mediocrity (Read 450 times)


Muddling through

     I'm sure I'm not alone in being able to say that if someone had been able to tell me when I started running what I PRs would end up being, I would have told them they were nuts.  Most of us have absolutely no idea how talented we are, because you don't know until you're pushing the boundaries and have been doing so for several years.

     

    But, it's an easy crutch to say one is not talented and therefore it is not worth trying so hard. 

    You're definitely not alone in that. I was so bad as a runner in HS that a teammate told me I should give it up because I'd never be any good. While I was never any better than a good local runner, a couple boxes full of trophies, plaques, medals, and ribbons accumulated over the decades shows that hard work and smart training can accomplish a lot.

    2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race

    zonykel


      As with any hobby, you need to balance how good you can be with how much time you dedicate to it. There are other priorities in life.

        I stumbled into a running conversation today with a guy who used to run sub 50 seconds for the 400M and told him that I'm just trying to run 50 miles a week right now. He said that sounded superhuman but compared to a sub 50 400 it seems super extraordinarily mediocre, which it is.

         

        I did appreciate hearing him describe how bad the burn was down the final 100. For a pure sprinter the 400 has to be damn hard. Hell, it's hard for us not sprinters but is it as hard?

        jamezilla


        Follower of Forrest

          here comes my $0.02

           

          I don't think that elite runners are "freaks of nature" who have some special genetic code that allows them to run distances.  I'm not saying that there aren't limits imposed by genetics, but I think what really separates the elites is their love/dedication to running, attitude, and determination.

          As for potential distance runners hiding in other pro sports...sure, why not.  I think there are 400lb people who could have been elite distance runners if their life took a different path.

          Achieving potential is not something that most of us will ever achieve.  If average Joe age 35 retired and started following a distance runners training regiment for 10 years, then that might be an example of a non-elite who achieved potential equal to an elite.  Short of that, you didn't get there (fine by me).

          Do runners get extraordinary recognition for mediocre performances?  Only if you want it...you could run on your own and never receive a medal.  If you participate in a race and pay the money, why not expect to get some extraordinary recognition...that's just good customer service.

          6/21 - Manitou's Revenge 54mi

           

          A man may never run the same trail twice for it is not the same trail and he is not the same man


           

            I disagree.  Truly elite runners, just like truly elite athletes in all sports have the genetic make up that enables them to sniff at that level of compeition. I follow college sports and one thing you hear often is the analysysts talking/questioning if a certain player has the athleticism (i.e. talent) to take his game to the next level.  Some players are great in college, but they know "this is IT for them." They know they don't have the tools to play at the elite level. There's a reason some people say the NFL stands for National Freak League. Those guys, for the most part, are freaks of nature.

             

            Back to running, one runner specifically comes to mind: Lukas Verzbicas.  I recall reading a story about his when he was about 8-10 years old. He entered a 5K having never ran a race or really trained for running (perhaps other than playing soccer).  His first miles was in the 5:30s. Tell me that's not freakish... or some special genetic code?  btw, one or both of his parents were Olympians...

             

            Sure, we can all improve by solid and consistent training. But, everyone has a ceiling imposed upon us by our genetics.  In Jack Daniels' book on running in one of the early chapters he comments how there are 3 things that determine how good of a runner/athlete you can be: determination, training, and talent.

             

            If you think about it, those 3 things determine our success in all areas of life.  If Lukus has been satisified with a 5:30 pace for a 5K he would have been a greatk 5K runner, until he got to HS. Then he would have been very average. His training and determination (and innate talent) enabled him to nearly break Craig Virgin's long-standing state XC record his senior year of HS. It also propelled him to be the last HS runner to run a sub 4 mile. If it hadn't been for a very bad cycling accident you likely would hav seen him in the last summer olympics.

             

            here comes my $0.02

             

            I don't think that elite runners are "freaks of nature" who have some special genetic code that allows them to run distances.  I'm not saying that there aren't limits imposed by genetics, but I think what really separates the elites is their love/dedication to running, attitude, and determination.

            As for potential distance runners hiding in other pro sports...sure, why not.  I think there are 400lb people who could have been elite distance runners if their life took a different path.

            Achieving potential is not something that most of us will ever achieve.  If average Joe age 35 retired and started following a distance runners training regiment for 10 years, then that might be an example of a non-elite who achieved potential equal to an elite.  Short of that, you didn't get there (fine by me).

            Do runners get extraordinary recognition for mediocre performances?  Only if you want it...you could run on your own and never receive a medal.  If you participate in a race and pay the money, why not expect to get some extraordinary recognition.

              I disagree.  Truly elite runners, just like truly elite athletes in all sports have the genetic make up that enables them to sniff at that level of competition.

               

              +1.

               

              The filtration process to reach the most elite levels of running is severe. It selects for BOTH the genetically gifted AND the hardest working. You absolutely need both.

              Runners run.


              Doc, my tooth hurts

                I disagree.  Truly elite runners, just like truly elite athletes in all sports have the genetic make up that enables them to sniff at that level of compeition. I follow college sports and one thing you hear often is the analysysts talking/questioning if a certain player has the athleticism (i.e. talent) to take his game to the next level.  Some players are great in college, but they know "this is IT for them." They know they don't have the tools to play at the elite level. There's a reason some people say the NFL stands for National Freak League. Those guys, for the most part, are freaks of nature.

                 

                 

                 

                 

                Couldn't agree more. You hear all of the time about guys who are lifetime Minor League baseball players, guys who just might get a September call up and be in a few games. Then you compare to a guy like Mike Trout who is 20 years old and comes up and absolutely rakes all season. I'm pretty sure that lack of effort and dedication isn't the issue for either guy. Same thing in baseball where guys will be amazing in Triple A, and can't hit major league pitching worth a damn.

                 

                I don't see why some people want to resist this notion, go talk to a pro scout in any major sport and I guarantee you none of them will disagree with the notion of certain people being more gifted than others.  Sure, there are definitely examples of them being wrong, but there are so many more examples of them being right in projecting players.

                  J-zill's point is probably more applicable to most of the rest of us, let's say those that are between 3 and 4 hour marathoners (though you could pick any number or range).  With us working hobbyjoggers, it's much simpler to say that we can overcome poor genetics by working to get to the faster end of that range and beat those that work less hard but have superior genetics  But I don't think that's news to anyone here.

                   

                  But yeah, with elites genetics (talent) absolutely can't be dismissed.

                   

                  jamezilla


                  Follower of Forrest

                    Allow me to back-track because I don't disagree with the posts that disagree with me Smile.  I don't believe that the genetics to become a professional athlete of any kind are extremely rare (say 1 in a billion...there are 7 billion on earth). My point is that a larger percentage of people have the genetics to become a professional athlete than you might imagine.  Certainly, there were people that were never exposed to the correct sport but had the DNA, people who were exposed but never pursued a professional career but had the DNA, people who were injured somewhere along the way but had the DNA, people who got hit by cars but had the DNA, people who didn't dedicate themselves at the same level but had the DNA, etc.  I'm sure there are people who are more genetically gifted than the most elite athletes who never achieved anything near the elites.

                    I guess my hang-up is that people think its super-rare genetics that make the athlete, but I have a hard time buying that.  Sure, all the stars need to align (talent=genetics/determination/training) to create the super-rare athlete, but I think theres a bigger genetic pool than most would imagine.

                    6/21 - Manitou's Revenge 54mi

                     

                    A man may never run the same trail twice for it is not the same trail and he is not the same man


                     

                      Not to be reductionist, but DNA is involved in the brain just as much as in the body -- or, said another way, temperament is a type of talent, too.

                      jamezilla


                      Follower of Forrest

                        I agree...but I bet theres lots of people with temperament talents too Smile.  Nature and Nurture both contribute to the body you end up with and the mind that goes with it.

                        6/21 - Manitou's Revenge 54mi

                         

                        A man may never run the same trail twice for it is not the same trail and he is not the same man


                         

                          I agree...but I bet theres lots of people with temperament talents too Smile.

                           

                          Yes, but in the case of elite runners, what you have is a match between temperament and physical talent. To take two extreme examples. If Cam Levins had Bernard Lagat's temperamental qualities, he would not be an elite runner. The contrary case -- Levins' temperament in Lagat's body also would not work.

                           

                          It's sorta a peeve of mine. We imagine the ideal temperamental quality, almost exclusively, as stubborn and dogged determination or a capacity for work. And then we imagine the best physical qualities as being skinny, having a big heart, etc. But if you are around athletes a lot, you realize that the cocktail of performance is a quite delicate blend of temperamental and physical qualities.

                           

                          Really, all things considered, distance running is a sport where an athlete can be successful with relatively little training, compared to other sports. That's partly why I like it -- it's a lazy man's sport!

                              

                            Really, all things considered, distance running is a sport where an athlete can be successful with relatively little training, compared to other sports. That's partly why I like it -- it's a lazy man's sport!

                             

                            It's funny you view it as a lazy man's sport. When my non-running friends look at runners, they just can't imagine doing that much "training". I see your point if I look at it from the perspective of the amount of time spent actually running.


                            Doc, my tooth hurts

                               

                               

                              Really, all things considered, distance running is a sport where an athlete can be successful with relatively little training, compared to other sports. That's partly why I like it -- it's a lazy man's sport!

                               

                              Wait, so I'm the only one watching hours and hours of film breaking down my competitors?

                              jamezilla


                              Follower of Forrest

                                 

                                Yes, but in the case of elite runners, what you have is a match between temperament and physical talent. To take two extreme examples. If Cam Levins had Bernard Lagat's temperamental qualities, he would not be an elite runner. The contrary case -- Levins' temperament in Lagat's body also would not work.

                                 

                                It's sorta a peeve of mine. We imagine the ideal temperamental quality, almost exclusively, as stubborn and dogged determination or a capacity for work. And then we imagine the best physical qualities as being skinny, having a big heart, etc. But if you are around athletes a lot, you realize that the cocktail of performance is a quite delicate blend of temperamental and physical qualities.

                                 

                                Really, all things considered, distance running is a sport where an athlete can be successful with relatively little training, compared to other sports. That's partly why I like it -- it's a lazy man's sport!

                                ...both stemming from a variety of genetic and environmental factors.

                                 

                                I think we have a thesis statement

                                and coachs are bartenders

                                6/21 - Manitou's Revenge 54mi

                                 

                                A man may never run the same trail twice for it is not the same trail and he is not the same man