Antifragile Running

We all know what it means to be fragile — but what about the opposite of fragile, what does it mean to be antifragile?

In his book, Antifragile, Nassim Taleb writes about the concept of Antifragility as it relates to biological systems.

A curious thing happens when we use our muscles and push our bodies — they overcompensate and become stronger. Taleb calls this antifragility. This is a strange concept when you think about it, but we see it in many areas in biology.

If you lift a 100 pound barbell, your body actually overcompensates, so that next time you can lift 105 pounds, no problem.

The concept of antifragility is counterintuitive in our everyday world. It would be like writing the words, “please mishandle”, on a package and expecting it to become stronger with use.

As counterintuitive as it is, we can use antifragility to make ourselves faster, stronger and less likely to become injured. We need to continually push the envelope in our training to force our body to adapt and become stronger.

By regularly pushing our bodies in training we send signals to our muscles, heart, and brain to adapt to new levels of discomfort. Our muscles become stronger, and we train our brain to overcome new levels of fatigue.

Conventional training advice tells us not to push too hard during training, lest we damage ourselves. But the concept antifragility requires that we push ourselves to new limits.

By using the concept of antifragility — pushing the envelope in training, and allowing for adequate recovery, you can reach new heights in your training and racing.

How have you used the concept antifragility in your training? Do you push the envelope, or run according to prescribed paces? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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