ENJOYMENT AND IMPROVEMENT To further illustrate the correlation between performance and enjoyment, imagine we could conduct an experiment as follows: A sports psychologist puts the members of an adult running team through a performance test such as a 5 km time trial or a VO2max (maximum rate of oxygen consumption during exercise) test once every 4 weeks for a total period of 20 weeks as the runners engage in their normal training.
He also asks all of the runners to keep detailed training logs that include an enjoyment rating for each run and an overall training enjoyment rating at the end of each week. I would bet my life savings that the sports psychologist leading this study would find a very strong mathematical correlation between the rate of improvement in fitness and the level of training enjoyment for individual runners.
And I believe he might also find that this correlation was causal in both directions. That is, he might observe that increasing or high levels of enjoyment were as likely to predict improved performance as vice versa, indicating that enjoyment influences fitness improvement as much as fitness improvement influences enjoyment.
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