups etc.

Every time I do this, I see a slight uptick in performance. I have no previous workouts to judge my pace on so I run hard without the fear of “not making a time”. It feels liberating and gives my old routes time to feel fresh again.

If your running improvement has slumped into one place, do something new. Try crossfit, try an urban fit workout, try hills, try trails, try roads, try Yasso 800’s. Keep it fresh and watch the improvements happen!

Thank me later… and then thank the Hawthorne managers!

Run fast Run far Run free Run fun!

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