What Running Can Teach Us About Feedback

Lace Up

Tom Barrett
3 min readAug 29, 2022


Getting ready for my morning run has become a routine.

I check my GPS watch is ready to go, hit play on my headphones and adjust the music that will play at the start. I always pause for a moment to focus on the tightness of my laces, and then I click the button on my watch and am off.

Tom x Midjourney, prompt: “woman, running, bright colour, silhouette, movement, dynamic, speed, colourful”

But it is only once my shoes start to pound out a pattern on the road that I understand the type of run I will have.

Once I am moving, I notice the cold air against my face and arms.

I feel the level of fatigue or energy in my legs and how my joints feel with each step.

I pay attention to my breathing and how my body responds to movement.

After a few more minutes, my watch chimes in with the first kilometre statistics. The notification is read out in my ears, so I don’t have to look, explaining the story of that last 1000 metres.

I focus on the pace and compare it to the hundreds of first kilometres I have tracked. I also project forward to the distance I aim for and what that means today with all the other feedback I have.

Running is a flood of receiving and processing feedback signals from the whole experience.

Set a Direction

When I run, I set a direction. I choose the distance and then pick a course or route I want to run. In life, we often put our sights on a goal or dream.

We may not consistently achieve it, but the act of setting a direction gives us something to strive for.

  • Where am I heading?
  • Is this the best direction for me?
  • What is the goal or desired outcome of this project?”

It is the difference between lifting your head to look down at the path’s end and fixating on your next step. Don’t lose sight of your goal or direction. By setting a direction, we can help to focus the feedback process.

Monitor for Signals of Progress

As we run, we monitor for signals of progress. We may track our distance with a GPS watch, notice landmarks on our favourite route, or pay close attention to changes in…



Tom Barrett

Re-discover the curiosity you had when you were 6. Learning, Leadership, Innovation. Join Medium to support my writing https://buff.ly/3RtxqpE << Affiliate link