“Don’t look back!” This is the phrase my collage track coach, Mr. Johnson, always drilled into us.
Why did he stress this so often? Simply because it is human nature to look back. However, when you were in competition, no matter if it was a sprint, a relay, cross country, or long distance, you didn’t need any distractions. It is imperative to concentrate on what is ahead of you not what is behind you. What’s ahead of you? Winning or finishing the race.
Newbies to the track team always looked back. They were running out in front of the pack, and were winning the race. All of a sudden, while running, they glance over their shoulder at their competitors, and literally trip and fall flat on their faces on the track. Not only did this hurt, but they lost valuable time scrambling to regain their footing and momentum thus, LOST the race!
Surprisingly there IS a way to keep track of your competitors without turning your head around to look. Remember that old joke, “I know you are there because I can hear you breathing”? Everyone is huffing and puffing like an old fashion steam locomotive to get to the same destination as you, sooooooo.
Also, there are certain vantage points where you can make use of during the race. In longer races where the track curves, you can clearly see who’s behind you without turning around. This also applies to cross country races where there are switchbacks where you run uphill, turn, reverse course, then meet your fellow competitors coming back down the same hill.
The whole point being, don’t get distracted! Set your mind on finishing the course which you have set out to do! If you fall, no matter how many times, get up, and finish the race! The most important thing is to accomplish your goal! Why? Because no one else is gonna accomplish it for you.