The 7 worst things people do during runs in pre-season training
That time of year.
Pre-season training... sighs.
It's bad enough as it is without team mates annoying you. You're supposed to be in that sort of shit together but, one run in, and the whole bloody thing descends into chaos - into a dog-eat-dog, every player for themselves kind of world where the only thing that matters is survival.
No-one cares about the good of the collective once their breath is short. They're in it for themselves, getting by with whatever means necessary.
But there's more to it than just selfishness. Anything can annoy a player when they're struggling for oxygen.
1. Cut corners
Just stop it.
Stop making up the trail for yourself, there are poles there so go around them. Once one person goes, everyone else follows except for the saps who keep the integrity of the run but soon find themselves in the minority.
You're doing the runs to make yourself a better player - you don't need to bluff so your performance in them looks higher. This is just to help in games, but people freely take shortcuts.
Don't pull up short on the cone either.
2. Go before the whistle
This is the coach's fault, really. If someone is counting down 5, 4, 3, 2... before a whistle for the next run - which is always a race - the majority of people are going to take off before the whistle. When they know exactly when the whistle is coming, is not hard to abuse the system.
The first 10 yards are in your head.
3. Save it for the last run
An old, unverified anecdote does the rounds about Jonah Lomu's first training session with the All Blacks.
The story goes that the New Zealand legend was somewhere around the middle for all the runs they were doing in a pre-season camp before he exploded ahead and beat everyone out of sight with the very last sprint.
Apparently he was pulled up in front of the group and threatened to be kicked off the squad, with coaches and players furious by what he had done. If he was able to get such a kick for the last run, he had obviously been holding back.
If you're busting yourself, it's only natural that your performance in the runs will gradually decline but it's amazing how the pace and intensity and competitiveness spikes from nowhere when everyone knows it's the last run.
4. Waste water
Everyone likes to squirt the water before they take a drink for no real reason and that's fine, for whatever reason. But not in this session. Not when none of the injured players will bother their arses going in to refill the bottles.
Every drink is precious and we can't have guys opening the lid and trying to aim water into their mouths from six inches away and most of it dripping over their chins and chest. And there's nothing more heartbreaking than watching someone chuck a bottle, seeing it crash off the ground, the lid dislocating and good, essential liquid pouring everywhere.
5. Run diagonally
You're getting in the way and you're making the thing longer for yourself.
6. Tell you to stand up
The body will actually naturally fall into whatever position it has to in order to maximise oxygen intake but the reserve captain knows best when he tells everyone to get off their knees, stand up straight and walk. Just because.
7. Skip runs
A little stretch, a little walk to the back of the queue for a second time, pretending to be absolutely f**ked.
Saving it for the last run.
The GAA Hour
Latest episode: New handpassing rule on the football show and sucking eggs on the hurling show.
Ireland's number one football and hurling podcast, exclusively from SportsJOE.