What you hear from spectators can affect your race performance
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.