Inspiration & Adventure

Change Your Perspective, Elevate Your Performance

Change Your Perspective, Elevate Your Performance


Running coach Eric Orton from Christopher McDougall’s best-selling book Born to Run invites us to change our minds for a refresh in our running. His advice equally applies to other sports and life. 

This post originally appeared on Eric’s blog on


Eric Orton

[In this first photo, you can see me standing] high on this peak during the Fall season in the Tetons, enjoying the reward of magnificent views that come from 6,000+ feet of running and climbing.  

I took the below winter photo during a ten mile run.  

These two photos grasp the beauty of the Tetons in different ways, BUT also show the SAME peak in both shots.  Two ways of looking at the same thing - two different perspectives.

You could argue that they are both stunning in their own right, and maybe even the winter landscape is more beautiful in many eyes.  It depends on your perspective.  

To look at the first photo, you get a dramatic look at the rough, jagged rock, and an intimate feel.  But the second landscape photo actually brings the first photo into perspective and gives the context of the effort required to be on top of one of those peaks in the distance.  Both photos, independent of each other, are beautiful, but you need both of the photos to put the experience and effort into perspective.

Many times, our running represents just one photo.  We get stuck doing what we always do, running that same route or loop each morning.  Or, our long run sub-consciously has morphed into always 12 miles, or one long hill is enough.  

But what if you start creating another photo and challenge your personal perspective - giving way to an elevated sense of ability and performance?

 All of a sudden with two photos, you experience things differently.  You "up" the ante and set a new bar for yourself that creates new motivation and ultimately you begin to see that you are capable of much more than you think.

And more importantly, you begin to seek more photos and more perspectives that allow you to understand that we now have an infinite process and way to improve.

Get up earlier and do two loops, do that long hill 2 or 3 times.  Add more miles to your week by doing some night running and make it an adventure.  Run twice a day to get in more miles or get a group together and run to breakfast and continue running until it is time for lunch.  

Create your own personal challenges and adventures using a bit of creativity or  what I call a
home grown adventure.  Go run the Grand Canyon and experience what it is like to run DOWN first, and then UP, after a long day.

Our minds have a tendency to get stale, that gives way to a comfortable sense of belief and truth that is just an illusion and our worse enemy.  

Don't believe your thoughts, believe your experiences!  

Reality is not how you look at it, reality is how you see it.

We don't need mountains, everyone has the potential for new perspectives and new ways to improve, regardless of location, age or ability.


About the Author: 


Eric Orton has a passion for adventure, participation, and health. As a mountain runner, coach, author, and entrepreneur, Eric has spent a lifetime exploring human potential and the limitless possibilities of the body and mind.  

Based in the outdoor adventure paradise of Jackson Hole, Wyoming — Eric is an elite mountain runner and athlete with epic adventures always on his mind.  He has raced competitively at most every distance from 100 meters to 36 hours.

As a performance guru and world-renowned running coach, Eric personally coaches athletes around the world, from recreational racers, competitive age groupers, to elite ultramarathoners.

How to follow along: 

Instagram: @borntoruncoach 

Youtube Channel: Born to Run Coach Eric Orton