The Law Of Diminishing Returns

Once again in this blog I will make reference to ‘city language’ in order communicate effectively with those members understanding all that banking and financial stuff. For those of you like me with no knowledge of this area at all, I will start with a basic lesson in this area - which should if you make it to the end allow you to increase you income significantly, ahead of any future decision I may make to quadruple the membership fees. I think that is what you city boys call ‘a win win’.

I will start by giving you some of the tougher city words with a brief explanation on how they apply to running. Liabilities (as far as I am concerned this is most of you including the coaches), Gross (most of Tim P or JW’s jokes), liquidity ratio (something to do with beer and the need for support), NPV -net present value (base cost of your Christmas presents), P/E ratio (its exercise like running but in doors), Overhead (mostly sky or trees with low branches), FOB - 'free on board' an import export term (I export tickets to you and this is when you don’t give me {import} a ticket at the start of a run), gearing (reversing the car into the parking space not making a crunching sound rarely seen in female running),T/T - telegraphic transfer (This is often confused with telepathic transfer, which is staying in bed on Saturday and thinking about running instead of getting up).

Sorry that is enough for now back to the title – The Law of Diminishing Returns - True definition with one addition (can you spot it)

“A law of economics stating that, as the number of new employees (runners) increases, the marginal product of an additional employee (runner) will at some point be less than the marginal product of the previous employee (runner)”.

Still not got it - for those of you like me, this means for Oaks Blokes ‘the more runners who start off the run with me, the less that seem to make it back with me”.

It is all quite complicated - so lets take a real example - like today. Runners slowly arrive from about 7.45 am (special mention of Pete VD who was there before me this morning - I think Pennards is still running on British Summer Time, well at least Pete is). We started 3 minutes late with 35 runners (this does not include Richard P, who is working hard to take away Jonty’s ‘last minute arrival crown’ and was still eating his bacon and eggs at home at this time - only 40 yards from the start point). I make that assumption because I had gone when he arrived and am unable comment on other possibilities, such as being able to tell you if he arrived with a smile on his face.

So, 35 follow me up to Knole House. At this point Ian states he will be running a group at sub 60 minute 10K pace. Lars, causing a look of horror amongst our ‘special needs’ group said ‘I am going to tag along with Ian’. You can imagine the anguish that followed, as they felt obliged to join the group lead by Gerry, Duncan and myself and the fast lot. I said it was going to be slow and gentle, but I think they must have read one of my previous running blogs of the ‘Coaches Dictionary’. At least the knew I was lying. Normally by the time they find this out, they are fit enough to keep up so it doesn’t matter. Now left with only half the group, I was already down badly on numbers.

Never mind on we went to the back of Sevenoaks Prep, where Will, no doubt still suffering from the earlier anguished decision said he was cutting out, despite all my offers of short cuts (see no trust left in the group !). So, 16 odd now, off into the woods opposite the school. I was rushing to catch up with them from leaving Will, but had made it when we got to the first junction in the woods. No sign of those at the front so I shouted - nothing. Shouted again - nothing - and so on. I looked back behind me - I now had 4. I later had a call from Gerry who had led the group off into the distance - I gave him directions back to me - and he promptly ran off in the opposite direction. I need to add one comment from the coffee shop that refers to the moment I lost the main group - I will not mention who it is, but Patrick M will probably recognise the comment, “we heard you shouting but carried on, then we were lost’. I refer you back to my previous comment regarding the definition of liabilities.

I bring in a second quote from the text books at this stage ….

It is tempting to identify a political, emotional, or economic factor as the root cause of structural troubles—human greed, poor enforcement of regulations,. etc - But a compelling case can be made that the one dynamic that ties all the other causal factors together is diminishing returns.

There is clearly a lesson here for in relation to enforcement as well as diminishing returns.

Whilst on the phone to Gerry my group ran on - and I dam near lost them too. But, as luck would have it found them again. 500 meters later, Ian M had to peel off to get back - down to 3 (one of whom was another coach - Duncan). Now in economic terms 3 of 35, is a return of 8.6%, which I think you will all agree is not too bad a return in this current financial climate. So stick with Oaks Blokes and get rich quick – see simple !!!

[1] If asked I will deny writing this - you may assume this is a guest blog