My daughter loves to “run” and her coach spotted her talent recently. So being the supportive parents that we are – we took her for a test in athletics.  The athletics test was interesting, not so much for the report but more for the way it was conducted. When the coach asked her to run for 15 minutes continuously, you could see the frustration on the little one’s face. I will tell you why in a few moments

In today’s times, running has become a trend. For some of us it has become part of our lifestyle and while for others, it is our dream to run the marathon one day.

But have you ever considered running a sprint? Would you want to sign up for a 100 – meter dash or a 20 km run? What would be more exhilarating?

Well, turns out, what you prefer reflects a lot about your personality.

The marathon demands stamina, the “will” to persist in the situation for a relatively long time, working out the strategy as the race progresses.

The sprint, on the other hand, demands a gathering of energy, concentration of all mental tactical resources for a limited period of time.

In our everyday life, the “sprinter” psychology is vastly different from a “long distance runner” psychology.

That’s the difference between your ace sales guy vs your best business manager. One needs the nerves to close at the moment and the other – a long term strategy.

The sprinter psychology is quite like a fighter pilot – involving instantaneous decision making. Some of us call it intuitive decision making. The cues are received from the external environment and the decision is in the “now”. This kind of agile thinking is required when there is a lot of change and dynamism in our environment. Such people find it tough when they don’t see an immediate result of their action and prefer action over long drawn planning. But this kind of “in the moment” thinking does require a certain amount of fortitude and inner belief that helps such people overcome any new challenge.

The “Marathoner” psychology is more strategic – requiring a lot of perseverance, long term visioning, changing gears as needed, building endurance for the long haul. Such people prefer inaction to hasty action.

The challenge comes when our team is filled with only one type – either marathoners or sprint runners; our unconscious bias prefers the one who is more like us. But for a team to win, both kinds of personalities are required.

  • Too many marathoners and you may lose sight of the quick wins and the current problems,
  • Too many sprinters and you may move away from the long – term vision of the organisation, focusing only on the short term.

Though there are other factors that could influence our choice of run like age, peer pressure etc., our preference of one over the other does give us a quick glimpse into who we are. So next time you sign up for the ‘run’, take a moment and think – will it be a “sprint” or a “marathon” this time!

And as for my daughter – She loves to run but only for a few minutes. We had assumed that since she loves to run, she will keep running!  Turns out she is great at sprint but hates the long run.

At Able Ventures, we help you realize your potential. We do this by “Engineering People Experience”. Our insights – based learning programs have been designed over a decade of research into human behavior and neuroscience. Write in to us to know more about our assessments, trainings and consulting practice.