Monday, 23 March 2015

The four stages of competence

There is always that moment in the life as a long distance runner when you have this dangerous thing called "Belief."

My Cat 2015

I was requested by my boss the other day to list out my vocational qualifications and skills as she wanted to utilise me more within the wider team and market them to the business. So as a guy still in his 40's (just) I started to write a list in a spreadsheet and then, I added a column so to break each of those skills/assets into more granular skills and then I listed my experience and then the qualification, then cost savings attached to each skill and subset. By the end I was actually amazed that I was in fact pretty skilled up but had taken it for granted, a point noted that a younger person will shout and show off that they can do this and that  whilst the older person takes it for granted and often seen in psychology as:
  1. Unconscious incompetence
  2. Conscious incompetence
  3. Conscious competence
  4. Unconscious competence
The younger, less experienced guy will be hanging on at around 2 and 3 whilst the older guy will be at 3 and 4 for skill related aspects of their work and because of it tend not to shout about it.

Bringing this back to my running world there was a time when I thought nothing of jumping out of the door for a quick 10 miles or being marathon ready at the drop of a hat and getting a PB and was definitely unconsciously competent. I have ground out 100+ miles non-stop whilst the four winds battered me but strode on confident that I would get to the end (not always). This attitude can either be your best friend or your worst enemy, a self belief that can either make you a finisher or a wounded non-finisher.

This weekend

So we come to this weekend when in a moment of madness before Christmas I saw that there was the Port of Dover Race Festival which is held over two days, thus:

Both days:
8am – marathons registration at the Clock Tower
9am – marathons start
1.30pm Half Marathon registration at the Clock Tower
2.30pm race start
1.30pm 10km registration at the Clock Tower
2.30pm race start
...and yes I entered all four of them! How I am going to manage it is another thing but looking at the times I think I have a chance if I am not stupid and just plod out the miles. I am going to give these runs a name:
Marathon (Day 1)              : Unconscious incompetence
Half Marathon (Day 1)       : Conscious incompetence
Marathon (Day 2)               :Conscious competence
10 kilometre (Day 2)          :Unconscious competence
I have no way of knowing if I will complete this set of tasks with such little training of late but I am going for it, to hell with it. This one is for me and if I have to drop at some stage, I will drop and reassess the set of runs each time.....wish me luck.


  1. I absolutely love this, you go smash it Jerry!

  2. Fantastic Jerry - sure you'll have a great weekend! Best of luck :) x