There are 2 types of people at the start of a race; first there are those like me who get quite nervous and deal with it by finding a bit of peace and calm to focus and prepare themselves for the challenge ahead. We fidget a little, do some pointless half arsed stretching and remind ourselves that we’re ready. Then there those people who’s nerves get too much to contain and they fight their way out of the persons mouth in the form of mainly pointless chatter. This chatter is normally fairly harmless “what you aiming for today” “is this your first time doing this race” “where are you from”, but it inevitably descends into a self depreciating competition of who is going to do the worst. Maybe it’s a British thing, we don’t like to shout about ourselves so why would we be as bold as to say we think we’re going to be awesome? Whatever the reason the bullshit you hear in a starting pen would have a lie detector test flashing red very quickly
It doesn’t matter how big or small the race is either but there is definitely a correlation between the distance being run and the amount of bullshit you hear with a multisport race adding an extra bonus level because the bullshit has more than one sport to cover. With it being peak spring marathon season I thought I’d share my top 3 bullshit phrases you’re bound to hear. If you’re nervous like me at the start of a race why not play your own game of bullshit bingo and see if you can tick them all off.
- I haven’t trained at all for this race – Really? Really? So you haven’t run at all in the past say 3 months before this race? Oh you have? We all have different goals for a race that range from getting a PB to just having fun and finishing. Just because you’ve not focused your training in the build up doesn’t mean you haven’t trained and it’s fine not to be at your peak fitness.
- I think I’m just going to take it easy – sandbagging at it’s best, you can almost guarantee that person will set off at PB pace from the start. I’m always interested in how unwilling people are to admit what time goal they’re aiming for, pushing yourself to get a PB tests your limits and means you might not always succeed. But it’s ok to fail, not trying is worse.
- It’s a flat course – each persons definition of flat varies greatly; when I was running the Yorkshire marathon I heard a guy exclaim as we climbed one of the hills “I thought this was supposed to be a flat course?” to which his mate (who’d clearly roped him into doing it) replied “it’s Yorkshire flat”. That’s right, Yorkshire apparently has a different scale when it comes to hills, the race has 200m of climbing so in the grand scheme of things really isn’t hilly. But whatever your definition of flat don’t let anyone affect your mental approach at the start of a race or freak you out that it’s flatter/hillier than you expected.
What’s the worst thing you’ve heard at the start of a race? Any classics that you can’t help yourself say when those nerves have to escape out of your mouth?