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  • Writer's pictureJack Mullaney


Aristotle believed everything had a telos. When translated from Greek, it means "a purpose, or goal, or final end."

A common example is to consider a knife. While it may be described in many ways, its telos is to cut things.

Over 2,000 years after Aristotle, having clarity on something's telos is vital to understanding its value. This could not be more important to those of us in the world of distance running.

Whether it's a workout, mobility exercise, or lift in the weight room, asking what the telos of the activity is may provide the most efficient path to improvement.

Perhaps because our sport is a test of pain tolerance, there's a potentially deceptive feeling of satisfaction when an athlete ends practice totally spent. Because while there are plenty of ways to get tired, there are far fewer ways to actually improve. This becomes increasingly true the better an athlete gets.

Focus on the telos. If it doesn't ultimately make an athlete faster, improve fatigue resistance, or minimize injury risk, it's probably not worth their energy. Save that for something that is.

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