Running New York

Ha! That headline probably got you thinking this was a post about?Governor Cuomo.? It’s not.? It’s about an economist trying to keep fit despite the rising demands of work, parenthood, and the shrinking supply of energy that comes in your mid- to late thirties.

Sunday is the?New York marathon, and I’ll be out there running through the five boroughs.? Twenty six point two miles is a heckuva long way.? But five boroughs – five boroughs! – somehow seems even further.? It’s all a bit daunting.? But exciting, too.

Okay, there should be some economics in a post on an econo-blog.? So here goes.?Ian Ayres has recently been writing about the?the value of public commitments.? I’ll play along.? I’m hoping to finish in under four hours.? I’ve never done it before, and there’s no reason to think that This Time Is Different.? But that’s my goal.? And now you know it, too.? I’m hoping this has a real effect: If I find myself on-target as I hit?the wall crossing from the Bronx into Manhattan, hopefully I’ll grit my teeth, remembering this public statement.? And this commitment has teeth because performance is verifiable: You can track my progress on the NYC marathon website on Sunday (I’m bib number 21042).? This commitment may sound like I’m trying to motivate myself with sticks – that the shame of failure will spur me on.? But it’s not.? This commitment is really a carrot.? I’m looking forward to my friends seeing that I’m not as slow as I look.

And to our New York readers: If you are out watching the marathon on Sunday and see a tired-looking economist with long blond hair wishing that he had trained harder, give me a shout out – I’ll need the boost!? But don’t just shout “Go Justin!” – that could be anyone (my name is on my shirt).? I want to know?if any blog readers recognize me, so I’ll be waiting to hear “Go Economist.”? While you may be powerless to cause the economy to speed up, your shout-out might cause an economist to speed up.? And I’ll be grateful.

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  1. Ian Kemmish says:

    My rule of thumb is that if you announce it beforehand, it’s a stick. it would be a carrot if you kept to yourself the delicious anticipation of your friends’ reactions when you without warning achieve the impossible.

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  2. Peter says:

    Good luck and enjoy!

    It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and start off too fast. My best advice to you is to start out a slower so you’ll have more energy in reserve to finish strong. Otherwise it will feel like a death march once you arrive in Manhattan.

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  3. science minded says:

    pace yourself.

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  4. Dave says:

    Excellent idea, both running the marathon and the commitment announcement. I look forward to seeing how it all turns out. All the best in your run!

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  5. Eric M. Jones says:

    Hey, NO PAIN, NO PAIN!

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  6. - Scott says:

    You may be one of the few to actually reach their stated marathon goal. I’ve been around marathons and marathoners since the 70s and have seen time after time an optimism bias that leads to almost unattainable target times. If everything goes right, then viola you make your goal. BUT so many things can go wrong in the almost four hours of running near your limit. I’ve never run a marathon in which the crowds, hills, wind, and pacing errors didn’t slow me down just a bit more than I expected. Good luck may the gods of the marathon smile upon you. Go economist!

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  7. AJ says:

    Hey – 4 hours of misery, a Lifetime of glory.

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  8. Dan G says:

    good luck. NYC Marathon is not the place to try to PR, too much running in a que, which slows you down, and too many hills. The philly marathon, however, is nice and flat, and not very crowded.

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