Increase your Baseline.

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A baseline is a minimum or starting point used for comparisons. Humans are the ultimate adaptation, but our natural state is homeostasis – the tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, primarily maintained by physiological processes. We tend to move towards the path of least resistance, and we strive to avoid pain and discomfort. We say we want to be fit, but we eat junk food and avoid going to the gym, we want to be wise, but we avoid reading or surrounding ourselves with wiser people; we want to be wealthy, but we spend more than we earn, we want to be great, but we live a life of mediocrity.

If you want something you have never had, you must do something you have never done. Doing something the same way and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. I recently set a goal of running ten full 42.2 KM marathons in the ten Canadian Provinces. I have participated in and ran the first half of the Ten Canadian Province Marathon Challenge (Toronto, Ontario Marathon, Stewart McKelvey Fredericton Marathon, New Brunswick, Emera Blue Nose Marathon, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the Servus Credit Union Calgary Marathon, Albert, Calgary and the Winnipeg, Manitoba Marathon). My best time so far is 3 hours 53 minutes which I ran at the Fredericton Marathon, New Brunswick Marathon. My ultimate goal is to run a Sub-3 Hours time, enabling me to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

To run a sub-3 hours marathon, I need to run faster and ultimately increase my baseline. No amount of wishing would enable me to run faster; I have to train harder, cross-train, work on my nutrition and rest more. As the Greek Poet Archilochus once quipped, “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.” To run a faster time, I need to increase my baseline and threshold for the three factors needed to run efficiently:

  • Aerobic capacity, also known as VO2max, which is analogous to the size of a car’s engine;
  • Running economy, which is an efficiency measure like gas mileage; and
  • Lactate threshold, which dictates how much of your engine’s power you can sustain for long periods of time. 1

There’s nothing fairer than the marathon. Nothing quite as egalitarian. Not in sport, and not n life. Simply this: train hard enough and you’ll finish it.

Often the hardest thing is getting out in the first place. Plus, it really doesn’t matter what’s behind that front door, a stately home or a bedsit. On the start line, you’d rather be a well-trained student in second-hand shoes than a billionaire with all the latest gear who’s been too busy to put in the miles. Every time you set out on a training run, you’re writing a cheque to your future self – and you’ll cash them all on Race Day. 2

We don’t rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.

To improve my running time considerably, I would have to increase my baseline, pain threshold, maximal oxygen intake, run at lactate threshold, and run at peak oxygen consumption. All these factors would need to be worked on over the next couple of months for me to run a sub-3 hours Marathon time. My best time for a marathon is 3 hrs 44 minutes, which I ran in Montreal last year.

Human beings experience a natural resistance to the unknown because it is essentially the ultimate loss of control. This is true even if what’s “unknown” is benevolent or even beneficial to us. Self-sabotage is very often the simple product of unfamiliarity, and it is because anything that is foreign, no matter how good, will also be uncomfortable until it is also familiar. This often leads people to confuse the discomfort of the unknown with being “wrong” or “bad” or “ominous. 3


  • While working long hours as a Wall Street analyst, Melissa Butler started making lipstick in her kitchen as a hobby. But it soon turned into an obsession, costing thousands of dollars. She was frustrated by the lack of diversity in the cosmetics industry, and as a Black woman, wanted to create lipstick colors that complimented her complexion and style. So in 2010, she launched The Lip Bar, with bold colors like green and purple, and boozy names like “Cosmo” and “Sour Apple Martini.” Undeterred by a disastrous appearance on Shark Tank with her partner Rosco Spears, Melissa was motivated to pitch her lipstick to Target, and in 2016, launched a new color on Target’s online store. Today, The Lip Bar—rebranded in 2021 as TLB—has expanded to stores nationwide and is now the largest Black-owned makeup brand sold in Target stores.


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All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Lifelong Learner | Entrepreneur | Digital Strategist at Reputiva LLC | Marathoner | Bibliophile |

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