kien_coi_1997's blog

By kien_coi_1997, 5 years ago, In English,

Chapter 1. Introduction

Every activities consume energy. Usually, people tend to consume energy instinctively. However, this automatic mechanism is not really good.

I'm sure that sometimes you thought, “Today I haven't done anything”. It means in that times, you didn't consume energy effectively.

Before, I didn't control energy well too, especially in contests. I often thought that “I spent one hour doing nothing”. My worst time was in APIO 2014, I couldn't do anything in last 4 hours.

Then I realized that, it is necessary to control energy (I means consuming energy proactively). By understanding the right way to consume energy, I have got many wonderful achievements. In the team selection test in this year (a national contest which has 2 days), I got 16-17 per 20 points each days, then got rank 1 after the contest. In APIO 2015, I got 300/300 points. Although I got such scores, I didn't feel tired, but felt confortable after such contests.

I write this article in order to share my experience about controlling energy. This experience has been built for a long time, and the context in this article has been carefully checked. However, because this is personal thought, if you feel not convinced, it is usual.

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Chapter 2. Energy is finite

Energy of people is not infinite. That seems obvious and useless. However, there is a bad fact. In a normal day, everyone has a certain amount of energy, but few people consume all of energy. In contrast, in a contest, everyone has a certain amount of energy too, but before the contest ended, people consumed all of energy.

Energy is valuable, people should not waste it

Why do people often consume all of energy in a contest?

In a normal day, people work under low pressure and don't need to think continuously. While working, there are familiar activities like brushing teeth, washing face, which does not require body's energy. There are also activities like cleaning room, washing clothes, which does require body's energy but does not need thinking. While learning, people often learn in a normal/familiar intensity, without much competitive spirit as in a real contest. Therefore, the brain works in a normal intensity, sometimes relaxes because of familiar activities (activities which does not need thinking).

In a contest, people work under pressure and usually have to think continuously. There are many factors contributing to this essence. The only running organ is brain. People often work with high competitive spirit. There is no longer familiar activities like cleaning room, washing dishes for the brain to relax. During the contest, the pressure can't be left out. Therefore, there is a big difference between a normal day and a contest. Because the brain has to run continuously under pressure, it is obvious that the energy should be ran out quickly.

To summarize, in a contest, energy is valuable. So, people should not waste it.

Energy is possible to be estimated

Let the energy level when you are full of energy be 100%. And let the energy level when you are tired (I means when you ran out of energy) be 0%. Using personal experience, you can estimate the current energy level yourself. Brain's energy level and body's energy level should be distinguished. It is possible that the brain are tired while the body still remains energy. In a contest, because the only running part is brain, so in this article, we only have to concern about the brain's energy.

In a normal day, the energy amount can be increased of decreased. It is widely known that the ways to refill the energy amount is to eat, sleep and rest. However, competitors don't do these in a contest. Therefore, in a contest, the energy amount is only decreased and never increased.

By understanding the current energy level yourself, you can use the information to make proper decisions. For example,

  • If you run out of energy before the contest end, you will waste the remaining time. If you still remain much energy when the contest end, you will waste the remaining energy. Therefore, optimally, the time you run out of energy should be the ending time of the contest. Estimating current energy level allows you to adjust the time you run out of energy.
  • Assume that half of the contest time is over, and you still have more than 50% of energy. That means you should increase the pressure to do more things in the remaining time.
  • Assume that half of the contest time is over, and you have less that 50% of energy. That means you should relax (I means make your body comfortable). In the remaining time, you have to calm down and lower the pressure.

P/S:

My article is not ended. There will be 3 more parts in this article. I have not finished them because this article require a long time.

Chapter 3 will talk about pressure, how the pressure affects the performance.

I will be glad if you share your own experience.

Nếu bạn đọc tiếng Việt thì có thể xem bài viết ở đây: https://sites.google.com/site/kc97ble/skill/kiem-soat-nang-luong-trong-ki-thi

 
 
 
 
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5 years ago, # |
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Can't wait for the next part :D great blog :D

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    5 years ago, # ^ |
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    Yeh,this one is fantastic,looking forward to the next ones:)

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    5 years ago, # ^ |
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    I will write the next part at least 1 week later. Slow writing enables me to enhance the quality of the article. Anyway, IOI is my top priority now.

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5 years ago, # |
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It is widely known that the ways to refill the energy amount is to eat, sleep and rest. However, competitors don't do these in a contest.

Why? I've seen examples of all 3 ways :) But at least eating during contest sounds natural.

Your model is quite interesting. I am curious about following: assume some person doing some intense activity (competitive programming in our case) for 20-30 hours in a row. You will say that given person is consuming energy very carefully (3% per hour :) ), or he is somehow refilling it (while you said that competitors don't refill energy during contests), or you think that it is just impossible (and results of such activity should be horrible)?

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    5 years ago, # ^ |
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    Ha ha. I guessed that there would be a such question.

    Eating during contest is possible and we can say that it is also a tactical activity. It helps competitors much in refilling energy. However, I don't want to mention it in chapter 2 because my top priority is to persuade people (in the most effective way). I want to mention it in part 4 instead.

    If someone code for 20 hours in a row, I think that he has to eat something and probably sleep a little (I am not sure about sleeping). Anyway, a 20-hour informatic contest seems impossible.

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      5 years ago, # ^ |
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      "Anyway, a 20-hour informatic contest seems impossible." — didn't you hear about Marathon24, Deadline24 and Challenge24? In last deadline edition I was active almost all the time. I had some breaks for eating sth, and sleep in last 2 hours, but they were not long. Most of the time I have been coding sth, but I also spent much time on debugging my friend's code and talking about approaches with teammates.

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        5 years ago, # ^ |
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        It's the first time I hear about such contests. Look interesting.

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    5 years ago, # ^ |
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    I guess there are other ways that refill energy but it differs from person to person, for example I always see your codes beginning with a lyrics of some song, actually when you are listening to music during solving a problem you may get motivated enough to solve it faster, I dunno how to describe it but it's just better when you're solving and doing some special thing to you like listening to music and this helps you out get the most out of your energy, I guess I_love_Tanya_Romanova will understand me better :).

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      5 years ago, # ^ |
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      Arcording to what you said, listening to music does not refill energy. It only makes you more comfortable and then be more effective.

      (I will mention it in part 5)

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5 years ago, # |
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I'm absolutely sure that people NEVER reach 0% of their brain energy or even, not even approach it closely. The same holds for being near 100%. I also don't believe that we can estimate our energy in any way nor that ours brains abilities depend only on how tired is it nor that its energy graph resembles linear function — it is extremely complicated subject. No offence, but for me that blog entry (at least for now) looks just like some blabbing and attempt to understand what can't be understood.
UPD: I think that if it really helped you than it is an effect called placebo (possibly combined with having bigger motivation).

What I can share is that few times I noticed that when I was tired and not willing that much to do a contest as I would want to, eating Snickers was a very good decision, it brought me both energy to my brain and will to compete.

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    5 years ago, # ^ |
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    It's also known that people get more creative if they are tired.

    It sounds crazy, but I have experienced this a few times. Once I was in school for like 12 exhausting hours, however, when I was on my way home, I could come up with some very creative solutions (to a Codechef Long problem), which I had never thought of!

    Sometimes I wish that I can start with being extremely tired, so I can come up with some neat solutions, and then gain more energy during the contest to be able to implement them in less than no time. :')

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    5 years ago, # ^ |
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    First, I like your comment. I need a such comment in order to see the problem in different aspects.

    My following answers are ordered (as the order of questions).

    Personally, 0% only means tired enough to be impossible to make any considerable achievement (I means it is hard to gain any more scores). So it is not too hard to reach 0%.

    100% is only a perfect level. And people can't reach it.

    As you said, brain's ability is an extremely complicated subject. What I am doing is to simplize it, and then have a strategy (not perfect but somehow good).

    Anyway, I think estimation is possible and it brings us some useful information (not too exact but good enough).

    The major point in chapter 2 is "Energy is valuable, people should not waste it". The point "Energy is possible to be estimated" is minor, it supports next chapters. I think that you agree with the major point.

    I hope that it is not placebo.

    I agree that eating during a contest is very good. I will mention about it in part 4.

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    5 years ago, # ^ |
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    Snickers [...] brought me both energy to my brain and will to compete.

    Given typical Snickers commercial, sounds like a placebo as well)

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5 years ago, # |
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Usually, when I relax during a contest, my performance drops. As in "I don't solve anything else most of the time", and it's largely independent on anything.

Everyone probably has their own quirks, too.

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5 years ago, # |
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Nice blog, especially your Vietnamese blog, keep up the good work (start to read your blog from now, a lot of nice tips) :) !

I think, we can exercise to improve our thinking ability and endurance, so I would like to see how you maximize your efficiency and improve your limitation in your next article.

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    5 years ago, # ^ |
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    Thanks.

    Anything related to training will not be mentioned in this article. That's because the article is about "in a contest".

    Additionally, my experience in training is currently not good enough to write an article.