Chaos and training

In the Wilhelm-Baynes version of the I-Ching is a brilliant foreword by the eminent psychologist Carl Jung. In it he describes our Western prejudices against anything that can’t be measured works against us when we look for help in the real world. If I may:

I can assure my reader that it is not altogether easy to find the right access to this monument of Chinese thought, which departs so completely from our ways of thinking. In order to understand what such a book is all about, it is imperative to cast off certain prejudices of the Western mind. it is a curious fact that such a gifted and intelligent people as the Chinese has never developed what we call science. Our science, however, is based upon the principle of causality, and causality is considered to be an axiomatic truth. But a great change in our standpoint is setting in. What Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason failed to do, is being accomplished by modern physics. The axioms of causality are being shaken to their foundations: we know now that what we term natural laws are merely statistical truths and thus must necessarily allow for exceptions. We have not sufficiently taken into account as yet that we need the laboratory with its incisive restrictions in order to demonstrate the invariable validity of natural law. If we leave things to nature, we see a very different picture: every process is partially or totally interfered with by chance, so much so that under natural circumstances a course of events absolutely conforming to specific laws is almost an exception. -Carl Gustav Jung 1949

Now I want to think of this in the context of my training. I know it is convenient to find something like this as an excuse for the way i do things but honestly i have been familiar with this idea for a long time and have been applying it in my training as much as chance-effect can be deliberately applied. I see all kinds of runners who focus so intently on empirical training that the chaos and chance effect that take place in trail ultras thows them off. There are so many variables with nutrition, terrain etc that cant be per replicated on regular training days…so why not some random days? Some chaos days. Some days in which you dont know going out the door where you will end up or how far you will go? I guess my approach is still guarded. I mean, today for example, i am in a taper period so i wont overdo it. Most days even when i head out the door in a random direction i will end up on one of my usual routes but i want to keep moving in a variety of ways and allow chance to come in and work with it. Full stomach, empty stomach, hills, flat, narrow, parcour etc. It’s all good, embrace the chaos!

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