What the Heck Has Luck Got to Do With it? – Running is hardly a sport for the lucky

“Good luck.” In the flurry of races this weekend, even I was guilty of rattling this phrase off to lots of my friends who were about to toe the line. Written, said, Tweeted, Facebooked…you name it, when someone we know is about to race these are our go-to words. The ‘bon voyage to vacationers.

track in sunglasses

Trackside view.

But shouldn’t we really be saying something more along the lines of, “Think of how many countless miles of hard work you’ve put in to get here.” Or, “You’ve busted your @$$ for this race, get out there and get after it. And when it really starts to hurt remember how hard you’ve fought to get here and refuse to give in to that voice telling you to ease back.”

We could say, “You’ve got this.” Or, “This chick/dude next to you, there is NO WAY they can tolerate as much pain as you…make them hurt and then when they crack blow that sucker away.”

Because in running, to actually get to the starting line it’s taken anything but bounties of luck. Sure, you could always argue this is the margin of luck, avoiding the rock in the trail that, would you have stepped on it wrong, you would have fallen down, twisted your ankle so bad that you would have been laid up and injured for months. There’s a wee bit of luck, sure, but that pales in comparison to the sweaty miles and days when you really didn’t feel like doing that workout but you did it anyways.
man racing
I say we should do away with the “Good Luck” as the steadfast, we should try to get a new phrase to catch on…I mean some people did get “that’s the bomb” circulating there for awhile. Something more fitting would be, “Race with confidence.” Because isn’t that what you really would rather hear at the staring line? I know I would…being told that I should be confident in all the training and hard work I’ve done would do much more in the way of quelling those nerves too. Run relaxed, run with confidence, because you know you belong at that starting line.

Good luck rattles off a little too easily. Sure the sentiments are there and always appreciated…but when it comes right down to it, running isn’t a sport for the lucky. You can be d@## sure that it doesn’t take luck to run a PR, a marathon, a four minute mile, an ultra, the best 5k of your life.
I’m going to take a second to apologize profusely to anyone who has been trying to get on my site over the past few days and are only met with an error message or have been blocked. I’ve been sucked into tech/website h-e-double hockey sticks and been trying to get it taken care of! Please do come back despite my server crashing…would it be more tempting if I baited you with cookies, Pop-Tarts, and ice-cream??

1) What would you rather hear at the starting line if it wasn’t “good luck?”

2) What helps you the most with nerves before a race? Do you get nervous?
I always got nervous before races even if they were small ones, but it was excited nervous. My mom always told me, “If you weren’t nervous, then I’d be worried…it means you didn’t care.”

3) What do you tend to tell people, friends, or anyone about to race?

4) Did you race this weekend? How did you get your sweat on?
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14 thoughts on “What the Heck Has Luck Got to Do With it? – Running is hardly a sport for the lucky

  1. You hit on a thought I’ve always wondered about, but never spoken on.
    “Good luck”? That just doesn’t make sense. I know it is a way to wish someone well, but you are right on that it doesn’t fit the situation, and that in fact, all the luck of getting to the race and hopefully good weather has been decided. Really, at that point you’re out of luck and have to use something else.

    I have tried to say “enjoy your run” or “rock it tomorrow” or something like that. “kick ass” sounds good too. “break a leg” doesnt’ really fit I guess either, huh.

    Thanks for writing on a thought I’ve had many times.

    • “really, at that point you’re out of luck” <--- luv this part! haha...i kno weather can be something of a bit of a luck-swayer but it's almost like, "if all u have to send me off is good luck, then wat the heck, i must be in trouble if luck is all i have to rely on for this race!" 😉 "kick ass" i think we need to make that one spread, deal? 🙂

  2. Hmmm…. Love this – although I think there is SOME luck involved, like the weather or the person who falls in front of you/steps on your foot/spits on you!

    I think I’d like hearing – “you got this” or my mantra, “it’s in the bank” – that term gets me though tapering too, to help me to stay PUT instead of running more and exhausting my body!

    • oh man, yea, getting pulled down by another falling runner is something that nightmares are made of, i just had flashes to poor Mary Decker at the Olympics! that one is where luck, or rather bad luck, certainly would come into play.

      i like the “you got this”! 🙂

  3. I actually think “good luck” is appropriate. All of the training is a necessary item for running a good race, but it still is possible to bomb in a race despite being in shape. Stupid pacing, an injury reappearing, and lousy headwinds are three (of many) items that could overwhelm months of hard training. A little luck never hurt anyone. I see “good luck” as shorthand for “I hope your race goes well”

    • i’m not one to ever shun luck, and i kno that it really does mean well-wishes from friends/fans. and those are all instances where some luck does come into play, but for the stupid pacing mistakes, u can get better at that with experience and being a smart racer. 😛

  4. I always wondered about the good luck thing too…although i usually assume i need some luck 😉 haha. but i like to say “run hard and run strong”…i should probably go ahead and throw in “confident” there as well. it seems easier to say that to other people but i havent yet mastered the art of attributing confidence to myself yet…working on it though 😉

    thanks for your sweet comments lately. running with my bro was incredible…the best race and running experience in a LONG time 🙂 i think he has already signed up for like a bazillion more races. haha! hope you are having a good day friend 🙂

    • u do NOT need luck, girl u epitomize the hard work…hello, perseverance is in the name. 😉 i kno we all struggle with confidence at time, unless we are Kanye, but u have made big strides forward in that dept. 🙂

      aww, i’m glad u like my comments, and honestly i AM so proud of u and lil’ bro…i’m seriously loving that he’s already now totally a race sign-up addict…spread the obsessive compulsive runner status, holla! 🙂

  5. You make a great point. I rattle off “Good Luck”
    all the time. The sentiment is there but something
    more thoughtful could be rattled off just as easily. I like when people tell me to leave it all out there, get after it, etc.

    • u hit the perfect point, i think it’s really easy to just numbly say “good luck” without giving it much thought…pick a sentiment that has a little more meaning and basis behind it. 🙂 thanks for stopping by!

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