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The Rules For Sprinters

October 12, 2012 | Lee Ness

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Editor's Note: In June 2009, velominati.com created a code for bikers entitled The Rules, a lighthearted look at biking etiquette. STACK expert Lee Ness figured it was only fair that his fellow sprinters have their own set of rules. So with a nod to Velominati, here are his Rules for Sprinters. Enjoy!

1. Obey The Rules.

2. Lead by example.

Never knowingly breach The Rules. Your reasons, no matter how convincing they may seem, are never good enough. Also if you are familiar with The Rules, it's forbidden to knowingly assist another person in breaching them.

3. Guide the uninitiated.

Always help others follow The Rules, both new sprinters and sad souls who aren't sprinters but wish they were.

4. Everything is a competition.

5. 
Toughen up and take the pain

6. 
If you aren't a sprinter, you're just a jogger

Even if you are Mo Farah.

7. 
Distances are only measured in meters.

Kilometers are for joggers (see Rule 6), and miles are for crazy people.

8. 
Encourage the belief that sprinters don't ever do much.

Even Usain Bolt pretends he is lazy; to the uninitiated (and those joggers) sprinters don't train much. They believe that our workouts are simply "a short sprint with lots of rest." Under no circumstances are you allowed to explain how much you do, how hard it is, or how much more you train. A true sprinter always agrees with this, especially with joggers. Why, you may ask?

  • Who cares what joggers think? Really, who cares what anyone thinks if they aren't sprinters. Sprinters already know the reality.
  •  So when the occasional jogger decides to join a sprint session to show you how easy it is, you can look smugly on as they cry for their mommy while racked with lactic pain at the side of the track. 

9. Sprinting always comes first.

Training or competing, it doesn't matter the occasion—birthdays, family celebrations, weddings, christenings, etc.—are all secondary, even your own.

10. Training never gets easier, it just gets faster.

As Greg Henderson puts it, "Training is like fighting with a gorilla. You don't stop when you're tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired."

11. Shorts must be skin tight

Sprinters always need to look fast, even when they're standing still. Floppy shorts do not look fast, plus it's no longer the eighties. Even Carl Lewis looked slow in floppy shorts.

12. 
Vests must be "fitted." No shirts beneath vests.

See Rule 11. Never look baggy or saggy. See also Rule 5. Show everyone you are a sprinter; sculpted arms are the domain of sprinters on the track.

13. 
A roadrunner is a comedy cartoon character.

Even if he tried to sprint.

14. 
Sprinters believe in Newton's Laws of Motion. They don't rely on superstition

Sprinting performance is a result of physical and mental preparation coupled with perfecting biomechanical principles. There is no place for ridiculous rituals or beliefs. That means: no lucky socks, no lucky anything, because luck does not play a part in the drama of sprinting. If you feel you need to pray or rely on anything other than physics for your performance, see Rule 5. 

15. Sprinters run the track, joggers just run on it.

16. Hurdling is sprinting over obstacles.

17. The gate is never locked.

Sprinters like to moan—about opposition, conditions, track, time, day of the week, spikes, team kit color or each other. These are all acceptable moans. But moaning about training is unacceptable. The gate isn't locked, you bring yourself to training and you don't have to stay; you do so because you're a sprinter.

Check out these Olympic sprinters for more motivation: Tyson Gay, Kirani James and Allyson Felix.

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