Effects of Instant Gratification Feedback

We live in a generation of “Instant Gratification”.

Computer Games, Fast Food, Junk Food and technological conveniences… all these just add fuel to the fire.

In the old days, we had to wait the next day to check the newspaper for Track results… if you were lucky.  Today you have people complaining their 3G or 4G network on their iPhone is too frigging slow.

And sprinters are the worse, and I can say that because I’m a sprinter.  Just go to YouTube and check past Olympics or World Championships with Usain Bolt or Michael Johnson… they immediately check the clock to their left on WR attempts.

As soon as I cross the line in a workout, I immediately want to check the time.

runner checking his watch after crossing finish line

Image source: RomeSentinel.com

Even when I race, the first thing I want to know is my time (unless it’s a Championship meet where medals mean more than time)

If I do 6×30 from a 3 point start, I want to see how fast my time was, whether I run crap or not, because I can correlate the two (time vs perceived effort).  I can make the associate mentally in my head, and then make the adjustments.  This is why the Freelap timing system comes in handy, especially when you train alone.  That “Instant Gratification” can be a good determinant for your next run.

But the more I push it, often the tighter I am, and usually the slower my time.  This is where running relaxed is key.

Of course, this “perceived effort” isn’t limited to just time, as distance can be used as a measure such as horizontal and vertical jumps.

Effect of Instantaneous Performance Feedback

There is an interesting study from the Sport Performance Research Institute New Zealand, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand, titled Effect of instantaneous performance feedback during 6 weeks of velocity-based resistance training on sport-specific performance tests (click here for the research)

The study is using “well trained” professional rugby players, measuring squat jumps and peak velocity, which I won’t go into detail because you can read the results for yourself.

The point is instantaneous feedback can provide a tremendous effect in people and athletes.

We live in an information age, and we constantly live on feedback, good or bad.

At the end of the day, the difference between two identical athletes physical abilities is the mental game. 

Jimson Lee

Jimson Lee

Coach & Founder at SpeedEndurance.com
I am a Masters Athlete and Coach currently based in London UK. My other projects include the Bud Winter Foundation, writer for the IAAF New Studies in Athletics Journal (NSA) and a member of the Track & Field Writers of America.
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee