Friday, October 12, 2012

Men Find Running Easier When Women Watch, Study Finds

In a study published in the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills, men reported a lower perceived effort when they were being watched by women. Now I know why my fastest mile at the Boston Marathon is through the Wellesley Scream Tunnel!

(Cruising the Scream Tunnel!)
As Runner's World summarized, British researchers had 10 male runners do moderately paced 20-minute runs under three conditions: with no one watching; with a woman appearing after 10 minutes to watch; and with a man appearing after 10 minutes to watch. Then the runners were asked to rate their perceived effort during the three runs, which were all at the same pace. When they knew they were being watched by a woman, the men rated their perceived effort at that pace as lower than when they weren't being watched; that is, running felt easier. When they knew they were being watched another man, the runners' perceived effort went up.

The study might have different results in, say, a 5k through the Castro in San Francisco. But I'm thinking a 5k through UCLA sorority row may be my best bet for a PR. ;-)

BTW, for those who didn't see, the Boston Marathon filled on 10/11. RW said, "With qualifying times for the 2013 race five minutes faster than for this year's marathon, registration lasted two and a half weeks longer than for the 2012 race. About 19,000 of the approximately 21,600 qualifier spots were filled in the first two weeks of registration; last year, registration for qualifiers was over after two weeks. With the last weekend of September and the first weekend of October full of popular marathons, it was expected that registration would close before this coming weekend."


  1. Yep. This also explains my sub-6 first mile at Bay to Breakers this year, most of which was run between the two female centipedes, strung out on either side.

    I always run faster than planned in the scream tunnel as well. Feels like I'm slowing down, slapping all the hands. Nope.

  2. Back in 1982 I was running Boston with a friend (it was a hot day) and after cruising effortlessly through the scream tunnel, we decided to go around behind the fans to have another go at it. Back in those days, it truly was a tunnel, mere feet wide.


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