Racing, Equipment, Heart Rates, and Contractor Growth

The fastest marathon runner used shoes costing about $300 and is 2X as fast as an intermediate runner. The fastest 100-mile bicycle time is about 2.5X faster than the fastest marathon runner, going nearly 4X as far. Contractor and career growth is similar.

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A professional road bike is about $15K, or about 50X the cost of professional running shoes. If you want to go farther and faster, a Le Mans car costs about $800K-1M each, or about 50-65X the cost of the professional racing bicycle. The 2010 record was 3,362 miles covered over 24 hours, or 140 miles per hour on average. This is over 4X faster and almost 34X farther than the fastest bicycle time.

These differences are very similar when it comes to the different stages of contractor growth.



Unpacking the similarities a little further, let's dive into heart rate zones and sustainability. While there is more to this than just heart rate, these descriptions will suffice for the example and for all but the most elite levels of training. 

Zone 2 is typically defined as about 65-80% of your maximum heart rate. Within this range, you aren't necessarily comfortable, but your body will clear lactic acid from your muscles and provide the oxygen necessary to keep going at this pace for a very long period of time - measured in hours. 

With consistency of training, you will be able to increase both your pace and total distance covered while staying in Zone 2. This is the foundation of any endurance sports from running though Le Mans. 

Building a construction business and career is an endurance event, not a sprint. 

Once you get above Zone 2, if the same pace is maintained, your heart rate will continue to climb, and it is just a matter of time before you have to stop. It is not sustainable. 

Zone 5 is getting within 10% of your maximum heart rate. No one can stay sustainably in Zone 5, but with training, you can increase the time you can spend in Zone 5 from seconds to minutes. 

There are many times in projects, business, careers, and life when you need to do the equivalent of sprinting.

Few things have a more direct correlation to longevity and vitality throughout your life than higher levels of aerobic fitness (Zone 2) and higher VO2 Max (Zone 5). This doesn't mean being an athlete. This can be as simple as fast walking a few times per week and taking the stairs. 


Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity


Contractor Lesson: Don't build your business model and job role descriptions beyond the average "Zone 2" levels of your team or you won't achieve consistently good outcomes. Train continuously, knowing that the best training is deliberate practice at doing the job with strong managers. Experiment with tools to improve performance but recognize that in most cases, a well-trained person with average tools will dramatically outperform a poorly trained person with the best tools. 



Moving to the next element of the similarities, from the world record to the intermediate runner is about a 2X difference. We have tested a variety of different installation times in a variety of crafts and locations under controlled conditions and they yield about the same results. 



Contractor Lesson: Design your business model, job roles, workflows, org structure, procedures, tools, and training to work across the whole range of performance on your team. Pointing out the differences in performance is easy. Designing and managing the systems that deliver consistent outcomes even with that variability is a key management accountability



With growth, there is a continued need for a greater support team. An individual runner can perform up to some pretty high levels without much of a support team. The operating cost per car of a Le Mans team is about $20M per year and for a team to have a chance of winning, they need several cars.

Contractor Lesson: The contractor equivalent is diversification of market strategies with great teams leading each market. 



The last thing to consider is that there are hundreds of 5K or 10K races any given weekend. The 2023 NYC Marathon had over 50K finishers (98%) with a gap between fastest and average of 2X.

By contrast, 2023 Le Mans had only 40 finishers (65%) and only a 7.5% gap between the winner and average performance. During qualifying laps, the top time was only 17% faster than the slowest time. 

This is similar for contractors with only about 100 contractors of any type across the US having 1,500 or more employees.

What was a competitive advantage at one stage of growth becomes the standard at the next stage of growth.

Contractor Lesson: Make sure you know what must be true to differentiate your company (strategic choices) and career with each stage of growth. Look at this from the perspective of your customers, their customers (customer-once-removed), your employees, and your supply chain (vendors / subs). 



Each type of racing, distance, and pace is needed.

Study the skills, competencies, capabilities, capacity, aptitudes, desires, and discipline for yourself and your team.

Know the reasons that you run and know that there is far more to wealth than money. This applies to contracting, careers, and life, which all must work together. 


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