Posted by: Joe English | March 30, 2010

Running — Avoiding the Starting Line Conversation Trap

Coach Joe English

Coach Joe English

I have two simple rules at the start of every race. First, I never ask anyone else what they plan to run and, second, I never tell anyone what I’m going to run. Why? Because it never helps and it almost always hurts. Here’s why.

The tendency at the starting line with runners is to want to size up their competition. They do this by looking around at the other runners and trying to guess who’s going to run a similar time to theeir (or win or whatever). They categorize people as “someone I need to worry about” or not. Then they open their mouths and start getting themselves into trouble. Asking someone what they plan to run only takes you off the focus off of what it should be focusing on: what YOU plan to run.

You need to stick to your game plan on race day and that means running the pace that you are prepared to run. Whatever anyone else does is irrelevant in that if you haven’t prepared to run as fast as someone else and you try to “go with them”, you’re going to burn yourself up and find yourself in a heap of trouble real’ quick-like.

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