The Advantage of Being a Jack of All Trades
This month’s article blends a debrief on recent racing adventures and some lessons I took from those experiences. In one week late September, I competed in the USA Marathon Nationals Champs as well as Marathon + Cross-country World Cups in Snowshoe. This got me thinking about what it means to be a jack of all trades…
The quote that gets tossed around doesn’t do the full adage justice. The full version says, “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” That has a bit different implication than the Hallmark version, it means that having versatility and being adept in many things can actually lead to better performance overall. Whatever your goal is, having many tools in the toolbox to work with is better than specializing in one.
I was contemplating this idea during my last block of racing. Mixing a fast Southeast marathon race with a 5hr+ trudge through mud with a 90min XCO suffer-fest isn’t necessarily ideal for a schedule. Not only that, it probably isn’t going to allow you to produce a peak performance at any one of them…yet.
Taking advantage of the opportunity to race in a variety of top-level races taught me a lot about each discipline and how to perform in them. With a bigger-picture perspective, you can use these experiences to really learn how to use more tools for your peak events down the road. You may have learned how to move up the field in a hectic start. How to fuel better for the long haul. How to save energy in the little micro-moments of a race.
All of these lessons can compound over time.
Carson Beckett, 26 | Coach, Pro, and Co-Founder of Dirt Camp Racing | Carson Beckett Coaching