Saturday, May 26, 2012

Time Dropping - It Should Be A Thing

I was getting a little tired thinking about being injured, so this is me taking a break from blogging about my injury. Although, the fact I'm blogging again this week leads me to believe that I have way too much time on my hands. Guess this is what happens when I can't run.

Runners have a vocabulary that's all their own. There are many posts floating around in e-space on the various jargon used by runners, so I won't bother creating another. But if you're interested to brush up on your running terms, or always wanted to know the meaning of "fartlek", check out some of these online references:

Runner's World, Glossary of Running Terms
Real Buzz Glossary of Running Terms
Run Britain, Running Terminology Defined
Runstreet Glossary

As far as running vocab goes, time dropping is not really a runners' term. But I think it should be. Allow me to expand on this thought.

When I say time dropping, I'm not referring to getting faster. In my mind, it's like name dropping, but instead of bragging about pseudo-celebs or other sort-of important people one might claim to know, it's being a jerk by oversharing your race times. It happens when one runner is comparing him/herself to another runner and the information being provided is largely proffered and often unsolicited.

In short, time dropping is bragging about one's race times, in turn, diminishing the accomplishments of another runner, whether intentional or not.  

Here are some time dropping examples. These all actually happened ...

  • A novice runner blogs about how his running has improved, not by doing speedwork, but by simply increasing his weekly mileage. A reader comments: "I once ran a 51.29 10 miler off of mileage alone." [really? that's great but he didn't ask how fast you ran]
  • A racing event posts on a social media site, asking questions to encourage followers to comment on its page. The question of the day is: "What is your daily running distance?" A reader answers the question, adds a little story, and finishes with: "I squeak out a 3:20-3:30 race and promise myself more consistency and higher mileage next time." [how is this at all relevant to what was originally asked?]
  • A runner walks into a gym and recognizes someone who recently ran the same race he did. They strike up a conversation and he shares: "I've never run a half marathon before. I wasn't sure how I was going to do but then I finished in 1:36." [leaving the other person insanely jealous because his own time was not nearly as fast - and it wasn't his first half]

  • Prior to race day, a race posts information on its website about the pace bunnies and a runner comments: "I beat the 1:45 bunny back in '05." [and we care because ... ?]

Maybe I'm being a little harsh, but I've said it before and I'll say it again: running is an individual sport. When I'm out there, the only person I feel I'm competing with is me. And I'll be honest: I don't give a shit about what time someone else ran, unless I was trying to beat that time myself, or if that person happens to be a friend or running colleague.

I'm not saying I'm perfect. I know I've probably been a time dropper at some point in the last few years. I am aware that runners are a proud species and sometimes want to share their accomplishments with the whole wide world (Exhibit A: a blog about running, perhaps?). But when someone talks about their race times out of context or offers them when unasked, quite frankly, I find it annoying. 

I know there's no getting around it; time dropping will always happen by someone, somewhere. But I can do only what I can. 

Henceforth, a running resolution: from this day forward, I will make a conscious effort to stop time dropping. 'Cuz let's be honest ... it really is a little douche-y. 


  1. Is "throat-punch" part of the running vernacular? Because it sounds like it should be. Some people only feel good about themselves by putting others down. I hate those people. Throat punches for all!

  2. Ha ha. Not *all* runners are bad. It's just like anything - some people are awesome, some are jerks. I don't know a lot of jerky runners, so I consider myself pretty lucky.