Baader Meinhof, or just great minds?

Stanford linguistics professor Arnold Zwicky coined the term ‘frequency illusion’ to describe the syndrome in which a concept or thing you just found out about suddenly seems to crop up everywhere. It’s caused, he wrote, by two psychological processes.These are selective attention (noticing things that are salient to us, disregarding the rest), and confirmation bias (looking for things that support our hypotheses, disregarding potential counterevidence). The first, selective attention, kicks in when you’re struck by a new word, thing, or idea; after that, you unconsciously keep an eye out for it, and as a result find it surprisingly often. The second process, confirmation bias, reassures you that each sighting is further proof of your impression that the thing has gained overnight omnipresence.

This is also known as the Baader Meinhof Phenomena. A name that I admit to liking more, although I have no affinity to the Red Army Faction or any of their doings, and nothing against Professor Zwicky, who sounds like a very interesting person indeed.


So why am I mentioning this? It came to mind today. I had a 30km run on Saturday, and followed on Sunday with a 10km run and 1.5 hour yoga class. Aching wise I was absolutely fine. During the Saturday run my legs felt heavy towards the end, but I had no other discomfort. On Sunday I had energy, but my stomach hurt almost the entire time.


I should mention that I often struggle to find anything that I can take in during long runs, which has been an issue in triathlon, long bike rides, and trail running in the past. A banana is usually fine, or a boiled potato…but do I remember to prepare these things? And carry them? (A hint, the answer has two letters). So I will have to plan better, but also think about other options for before the run.

Friends of mine have been pushing me to try ‘bullet proof coffee’, and to get coconut oil into my diet. They believe that it has helped with muscle recovery and stomach problems, as well as providing energy at the start of the day.

Then I listened to a podcast while running to work (see previous posts for thoughts on running to spoken words). It was by Joe Rogan and talked about using coconut oil in cooking (and in coffee).

Then today, I saw a comment, that led to a post by Run Welshman, that talked about starting the day with bullet proof coffee, before heading out for a long run. Apparently no digestive distress, and slow release of energy during the run (simplistic version of the energy part).

So. Baader Meinhof, or great minds thinking alike?

I will ponder that, and look at the options for bullet proof coffee that don’t include dairy, as the stomach problems would have nothing to do with running if I mixed a load of butter into
my coffee!


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