What you hear from spec­ta­tors can af­fect your race per­for­mance

Runner's World (UK) - - Mind + Health -

The words spec­ta­tors use to cheer you on should be se­lected care­fully, sug­gests in­trigu­ing new re­search. A study at the Univer­sity of Mi­ami, US, com­par­ing the ef­fect of telling some­one to go ‘as hard as they can’ or ‘as fast as they can’ found that only the word ‘fast’ had a pos­i­tive in­flu­ence on per­for­mance. It got us think­ing about some fre­quently heard spec­ta­tor cries that can un­wit­tingly vex a weary run­ner, such as ‘Knees up’, ‘Give us a smile’ and ‘Pick it up!’ (that one is par­tic­u­larly in­fu­ri­at­ing). ‘You’re nearly there’ and ‘It’s all down­hill from here’ are only ac­cept­able if they are true and you can see as much for your­self.

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