The following is an excerpt from an upcoming book on technology, distraction, and why training simply is the most effective way to improve your cycling. To get updates and follow the progress of the book please sign up for our newsletter.
“To attain knowledge add things every day. To attain wisdom subtract things every day”. —Lao-tzu
In his 2011 book The Shallows, author Nicholas Carr describes the fascinating science behind the internet’s ability to actively change the form and function of our brain .
While our brain’s plasticity has allowed us to adapt to the virtual world displayed on our screens, our real-time evolution has come with a substantial cost.
We increasingly crave novel bits of information, while ignoring the foundational wisdom that underwrites long-term success.
“I’ve read a bunch of books on training, listen to the most popular podcasts on cycling, engage regularly in online forums, and I’m still at a loss with what to actually do on the bike”. In my last decade working as a cycling coach, I’ve heard this sentiment with increasing frequency.
Limitless and “free,” the internet delivers a mixed bag of training advice that sometimes provides a benefit while at other times sabotages our progress.
In their book The Social Organism: A Radical Understanding of Social Media to Transform Your Business and Life authors Oliver Luckett and Michael Casey describe this broader cultural shift in information consumption as follows.
“In this flat, horizontally structured network, where anyone with access to a smartphone or computer can easily and cheaply become a node for distributing and consuming information, we can crowdsource knowledge. Such shared capabilities didn’t exist when mass information was steered through the gated channels of news organizations…Now that billions of people are connected to a networked system that very cheaply allows them to become self-publishers, information can be exploited in more powerful ways.” .
Is this “crowdsourced approach” to consuming training advice an improvement on the old “top-down” model?
Maybe, maybe not, but one thing is sure. The essential skill for the modern cyclist is to learn to recognize the training signal, from training noise. This process starts with building an information filter.
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Data Driven Athlete
- Carr, N., SHALLOWS : what the internet is doing to our brains. 2020, [S.l.]: W W NORTON.
- Luckett, O., & Casey, M. J. (2016). The social organism: A radical understanding of social media to transform your business and life.