Tightening the feedback loop

At Elevated Rails, we love agile development. The rapid feedback has helped us to be successful. So what happens when I add rapid feedback in another part of my life?

Along with owning Elevated Rails, I’m also an avid runner. I ran the Chicago Marathon last year in just over 4 hours. I’m running it again this year and want to finish closer to 3:45. I know I need to improve my pace to get there.

In the past, when I’ve timed my runs, I used a watch with a lap split function to check my time every mile or two. That works well for early miles, but I found that towards the end of my runs I would often forget to hit the lap button, or hit it late. I was getting information, but it was innacurate enough to not be useful. I’ve found this style of feedback to be so cumbersome I rarely time my runs. That means I’m running blind.

Or at least I was until yesterday. I picked up a Garmin Forerunner GPS device. It makes a huge difference! For my first run, I set alerts to tell me when I was running slower than a 9:15 mile, and faster than an 8:30 mile. There were quite a few times that my lack of focus caused me to slow down without even noticing it. The end result was almost a 30 second per mile speedup.

So where else can we tighten the feedback loop?